Self-Esteem: Patterns of Emotion
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Low self esteem can have a large impact on day to day functioning. Research on low self-esteem has been correlated with pessimistic outlook, depression, anxiety, and physical complaints, and self-esteem can fluctuate with changing situations or interactions with others. However, research indicates that those with a predominately sense of high self esteem tend to focus on success, growth and self-improvement. People who tend to have low self esteem focus on the negatives in their life and attempt to avoid any future mistakes. They tend to try to stay at a “status quo” versus looking for opportunities to grow.
Rosenberg, & Owen researched self esteem in 2001, and their research indicated that people who have low self-esteem focus on failure and view events as being negative, or exaggerate negative events. They also exhibited tendencies to experience low levels of social confidence and experienced social anxiety.
Patterns of Low Self Esteem
If you have low self esteem, it may be challenging to consider making changes, because low self-esteem is self-reinforcing. Those with low self esteem are often aware of the issues, but struggle with following through on making changes. The following is suggested to improve self esteem:
Take time to identify both your strengths and weaknesses. Make a list. Know what you want to change and how to use your strengths to accomplish this goal. For example, if you identify one of your weaknesses as lack of confidence, however strength is that you have a good sense of humor, you can work on building your self confidence by using your sense of humor.
Strengths Personal abilities Physical Abilities Interests
Kindness photography strong volley ball
Honesty social spin class bicycling
2. Develop A Plan To Make Changes.
Make the plan simple and with expected outcomes and have time frames. This is to help you to keep track of successes, as well as know what might need to be changed in your plan to accommodate for better successful outcomes.
Goal Method (how) Desired Outcome Time Frame
Increase social opportunities Join a spinning class Meet one new friend 9 weeks
Participate in church activities Volunteer Increase church 1 time/mo
3. Stay motivated
Self esteem continues to increase when you can see and accept your successes. Staying motivated helps to continue a positive cycle, and keeping track of your successes as well as where you have not achieved success. Even when you have not been successful, it can help you to make more realistic goals or motivate you to get back on track. Add a column on your chart above. Label it success.
In 4 weeks made a friend
After 2 weeks still have not signed up to volunteer
4. Self Care
Eating right, sleeping right and exercise are keys to self care. When you have low self esteem, you may struggle with getting out of bed and doing something productive or social, and the idea of eating breakfast or getting the energy to exercise might be the last thing on your mind. However, when you take care of your body, it helps to keep your body functioning well, which also helps to keep you cognitively and emotionally stable. When you feel physically balances, your emotions and your mind function better.
Self Care also includes your physical appearance. Take care of your grooming habits. Taking a shower, brushing your hair and teeth might sound simple, but may be neglected with low self esteem. Wear clothes that suit your body type and fit well. Having a positive outward appearance can help with your internal feelings of low self esteem.
Putting a smile on can enlighten your mood and the mood of those around you. The saying “Smiles are contagious” is true. The more you can smile the less depressed you may feel. This does not mean that you should have a fake smile and pretend that everything is great. Instead, it is a way of practicing seeing things more positively instead of responding to everything in a pessimistic manner. Smiling helps to give you a positive outlook on life.
Improving self esteem takes time, planning and practice. Also remember that self esteem fluctuates, but the more you practice these techniques the more likely you will be able to manage obstacles that get in the way of developing and maintaining a high self esteem.
- Kim B.