On Wivesroundtable show, Ganeeyahh Olokodana, who is a clinical psychologist and a counsellor, shared some insights with us on the causes and management of self-esteem.
First what is self-esteem? According to Ganeeyahh, Self-esteem is the value you place on yourself as an individual, the way you see yourself and your level of self-awareness. No matter what people think about you and their perception of you, it how you see yourself and the value you place on yourself and your level of self-worth that determine your self-esteem.
For instance, someone can be seen as a success and still has a very low self-awareness. It may be as a result of Childhood upbringing. This involves the kind of environment some persons grew up in and the experiences that could have damaged their understanding of self badly. That no matter how successful they are, they still see themselves as a failure. They focus more on the areas they are not doing well and pay little attention to things are going well for them. This could be because they were always reminded of their flaws and weaknesses when they were little and it has become a part of them.
Dangers of low self esteem
It rubs you of the joy and happiness you should be experiencing in your life. People with low self-esteem think so low of themselves. Even the things that they deserve to get by right, they do not allow themselves to get them because they do not feel deserving enough.
Shortchanging of oneself. People with low self-esteem have Self-sabotaging behavior. They think they are not deserving of something good. They keep doing things to sabotage themselves and their progress in general.
Looking out for people who are worse than you. People who battle with low self-esteem tend to get into relationship with people who they constantly have to help. So helping these people make them feel better about themselves. A woman with a low self-esteem may always find herself dating men who have no job or men who can barely take care of themselves and she would be the one always supporting these men.
How to boost your self-esteem.
Acknowledge that you have a low self-esteem. You need to first accept the truth about yourself. Accept it and decide to work on having a better self-esteem going forward.
Try to control how you see yourself. This can be done by writing down things that are good about you. It would help to fix your focus on the positive attributes you have.
Do not let others set the standard by which you evaluate yourself. Set standard for your life by yourself. If you know something is good for you, go for it, instead of letting others be the key decision maker in your life.
Set realistic goals. People with low self-esteem should not set goals that are not realistic for just the sake of setting goals. Because when you do not achieve these unrealistic goals that are beyond your capacity, this may makes you feel really low. Some people end up saying things like, ‘I am not good at anything’, ‘I can’t do anything right’, ‘I fail at everything I do’. But when you set goals that are realistic and you work towards achieving these goals, you feel better about yourself as you progress.
Modify negative self-talks. A lot of people with low self-esteem tend to have negative conversations with themselves. They say things like ‘I am not attractive’, ‘I am so useless’ ‘I cannot succeed’ and so on. It is important that you learn to speak more positively about yourself. Positive affirmations also help, so remind yourself that you are amazing, intelligent, brilliant, beautiful and that you have what it takes to succeed at anything you set your mind to do.
Emphasize your strength- focus on the innate talents that you have. Your natural gifts and strengths should be emphasized. You can be a short person that knows how to cook, say that, ‘I may be short but I am a good cook. Don’t focus on what you do not have, focus on what you have and celebrate it. A lot of people with low self-esteem do not usually work on their talent, so they leave it in its raw form. It is advised that you work on your innate talent, so that overtime, that aspect of you would become visible.
Approach others with a positive outlook. People with low self-esteem tend to respond with negativity even when people genuinely care for them because they usually do not expect anything good. They have negative perception towards life. So, when people show support you, embrace it. When they complement you, appreciate it.