Self-esteem or self-worth should ideally be gender-neutral. There is no need for one gender to have an edge over the other on this.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Various studies over the past decades in various age categories have established beyond doubt that gender does play a role in this basic attribute. Women appear to be predisposed to low levels of self-confidence and self-worth than men. This is the same in young girls as well.
Blame it on society, the inherited genes, hormones, cognitive or environmental factors; the fact remains that even from a very young age, girls display a tendency to have lower self-esteem than boys the same age.
Many of the factors influencing our views about ourselves are beyond our reach. The question here is this – Can we do anything to improve self-esteem?
This article tries to unravel this mystery and comes up with some definite answers to the question. You will also find here tips and suggestions to build confidence and raise self-esteem.
What is self-esteem?
In psychology, self-esteem is defined as “a person’s overall sense of his or her value or worth”. It is your overall opinion of yourself. It is considered as “a sort of measure of how much a person values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself”. It is also described as your attitude towards yourself.
Some of the major factors affecting self-esteem are:
- Health status
- Social status
- Behavior of others
Self-esteem doesn’t remain constant throughout your life. As you age, you tend to have high self-esteem. As you gain more experience, as your health and social status change, or as your circle of friends evolves, you will witness a change in your level of self-esteem.
How to boost your self-esteem?
Your self-esteem can be high, low, or anywhere in between. Low levels of self-esteem can make you feel unmotivated and insecure. To live a happy and content life, you need to have optimum levels of self-esteem.
If you feel you are lacking and want to work towards improving self-esteem, here are a few tips to help you with that.
1. Put in extra effort to know yourself
Self-awareness is the key to your personality. It can set right many wrongs in your life. Self-awareness involves understanding your true self; knowing who you really are without filter or varnish.
Here the question is how to know yourself. Where to start on the path to self-discovery. You can start by being honest with yourself. This includes your thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, experiences, desires, and more.
Knowing how your past experiences shaped your thoughts and beliefs and knowing what you want to do in life or what you expect from it, can go a long way in understanding yourself.
This requires living in the present; being aware of what you are doing and experiencing every moment of your life. It means paying attention to what you think of yourself and how you treat yourself.
As a means of self-discovery, you can ask yourself pointed questions to elicit answers from yourself. You need to learn to listen to your inner voice to understand the workings of your subconscious mind.
2. Take good care of yourself
This involves physical, mental, and emotional health. Health is a major influencer of self-esteem, so it makes sense to get the basics right.
Taking care of physical health involves eating healthy, sleeping well, and making workouts part of your daily routine. To ensure good mental health, you should take adequate short and long breaks from work, get out and meet people, get close to nature, and care for a pet.
Decluttering your living space and getting things organized are considered the first steps in taking care of yourself. Spending time on something you love such as hobbies, cooking for yourself, and having “me-time” are all steps in the right direction.
If you feel you are not in positive mind space, take efforts to shift to a more positive attitude. Patting yourself on the back and setting realistic expectations all have a role to play in shifting your mindset and how you feel about yourself.
3. Learn to respect yourself
This may seem overly simplistic. Don’t we all have self-respect? If we did, you may not be lacking in self-esteem.
Self-respect means taking the effort to understand and uphold your values without losing out on your well-being to please others. This involves trusting yourself, understanding your strengths, becoming proficient in newer skills, and becoming more assertive.
Learning to say no, establishing boundaries, and speaking your mind are all steps in the right direction. Stop comparing yourself with others, stop keeping the company of toxic people, stop talking yourself down, and stop apologizing needlessly. All these can help in regaining respect for yourself.
4. Accept yourself unconditionally
Become aware of the fact that nobody is perfect and that you are as good as anyone else. You may have imperfections and limitations, but so do others. This is nothing to be ashamed of.
Accepting yourself involves accepting and admitting your mistakes and learning to take criticism positively. You need to be kind and compassionate to yourself, forgive your mistakes, and know your limitations and threshold for stress and pain.
To accept yourself warts and all, you should be honest with yourself and accept reality. You should own up to your actions, be fearless, be unbiased, and make the best of your strengths.
5. Truly love yourself
Loving yourself means treating you with the same respect you offer others. This means creating healthier boundaries in relationships, learning to accept compliments, and rejoicing in your strengths.
Practicing self-love involves stopping comparing yourself with others and not bothering about the opinion of others. Treat mistakes as learning experiences. Stop bothering about body image, and prioritizing yourself.
These suggestions may sound too simple but when you try understanding them in the real sense, these may sound too overwhelming. To increase self-esteem for a woman may be hard but not impossible.
To make this happen, you should turn inward and become more self-aware. With dedication, persistence, and perseverance, there is nothing you cannot achieve. Focus, sincere effort, and willingness to work hard can get you anything you want. You need to be in a mental space where you can believe this.
By following the suggestions given here, you can build positive self-esteem and raise your confidence. This will help you lead a happy, peaceful, and fulfilling life.