By Betty Ige
There is no doubt that human beings are different in dispositions and looks. And it is this difference that makes every individual unique in his or her composition. This uniqueness can be assessed in terms of personality, physical features, talents, skills, interests, strengths and weaknesses but if there is an attribute that should be common to all, it is the quality of self-esteem. Self-esteem is simply valuing one’s self and not looking down on one’s self. In other words, self-esteem means liking yourself as well as having confidence in your own worth. It is self respect. It also means accepting both your strengths and weaknesses.
Self-esteem is a concept that is universal but there can be differences in its application because individuals may choose to define and apply it based on how it is understood. There are two ways we can look at self-esteem. These include high self-esteem and low self-esteem. High self-esteem is when a person recognizes and accepts both strengths and weaknesses. However, this should not be confused with arrogance or over confidence. A person who possesses high self-esteem demonstrates positive assertiveness, confidence, humility, self respect, respect for others and respect for constituted authority.
On the other hand, low self-esteem is when a person only sees shortcomings and weaknesses and is blind to anything good in himself or herself. Where there is a manifestation of low self-esteem, a keen observer is bound to notice rebellion, inferiority feelings, arrogance, destructive criticisms of others, ineffectiveness and indecisiveness. But all hope is not lost. It is an achievable feat to grow and develop from a low level of self-esteem to a high level of self-esteem.
You can look at building self-esteem as a process of self investment, which is investing in one’s self for a greater good. You can be on the way to developing high self esteem by carefully looking inward and realizing where you need to make major changes. It is not an automatic appraisal but a step-by-step approach that helps you to see all the vast accumulation of inferiority feelings, fears and negative emotions that have found comfortable abode in your mind. Building your self-esteem begins with changing your thinking.
Norman Vincent Peale, the author of ‘‘Power Your Life With Positive Thinking,’’ says: Outwardly the average person appears quite self-sufficient, composed, sophisticated, and self-controlled. That is the way we are expected to look in public. But as someone once observed, in every human being is a frightened child. There is one in you and one in me, too. Appearances notwithstanding, most human beings are plagued with a malady of self-doubt, shyness, sense of inferiority and low self-esteem. We are afraid of ourselves, of the future, of the world. It is something we have to struggle against all the time. Very few people have wholly transcended this feeling of put down and achieved complete, serene self-confidence. I do not think anyone has done so except after definite change in his basic thinking.
You have been equipped with the wonderful power of choice. Hence, you can choose to develop a high self-esteem. Realize that, as an individual created with power to choose, you have within you the strength to hold up your head, and be the best that you have been created to be. Self-esteem is the secret ingredient in the recipe for ultimate achievement. Why don’t you start today by changing your thinking and investing in yourself toward attaining a healthy level of self-esteem.