“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
A healthy sense of self-esteem contributes to our overall sense of well-being in ways that extend far beyond simply “feeling good” about ourselves. While self-esteem is a generally stable concept, it can go up and down throughout our lives as circumstances such as health, occupation, and relationships change. According to The Self-Esteem Workbook (Schiraldi, 2001), self-esteem is a “realistic, appreciative opinion of oneself. Realistic means accurate and honest. Appreciative implies positive feelings and liking.”
Before we begin the process of understanding self-esteem in more depth and ultimately increasing healthy levels of self-esteem, it is important to assess where our levels of self-esteem are right now. This self-esteem checkup is from The Self-Esteem Workbook and is an excellent starting point to begin to identify where we are currently in the journey towards building self-esteem and a positive self-image.
Try reading through the following statements, rating each one on a scale from 0 – 10, with 0 indicating that totally disbelieve it, and 10 indicating that you believe it is completely true.
(1) I am a worthwhile person.
(2) I am just as valuable as anyone else.
(3) I have the necessary qualities to live well.
(4) When I look into my eyes in the mirror, I have a positive feeling.
(5) I do not feel like a failure.
(6) I can laugh at myself.
(7) I am happy to be me.
(8) I like myself, even if others reject me.
(9) I love and support myself – no matter what happens.
(10) Overall, I am satisfied with how I am developing as a person.
(11) I respect myself.
(12) I’d rather be me than anybody else.
What thoughts or feelings did you notice as you read through this statements? Were there particular statements that you more readily identified as being “completely true” than others? It is helpful to take notice of what aspects of self-esteem come more easily to us. For many people, the self-esteem related statements that are “easy” to identify with come from early messages that we received from our primary caregivers that we internalized as being “true.”
Unfortunately, these early messages about our self-worth can work in the opposite way as well – if we were told that we were “failures” or “unworthy” by important adults in our lives growing up, it will take that much more work as adults to build up those parts of our self-esteem and self-worth.
Take notice of where you feel like you are in this moment with your self-esteem. Work towards accepting where you are now, without judgment. In future posts, I look forward to sharing more ideas and strategies about how to begin to identify core concepts of self-esteem and actively build it within your own life.
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Schiraldi, G.R. (2001). The self-esteem workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Featured image: Rainy Day Inspiration :: You Must Believe in Yourself! by SweetOnVeg / CC BY 2.0