We need to see ourselves as we really are.
How can we grow in self-esteem? When a person’s self-esteem is low, they tend to lower their life goals and believe that they’ll never be able to make big dreams a reality. Yet, this isn’t true. Self-esteem is the degree of personal satisfaction we have about ourselves, and it varies according to the aspects of our life we focus on.
When we have an objective view of ourselves, our self-esteem will be at an appropriate level. It’s something each of us has to work on, so as an aid, let’s look at some things that can help.
1Know your degree of competence
It is important that we get to know ourselves so we can understand whether our expectations for ourselves are realistic. If I want to be a Formula 1 champion but I don’t even know how to drive, my expectations aren’t realistic, and I’ll feel continually frustrated.
That frustration will disappear the day I recognize that I’m not an expert driver. That doesn’t mean giving up on more proportionate goals; for example, I can set myself the goal of learning to drive, which would be the first step towards my long-term dream.
2Take charge of your life
We cannot let other people decide for us. We must be the ones who make decisions about our own lives; the ones who, in the end, either make mistakes or hit the mark. If we don’t exercise our freedom, life will drag us along to places we might not want to go.
Our self-esteem improves when we take charge of our own life, and develop a sense of agency regarding our own future. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can decide, above all, what kind of person we want to be.
We all need to be respected by others: by our husband or wife, boyfriends or girlfriends, friends, boss or employees, colleagues … Respect and appreciation help us grow in self-esteem.
When someone doesn’t respect us, it’s an unhealthy relationship, and we need to take action to change the situation. If it doesn’t improve, we need to distance ourselves from that person. Respect should always go in both directions: from parents to children and vice versa, for example.
4Seek healthy affection
Feeling loved gives us wings to become the best version of ourselves. Seek out those who love you with no other intention than to love you and want your good. Our family should be the first place we look for and find that kind of selfless love, although ideally we should find it in true friendships in many different environments.
5Look back on good memories
Memory plays an important role in self-esteem. It’s helpful if we create and revisit memories of positive experiences from the various areas of our lives: family life, hobbies and sports, our professional life, our years in school, etc. Looking back at prayers that have been answered and blessings we’ve received from God, even in the midst of trials and difficulties, can help us to see how God loves us and accompanies us.
All of our good experiences throughout our lives form part of our path and are solid ground to help us move forward. Create and hold on to good memories!
Ultimately, our self-esteem should be rooted in our dignity as a special part of God’s creation: children of God whom He loved so much He sent his Son to redeem us. He gave us our talents and potential. He gave us our freedom and commanded us to use it to choose what is right. We deserve respect because we are made in His image and likeness. He taught us that He loves us, and wants us to love each other as He has loved us. Being aware of these profound truths should help us grow in self-esteem.