Personal development

What is self-esteem and personal development?

Self-esteem is the ability of a person to value, love and accept themselves. The development of self-esteem occurs in intermediate childhood, where the individual compares their "real self" with an "ideal self" and with the people around them.

Personal development is the actions and changes that we make in our lives to facilitate new behaviours and attitudes that are better and more positive than those we currently have.

What does low self-esteem look like?

Maintaining a good self-esteem allows us to be happier and to have more confidence in ourselves.

However, when self-esteem is low, the following qualities tend to be exhibited:

  • A lack of self-confidence
  • Not expressing opinions for fear of being rejected or thinking that their opinions do not have the same value as other peoples’
  • Feeling that we are not worthy of positive situations
  • Needing the approval of others
  • Not feeling happy,
  • Easily demotivated
  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling guilty, unattractive or without initiative

Why does low self-esteem happen?

Poor self-esteem can be caused by stagnation in the type of life we lead, suffering from an emotional disorder such as depression or anxiety or some types of phobia as well as sleep disorders that alter the routine of daily life.  

Can low self-esteem be prevented?

In order to maintain good self-esteem, we should attempt to avoid negative thoughts and if we do, to convert them into positive ones. Another action to prevent low self-esteem is to be realistic with our own strengths and weaknesses – we cannot be perfect, but we can be self-critical if we intend to learn from knowing what we do not do well.

When faced with a bad situation, we must confront it and accept it. Setting realistic goals will help our well-being and if we fail, we must be prepared and avoid blaming ourselves for that failure. We should also avoid comparing ourselves to others as this can lead one to feeling they have failed to meet supposed expectations.

What is the treatment?

To increase self-esteem, the exercises outlined above can help. It is important for those with low self-esteem to be able to feel positive and to recognise their own value. Improving self-esteem has repercussions in both our personal lives as well as in our professional lives. This is why the study of self-esteem and creating patterns of behaviour to improve it is fundamental in psychology. Actions such as going to a psychologist, meditation or reading certain manuals or self-help books can facilitate the creation of positive ideas in people with lower self-esteem.

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