We all have an opinion about ourselves. For some people that opinion is that they are generally a good person with an average level of beauty and physical prowess. Sadly some people have very low opinions of themselves. This blog post is for them.
What is self esteem?
The verywellmind website defines self-esteem in this way:
“Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means that it tends to be stable and enduring. Self-esteem can involve a variety of beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.”
Of course, most people only agonise about self-esteem if they have low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem can lead you to a more isolated and fearful life. It can mean that you don’t want to try new things, because you know you will fail. You don’t try to make new friends, because you know people won’t like you, so there’s no point. You probably hate social events. If you can’t avoid them, you will often try to keep as low a profile as possible, willing the event to end.
You may feel frustrated and angry with yourself, as you see other people shining and thriving and enjoying life.
Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale
The Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale is one of the most widely-used measures for self esteem research by the academic and medical communities.
The Open-Source Psychometrics Organisation describes it like this:
“The scale consists of ten statements that you could possibly apply to you that you must rate on how much you agree with each. The items should be answered quickly without overthinking, your first inclination is what you should put down.”
The website also says:
“Because the concept of self esteem is one most people should be familiar with, this test will probably not tell you anything you do not already know.”
So, if you already know that your self-esteem is low, what can you do about it?
Here are some suggestions.
There are lots of self-esteem quotes you can find through a quick search of the internet. Here are three I particularly like from the positivity blog:
“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
– Parker Palmer
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.”
– Brené Brown
“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”
– Shannon L. Alder
Trying writing these self-esteem quotes on post-it notes and put them where you can see them. If you don’t like these, you can always do a web search and find others that resonate with you more.
Do you have low self-esteem because of your parents?
If you have parents who criticised you or belittled you when you were a child, it can be difficult as an adult to have confidence.
Check out my blog post about blaming your parents for how you are now.
Build self-esteem with flower remedies for low self-esteem
The original flower remedies were developed by Dr Edward Bach. They are designed to address people’s mental and emotional states. There are 38 different flower remedies. Here are some that have been picked out by the Bach Centre that may well help you:
- Rock Water: Helps you when you expect too much of yourself and always striving for perfection.
- Larch: Helps you to regain self-esteem and confidence in yourself.
- Mimulus: Helps you when you feel fear, the type of fear that you can identify such as fear of spiders, being alone, losing a job, illness etc. You are overly sensitive, get embarrassed and nervous.
- Aspen: Helps you when you feel fearful without knowing why. You feel that something bad is going to happen, but nothing happens and you cannot tell what you are afraid about.
- White Chestnut: Helps you when your mind is cluttered with thoughts, usually arguments, ideas, thoughts which you do not wish to keep repeating in your mind. These thoughts might prevent you from sleeping. Freedom Flowers offers The remedies are safe to take, even by small children. These Bach flower remedies are widely available both online and in health shops and some pharmacies. You can see instructions how to take them here.
Freedom Flowers also produce flower remedies. Here are some of their recommendations for people with low self-esteem:
- Buttercup: helps those who are frequently overlooked to shine forth with full consciousness of their unique gifts and abilities. Buttercup inspires you not to judge yourself based on conventional ideas of achievement, or by comparing yourself to others, but to realize your worth based on who you are, not your outward recognition. This is also a helpful essence for those who are having to step into a phase where by some standards would be considered a “less important” path. Buttercup shows us how we are successful at whatever stage we are at.
- Elecampagne: helps those who feel out of touch with the general population. It helps you to be comfortable being yourself in social situations and raises self-worth. It brings a stronger sense of individual identity and helps you see the beauty in your own self. If you over-identify with what you see as your flaws, elecampagne can help you transition to a new sense of self.
- Goldenrod: instills self-trust and confidence especially in those who don’t have a strong sense of their individual identity. A key to identifying this type of personality is the individual modifying to fit whoever their present company is. This is a great essence for the teen years when identity is shaky and peer pressure is strong.
- Harebell: helps those who are having a hard time interacting in group situations. Harebell’s lesson is that we are good enough, just as we are, worthy of our Creator’s unconditional love and to stop seeking love in wrong places, and compromising who we really are in order to get it.
- Horseradish: heals feelings of inadequacy, and insecurity. It puts you back in the driver’s seat of life. You can move forward and you can change your direction. You’ll have to take some responsibility for your situation, but Horseradish will build you up, fire you up and move you out of your current rut in life by dislodging fear, low self-esteem and blame-shifting.
Is the spotlight effect decreasing your self-esteem?
The spotlight effect is a term from psychology. It refers to the feeling some people have that people are watching them. They usually think not only that people are watching them, but they are being judged negatively by these people.
Nathan A Heflick Ph.D. explains it like this:
“Basically, it is the result of egocentrism. We all are the center of our own universes. This is not to say we are arrogant or value ourselves more than others. Rather, our entire existence is from our own experiences and perspective.”
Because we are so aware of us and our faults, we believe that other people have the same level of awareness of us. Yet if you think about it, you can understand that other people are involved in their own universes. You are not the centre of their universe.
Think about a friend you saw last week? Can you remember what they were wearing? Can you remember what they said?
You listened to a speaker recently. What exactly did they say. How exactly did their hair look?
You will probably have only a vague memory of all or most of this. It is the same for other people. You need to remind yourself of this, whenever you feel you are in the spotlight and that people are judging you harshly. Even if they are at the time, they will have almost certainly have forgotten about it a few months later. Other people are not obsessing about you.
Increasing your self-esteem can start to happen quickly, particularly if you take some of the flower remedies I recommend here. But, and this is a big but, you need to keep working at it.