Self-Esteem can be defined as “how we feel about ourselves.” It can be similar to a fortune cookie which predicts the future.
Poor self-esteem can lead to depression, broken relationships, stress, and addiction. Being overly impressed with ourselves can result in feelings of superiority and entitlement. “Healthy” self-esteem is an appreciation of our talents and abilities, acknowledgment of our limitations, and knowledge that we deserve respect and happiness.
Self-Esteem begins developing in early childhood and continues to form and change throughout our lives. It is influenced by our relationships with family, teachers, friends, and peers, by our experiences (both physical and emotional) at home, school, and in our community, by illness or disability, by financial status, and by age.
If our relationships and experiences have been positive, we are likely to feel good about ourselves. We set goals with the expectation that we will succeed, and move beyond disappointment to take on new challenges. If, on the other hand, we have lived with no affection, or have been emotionally, physically, or sexually abused, we may have very low self-esteem believing that we cannot achieve, or do not deserve, success and happiness. We may need professional help to develop a healthy self-esteem.
It is important to understand that Self-Esteem isn’t inherited; it is built. Self-esteem can be improved. We can learn to value ourselves better, to strive for success, to communicate our opinions and ideas, to develop fulfilling relationships, and to be a respected part of the community in which we live.