Why Self-Esteem is Important
Self-esteem is in essence, how you judge yourself. Are you worthwhile? Competent? Are you worth knowing and listening to? Do you deserve to be loved? It is how high or low you value yourself. Self-esteem affects how you interact with other people in your daily life, whether you feel capable and are willing to attempt to reach your goals, and what relationships you might form with others. It can even affect your physical health.
What Low Self-esteem can do to You
If you have low self-esteem, it can affect you in many ways.
It puts you at risk for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance use disorders.
It can cause you to be overlooked for promotions and raises at work, causing you to earn tens of thousands of dollars less over the course of your lifetime.
It can negatively affect all your relationships.
It can cause decreased self-confidence which makes it less likely you will achieve your goals.
Causes you to start a pattern of people-pleasing
It can cause a fear of failure, or conversely, fear of success
Develop into a difficulty setting appropriate boundaries with others in your life.
It may cause you to have a poor outlook for your future, making you think that things will never get better
Is Self-esteem Stable Throughout Your Life?
In a word, no! Your self-esteem actually will fluctuate over the various stages of your life. In general, it is fairly high when you are a child, decreases during your adolescence, then rises and stabilizes throughout adulthood before decreasing again in old age. This pattern is fairly well established and known. It’s also interesting to note that your ranking in comparison with other people stays pretty stable throughout your life span. So if your self-esteem is lower than your sister's, but higher than your best friend's when you are 10 years old, it most likely will be the same when you’re 20 years old and when you’re 50 years old.
If that’s true, is it even possible to improve my self-esteem?
Well, yes, it is thought that with effort, you can improve your self-esteem. IN fact, research has pinpointed 5 off-beat ways to improve your self-esteem. Check them out below…
1. Wear perfume. I’ve worked in hospitals and medical facilities for the past decade or so, and with all the people who have sensitivities, I’ve actually stopped wearing perfumes. However, studies show that taking care of your appearance, and more specifically, how you smell, can actually improve your self-esteem. Maybe it’s time to go to the mall and find me a new perfume to wear!
2. Exercise outside. I think if you’ve been reading my blog at all, you are now aware of a bunch of the positive effects of exercise, and this includes boosting your self-esteem. However, research shows that it will improve more if you are exercising outside, especially if it’s in an aesthetically pleasing environment. So head out for that yoga in the park!
3. Power pose. A power pose is one
that is more dominant. Think head up, arms out, legs wide, standing or sitting straight. Studies show that assuming a stance like this for 2 minutes will increase your self- confidence. Incidentally, it also lowers your cortisol level which is the stress hormone responsible for high blood pressure, weight gain, sleep disturbance, and a ton of other problems.
4. Smile and make eye contact. People tend to believe non-verbal communication over verbal. I think this is because they believe that it’s hard to fake your non-verbal communication. But in any case, smiling and making good eye contact will signal to others and to yourself that you feel confident and in control.
5. Choose clothing that is appropriate to the situation. In a study done with college students, participants were asked to wear superhero clothing with their friends. They reported feeling stronger, smarter, more popular, and superior to others. People asked to wear white coats were perceived to be smarter. Those in suits are more competent. Clothes really do make a difference.
So, try out some of these suggestions and see if your self-esteem improves! If you find that you want some help addressing these issues, please contact me at the link for self-esteem counseling. I’d love to hear from you!