Supplementary Material for Self-Esteem

What is good self-esteem?

  • Knowing you are a precious child of God
  • Aware that you are valuable just because you are, because you breathe & because you exist
  • Confidence, self-respect, dignity, high self-worth
  • Believing in and trusting in yourself

What good self-esteem is NOT:

  • Your looks, clothes, money, car, etc.
  • Selfishness, self-absorption, narcissism
  • Arrogance, competitive, comparative
  • What others think of you
  • Appearing better than others

Signs of good self-esteem:

  • Core beliefs are of self-value, competence, equally as good as others, comfortable with differences, believing you are deserving of all that is good
    • Accepting & liking yourself, even if others don’t
  • Treat self well
    • Positive self-talk
    • Can give praise to self & others for admirable qualities & achievements
    • Gratitude for the hard job your body performs every day instead of criticizing its superficial flaws
  • Can set boundaries/limits comfortably
    • Healthy limits on your energy, time, finances, advice, care-taking, self-protection, etc.
    • Can speak up, say “no” or defend yourself or others when needed.
    • Can deflect and disregard gossip
    • Can maintain being your authentic self in a relationship
  • Give service without ulterior motives to receive credit, recognition or admiration in return
  • Personal Power
    • Capable of and responsible for meeting needs, dreams, goals, and obligations
    • Avoid unhealthy dependencies on people or things
    • Self-motivation
    • Can ask for help if needed
    • Courage to speak your opinion, take risks, tackle difficulties
  • Able to admit when you’re wrong, apologize, learn from it, make necessary changes and still keep that good feeling about yourself
    • Know the difference between ‘I MADE a mistake’ and ‘I AM a mistake’
    • Cut yourself some slack—forgive and be gentle with yourself 
  • Comfortable with your strengths, weakness & limitations
    • Steady view of self-worth despite aging, body disabilities or distortions, failures, illness, losses, etc.

–  Open up to a one on one, personal relationship with God/Higher Power even if you’re not perfect yet

Ways to Access your Self-Esteem

  • Break free from negative self-concepts and self-defeating behavior
  • Use your energy to change your behavior rather than feeling shame and guilt
  • Live self-accepting
  • Appreciate small, daily successes
  • Be real in relationships
  • Think and act for yourself
  • Value differences between people
  • Nurture the self-esteem of others
  • Set clear goals
  • Set boundaries for yourself, respect other’s boundaries
  • Do nice things for yourself
  • Depend on yourself for a sense of importance
  • Allow yourself the right to make mistakes
  • Accept responsibility for your actions
  • Forgive yourself
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Differentiate between who you are and what you do
  • Recognize you have choices and make them
  • Monitor your self-talk
  • Self-Affirmations
  • Create a model of the person you want to be
  • Find the courage to love yourself
  • Define your sense of purpose in life
  • Enjoy being you

Low self-esteem TRAPS: (Dysfunction lies in the extremes so some are extreme opposites)

  • Give service to get approval, admiration or compliments
  • Enable others to be irresponsible or sinful for fear of getting their disapproval 
  • Fearing you aren’t deserving of Christ’s love, help & personal attention because you’re not good enough
  • Hide true self; need to wear a mask, play a role, be superficial 
  • Needy; externally dependent on people & things to give you good feelings about yourself
  • Core beliefs are shame-based: ‘There is something wrong with me’  ‘Not good enough’  ‘Less than’
  • Jealousy
  • Toxic pride—must always be right, win or be better than to prove self-worth
  • Put others down to build self up
  • Attracted to or have trouble breaking away from abusive relationships
  • Blame self when mistreat by others
  • Crave admiration and compliments but cannot accept them 
  • Can’t ask for help, or won’t accept help when it is needed and offered  
  • Hard to accept constructive criticism or advice and make necessary changes when needed  
  • Allow others to do their thinking or make decisions for them or needs to do the thinking for others
  • Looking good on the outside—Critical, perfectionistic, self-deprecating on the inside
  • Extreme selflessness (to the point of hurting one’s self), or extreme taking—selfishness
  • Extreme self-hate which may cause cutting self, addictions (to medicate internal pain), suicide, etc.
  • Social withdrawal or need to be the center of attention (opposites)
  • Constantly apologizing for yourself even if you’ve done nothing wrong or offensive
  • Try to run faster than (you are able.”

Ways to improve your self-esteem:

  • Spend time with positive people who treat you with respect and dignity
  • Stop all abuse of self and others
  • Care for yourself with proper nutrition, positive self-talk, adequate sunlight, sleep, rest, physical activity, good hygiene, medical & psychological care, etc
  • Get to know the Savior personally—learn from Him how precious you are
  • Recognize that mistakes, failures, and challenges are all part of Gods plan—look for lessons and learn from them instead of condemning yourself 
  • Change your self-view about mistreatment from others, past or present—“I am better than some people treat me.”

Ways to inspire healthy self-esteem in others

  • Treat others with the same dignity, respect & gentle interaction you hope they will choose to develop in themselves 
  • Model a good self-esteem   
  • Patience and forgiveness in conflict
  • Periodically give the others a reminder that you are thinking of them or that they are important to you
  • Point out positive things about a person in front of others when they don’t know that you know they’re listening
  • Allow others to express opinions without arguing or having to be right
  • Never bring up negative issues from the past regardless of how tempting it may be
  • Teach children to feel good about who they are & what they have accomplished without being haughty
  • When a person says negative things about him/herself, say: “Please don’t say negative things about someone I love!”
  • When angry with a person, cool off before confronting—then attack the problem, NOT the person
  • Listen with interest to others, to learn about & understand them, not to get your point across 
  • Accept others as they are—choose to love & affirm them as a person, even if they disappoint you 

What creates low self-esteem

  • Less than nurturing treatment by parents, family, major caretakers, society—especially children. Children have no way of filtering out what is their fault and what is the indiscretion of the person(s) mistreating them, so they automatically blame themselves. (For a list of various kinds of abuses go to “What is Abuse?” You will find a LONG list of the various types of abuse that may help to cause low self-esteem.
  • A child not getting the resources, support, nurturing, training, love needed 
  • Dysfunctional patterns innocently/ignorantly passed on from generation to generation through family systems and culture
  • Not knowing God personally & assuming Gods’ love does not apply to you
  • Being more dependent on other’s opinions of you than on what God thinks & feels about you

“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.” ~Nathaniel Branden, an American-Canadian psychotherapist

“There is an energy that comes from happiness and optimism that doesn’t just bless us—it builds everyone around us.” ~Sharon Eubank

There are two relationships that be with you from the time you are born to the time that you die and that is the one with God and the one with YOURSELF—everyone else comes and goes. So, you need to make sure those two relationships are RIGHT. Consider any love or approval you get from others a nice bonus, but don’t be dependent on it to tell you of your worth and value. ~12-step program literature

Affirmations for a Good Self Esteem

For Self-Acceptance: I am a worthwhile human being. I have ideas, thoughts, and feelings that are worth sharing. I enjoy being me. I can laugh at myself. I have self-respect and self-confidence. I am kind, compassionate and gentle with myself

For Self-Growth: I see problems as learning opportunities. I have a variety of interests. I make my own decisions and accept the consequences. I look forward to new challenges. I know it is okay to change. I am learning to express my whole self.

For Relationships: I listen to other people’s points of view. I do not try to change others when they disagree with me. I accept compliments. I accept feedback to help me in my growth. I have personal relationships that are satisfying and lasting. I am learning to say ‘No’ more comfortably. I respect my boundaries and other people’s boundaries

For Health: I have energy and physical endurance I have positive thoughts. I am able to relax. I am calm I take good care of my body with exercise, nutritious food, and medical and dental attention

For Work: I take pride in doing my job well. I finish things that I start. I am confident about decisions that I make. I learn from my mistakes. I set goals I can reach and i expect to reach them. I do the best I can. ~From: Expanded Life Choices