As children growing up, we are not always aware of ourselves. We just think girls are "stupid" and boys are "icky". But as we move into the preteen years, we become more aware of our body, personality and image. It is important during these years to establish a sense of self worth. Hopefully mothers and fathers have poured enough love and sense of well being into a child, that when another child challenges the view of that child, it will not negatively affect that child. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Life experiences will impact how we see ourselves . Low self-worth and feeling good about oneself is not easy for some people.
Improving self esteem has often been the way to help children, men and women feel good about themselves. Self esteem is used in psychology to define a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her self worth. The term has taken on many meanings throughout the years. In 1969, Nathaniel Branden said self esteem is the sum of self-confidence. In the 1960s, social theorists defined self esteem as personal worth or worthiness. It is essentially how someone views themselves, and the value they place upon themselves. If you have been told negative and disparaging things about yourself without positive and loving words to counteract the negative, a person can internalize those negative words, incorporating them into their mind, personality and self image.
Self-esteem is the popular word used today when someone has a negative self-image, but if we look at self-esteem itself, the work promotes selfishness. It causes you to focus on yourself too much. Treatment for self-esteem has focused on telling yourself how good you are, how great you are, how wonderful you are, how important you are, and this is just selfish. If you say these words enough to yourself, you’ll become self-centered and prideful. It will affect your relationships and possibly draw people away from you. People with inflated self-images need constant affirmation of their importance and high view of themselves. But this constant social validation may wear on those in your life. It is great to love yourself and feel good about yourself, but not to the point that you damage existing relationships and walk around with such an inflated ego, that no one can stand to be around you. One definition of self-esteem from the Webster’s Dictionary is "undue pride in oneself; conceit" Self-esteem means to esteem yourself highly. For some people this will mean to esteem yourself above others, and this is not the best way to build a person’s self worth.
In addition, self-esteem causes false and inaccurate self-concepts so much so, that objective critisims are no longer valid or important to the person. They will overlook their failures or inadequacies and ways to overcome their weaknesses. In their view, they have no weaknesses that need improvement. Self-esteem is now being associated with narcissism.
Self-esteem should no longer be used to help those with negative views of themselves. A better term would be to use self-woth. People who have low self worth do not recognize their uniqueness as individuals. They feel less then important as their peers. The best way to help someone who has a negative self image is to increase their self worth. Build upon the value you have as a person, and the unique and special qualities you have that no one else possesses. It is also important to admit to your painful feelings and weaknesses and to improve and change them.
Studies conducted by Kristin Neff have compared self-esteem to the new concept of self-compassion. Self-compassion does not give a false self-concept, but helps the individual to be mindful of their painful feelings, difficulties and challenges by seeing them as part of the human experience. This way you show yourself kindness instead of judgmental, which will increase personal growth. This view will help you to accept who you are as an individual where you can be happier, less angry and critical, and have more resilient feelings of self-worth over a period of time.
No one has to have a negative self image and it is possible to have a good healthy and positive image of yourself and counteract the negativity you have experienced.
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Below are tips and advice to help improve the self-image of anyone who has low self-worth.
1. Recognize that you are an individual and unique in everyway. No one is like you. No one has the same personality, habits, likes and dislikes that you have. It is ok, that you aren't good at everything in your life. You can make a choice to dwell on the negative or improve the negative feelings you have. Improve your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. As you live in this world, you'll learn that others share the same issues that you have. You are not alone and there is hope for you to succeed in your life. You are you and no one will ever compare to who you are.
2. Focus on others. Instead of feeling sorry about yourself, start volunteering somewhere. Missions and homeless shelters always need help. Volunteer at animal shelters. The point is to focus on the needs of those who need help more than you. In order to do this, you must come out of your feelings and put the needs of others before yourself. And once you begin to help others, your own self-worth and how you feel about yourself will increase.
3. Accept help from others. If someone who loves you wants to help you, let them. You should not view your life as an island. Open up your life to those who are knocking. It may be scary, but your'll feel stronger as a person, because you won't feel alone. So, don't isolate yourself and get out and be loved.
4. Join a group with the same interests as you. If you like to sew, knit, exercise, eat, or cook, find a group that you can join and be a part of. Even if you have to take classes, enroll and begin to talk then you'll be able to find connections with others. The point is to build friendships and relationships if you don't already have them and you can do this through a club or enrolling in classes.
5. Find a support group where you can share and give at the same time. are others you share your feelings and this is ok. Find a group and share your experiences with them. This will help you to grow and find ways to overcome the feelings you have.
I hope this advice will get anyone who has low self-worth help with their feelings. Remember, you are not alone, love is available to you and it's all around. Sometimes we have to take the first step and once that risk is taken you will open up yourself to better days and a better you.