Every day, we come across tons of people on social media. Their profiles always seem so exuberant, like everything and every day in their lives are just perfect. But the truth couldn’t be farther from the facts. A lot of those people struggle with mental health issues daily. Those likes and comments on their photos or content give them that hit of dopamine and make them want it more, and they end up becoming a junkie. Once you take that away, they act out weirdly.
One of the main culprits for that sort of behaviour is a significant lack of self-esteem. It’s been scientifically validated that it’s one of the primary reasons for anxiety, depression, introversion, selective mutism, antisocial and sometimes suicidal behaviour and other mental health issues.
Self-esteem is defined as an individual’s subjective evaluation of their worth. And when we evaluate our worth negatively, we fall into stable but slowly failing relationships with ourselves. And it’s the only relationship in life that could truly make or break you. Self-esteem is directly related to self-confidence,our identity of self, feeling of belonging and feeling of competence. When we don’t work on one, the rest come tumbling after. Low self-esteem is a common ailment that has penetrated to the very core of our being. It restricts us to be ourselves, to be happy or to explore life and discover all of its intricacies. Everyone reading this, I can say with a high level of confidence, is struggling with issues regarding low self-esteem or have In the past and I am no stranger to its ill effects. But, let me assure you when you take a step to improve your self-esteem, may it be a small step. The difference it could make in your lives is unfathomable. So, let’s understand self-esteem in a simplified manner and make small changes to enhance our experiences in life.
One of the critical relations to self-esteem is self-confidence. We live in a society where external appearance has become far more critical than internal aspects of personality & behaviours. And we cannot afford to ignore societal judgement if we plan to live in this society. So we must focus on both external and internal. No matter what anyone says, deep down, we all know we cannot forego societal judgement as it plays a significant role in establishing or destroying our self-confidence.
Therefore by working out, grooming and styling you can build your self-confidence, and let’s be honest it doesn’t hurt to look good in the mirror. While at it, assess your personality and behaviours, nobody knows them better than yourself or even take help from your closest family and friends. Learn and form habits to curb the negative ones and follow through with the positive ones. I’ve seen that making a list helps. Keep a small diary of sorts in which you write down your positives and negatives, list of goals and targets to complete and to follow through. It serves as a reminder, as our mind often blurs out what’s important while doing a mindless activity.
Internal healing is also a crucial part of improving self-esteem. Our sense of identity and feelings of belonging and competence, playing a significant role. To tackle these, first, we need to find a quiet calm place, away from everything and everyone, turn the room temperature to optimum, have a refreshing glass of water, sit comfortably and have a conversation ourselves. And write down the essential points and review them. Once we have the answers to who we are and where we belong, Work on them slowly, by often taking help from a loved one.
1. Imagine our internal self as a huge ball of emotions, our wants and needs. When this ball starts rolling down the hill, it’s almost impossible to stop it. So the more straightforward thing to do would be to untangle this considerable ball and divide it into three smaller balls of needs, wants and emotions then if anyone rolls down the hill. They could be easily stopped. In simple words, separate your emotions, needs and wants from each other.
2. Learn to differentiate between hearing, the act of perceiving sound and receiving sound waves or vibrations through your ear and Listening is the act of hearing a sound and understanding what you hear. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences. So, listen to only positive things, shield yourself from the negative comments, negative people, hate speech, and all the negativity on social media.
3. One of the most common things we do, which affects our self-esteem is. We always tend to underestimate our competency. Why should our competency be limited? It’s wrong to think competency is limited. It’s something that can always be improved. Competency is often confused with aptitude, which is our innate capacity to do specific tasks. We are widely deranged creatures because as generations endured, we genetically have become wired to do specific tasks with much ease than others. So, it’s often better to be playing within that wiring. Cus, it often produces the best results.
4. Keep yourself educated, regularly read to keep yourself updated on everything. It helps you to include yourself in conversations and helps you feel less distanced. Because ultimately, we are social animals. Making healthy relationships should be a priority as loneliness can lower our self-esteem.
5. Meditate daily, eat healthily, explore your talents of sketching, dancing, singing, playing an instrument or do anything you’re interested in. They take away much stress and overall add up to your self-esteem and mental health.
6. Always make decisions based on logic. Often people make decisions based on a fit of emotions and end up regretting them. Base the decision on logic but review it with your emotions. Making bad decisions or regretting them, can lead to much self-blame and thus making you trust yourself less.
7. Practice self-affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. Self-affirmation may also help to mitigate the effects of stress. Tell yourself “you can be happy”, “you are loved “, & “you are beautiful”, especially in front of a mirror.
8. But, all in all, the best one I can honestly say that raises someone’s self-worth is our ability to help someone. See, if you can help someone, make a positive change in someone’s life or your environment. You are the most important person there can be to that person you have helped, and that person would be forever grateful to you.
Know this, Always be kind to yourself. Never expect something from someone when you can’t expect the same from you. What I can say from experience is that expectations always end up in regret and sadness. Better not to expect anything from anyone. Make sure you’re growing every day, and you’ve made an effort.
Be grateful to your closest family and friends. And above all, you have been created differently for a reason, go out there, find that reason and complete your essence. Once complete, your self-esteem is going to be as tough as a diamond.
But, like all things in life, our goal should be to achieve a balance & maintain equilibrium. Some people might have insanely high self-esteem. With respect to that, I must say that the higher you are, the harder you’re going to crash. We must learn from the bird; it flies as high as it needs to, but not any higher than that, and it always knows to come down, to be grounded. Therefore by learning to improve our self-esteem, we slowly but steadily walk away from a lifetime of mental health issues.
Dr. Navya is not only a professional doctor but likes to help people with their general mental stability and happiness.