I believe that every parent wants their kids to have high self-esteem, so I have decided to publish a few posts over the coming weeks about self-esteem, what it is and how to increase it, so every parent reading this will be able to help their kids develop this very important emotional strength.
So first, what is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is a reflection of a person’s overall appraisal of their own worth
In other words, self-esteem is the score each person gives their abilities and skills.
Our self-esteem is made from our beliefs about our physical, mental and emotional capabilities. If we have positive beliefs about ourselves, we say that we have high self-esteem.
If we have negative beliefs about ourselves, we say that we have low self-esteem.
Can we increase our self-esteem?
Yes, we can.
To do that, we need to identify the areas we do not appreciate about ourselves, and our beliefs about what we cannot do, and change them.
Self-esteem and identity
Our self-esteem is part of our identity. Some people base their self-esteem on what they see as a set of unchanging character traits that they have inherited genetically from their parents. They say things like, “I’m no good with people (or computers or cooking)”, “Some people are more confident than others”, and a variety of similar statements.
In reality, our self-esteem changes with our experiences and can be easily built up with the right guidance and support.
Imagine that your esteem is like a barometer. It goes up whenever you get positive results (success), and down when you get negative results (failure).
Our self-esteem is easily influenced by our society. Unfortunately, this gives society too much power over our beliefs and emotions. When determining whether an experience is good or bad, we consider pressure, our need to be loved and accepted, our need for approval and many other factors that will be discussed in the next posts.
External communication can make a big difference to us, and sometimes completely change how we rate our results and therefore ourselves.
For instance, I have found that in some schools, high self-esteem was considered arrogant, pushy or selfish. Kids who demonstrated their skills in front of their peers received negative feedback.
On the other hand, shy and withdrawing kids were continually encouraged as modest and considerate. Even worse, failing students got extra attention from the teacher’s aide.
Similarly, many parents, whose kids have low self-esteem, keep focusing on the kids challenges and problems, thinking that they need to “fix” their kids in order to increase their self-esteem.
Let’s focus on the positive
This focus on low self-esteem is like driving a car by looking in the rear-view mirror. The more we turn our head to look backwards, the more accidents we are likely to have. Instead, it would be better to look forward and aim the car toward where we want to be.
I believe we dedicate too much energy to finding the reasons for the problems in life, rather than dedicating our energy to finding solutions. Reasons are of the past, solutions are of the future.
We have many coaching clients who came to us after working on their emotions with a therapist, which gave them explanations as to why they behave the way they do, but without the power to move forward.
One couple came to me after a very long counseling period. The husband had a gambling problem and said, “It was great to understand why I had the urge to spend my money, but it didn’t help me stop it. Understanding is good, but not good enough without a way to move forward.”
To make the most out of this self-esteem mini-course, make a list of things you think about yourself by next week. Put them in two different lists, the good list and the “not so good” list. Aim for 50 things on each list.
To help you, here are the headings for each list:
- 50 things about myself I like, appreciate and enjoy
- 50 things about myself I don’t like, don’t appreciate and suffer
Come again next week and we’ll continue.
This post is part of the series Self Esteem Mini-Course:
- What Is Self Esteem?
- How School Promotes Low Self Esteem
- Beliefs and Where They Come From
- Social Identity
- Service Your Self-Esteem
- Your Self-Esteem Checklist
- How to Get Rid of Doubts
- Assertiveness and Self Esteem
- How to Be Assertive
- Beliefs of Assertive People
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (11): Ronit Baras’ Success Experience Theory
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (12): Ms Self Esteem has an Identity Crisis
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (13): Conflict Resolution
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (14): Watch Your language or Lose Your Kids’ Trust
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (15): War between Two Minds
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (16): What if
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (17): What do I Think?
- Self Esteem Mini-Course (18): What?
- Self Esteem Mini Course (19): Damaging Kids’ Self Esteem
- Self Esteem Mini Course (20): Boosting Kids’ Self Esteem