Psychology defines self-esteem as “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect” and “how we value ourselves; our perceptions and beliefs in who we are and what we’re capable of.” Self-esteem is all about self-perception. While both definitions include the terms “abilities” and “capable,” our self-esteem is ironically not determined by either. People who are incredibly gifted in something may think they’re actually terrible at it, therefore causing low-self esteem. Self-esteem has everything to do with what we’ve trained our brains to believe.
Some people, especially those who’ve had low self-esteem for the entirety of their lives, don’t even realize they’re struggling with it. While there are many indicators that someone may be suffering from low self-esteem, any combination of the following is a telltale sign:
Low self-esteem manifests in negative ways: eating disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD/perfectionism, addictions, etc.
Low self-esteem is a rut that can be incredibly difficult and may even feel impossible to get out of. It takes a lot of intentionality and effort but is well worth the time spent. The first step towards turning your negative self-esteem around is by engaging in self-care.
What is self-care?
Self-care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health.” It’s important to note that self-care should consist of activities that you enjoy, not activities you force yourself to engage in. The intention behind self-care is to refuel and recharge, not to drain yourself even further. Like anything you do with intentionality, self-care requires you to carve out time. Unfortunately, you don’t always put the things that you enjoy on the top of your priority list; these things tend to come after the things you “need” to do. The problem with this, however, is that you won’t have the energy to accomplish everything you need to if you don’t take proper care of yourself first.
How do you establish a self-care routine?
Self-care can be done on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis, depending on what acts of self-care you pursue. Here’s a brief list of some common self-care activities:
Some of the above (like planning a summer vacation or treating yourself to a spa day) will, of course, leave you feeling infinitely more relaxed but cannot be done on a daily basis. It’s important to remember that the little things add up as well. Reading a chapter of a book each night or taking a stroll on your lunch break every other day are things that can build up in the long run. The more time you carve out for yourself, the more energy you’ll be able to spend on other life “requirements” like work, chores, taking care of your kids, pets, etc.
So what’s the connection between self-care and self-esteem?
By carving out time for yourself, you’re making yourself a priority. When a friend carves out time for you, do you feel valued and appreciated? The same will go for when you carve out time for yourself. Self-care also helps you get in touch with your true self. You get to establish your true likes, dislikes, morals, values, etc. The first step in loving yourself is knowing who you are. By making yourself a priority, you begin to realize that you are inherently worthy and don’t need external validation.
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