What Is Self Esteem and How Does It Affect Us - Kamini Wood

What is Self Esteem and How Does it Affect Us

Girl with High Self Esteem Floating

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Self-esteem is a critical part of who we are as human beings. But what is self-esteem, why does it exist and what can we do about it?

Self-esteem is about how you feel about yourself and it involves beliefs and emotions about your own worth. People with healthy levels of confidence have a positive perception of themselves. They feel good about themselves and have a realistic awareness of their abilities and personal qualities. Other people see them as self-assured, with a developed sense of self-worth, and self-acceptance.

If you have healthy self-esteem, you will most likely be realistic, compassionate, and caring to yourself.

On the contrary, people who struggle with esteem tend to see themselves as worthless, flawed, or unlovable. They are caught in a vicious cycle of self-critical thoughts that produce faulty assumptions and affect their emotional health, behavior, and life choices, further diminishing self-esteem. In turn, this typically triggers feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness, and causes other mental health issues. 

How Body Image Affects Confidence

A healthy body image means that you are comfortable with your body and satisfied with your appearance. Many adolescents struggle with transformations that their bodies and minds go through. Changes in physical, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of teenagers’ lives may cause different challenges, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, sudden mood swings, substance abuse, and ongoing self-defeating behavior.

An adolescent’s body image is formed under a range of factors such as puberty transformations, appearance, social media, peers’ pressures, parents’ body image, physical activity, and more.

For example, one study showed that adolescents (between 11 and 17 years old) who are physically active have higher self-esteem and goal-orientation than adolescents who are physically inactive.

Pursuing social media’s beauty and success standards has lead to a great number of people today feeling inadequate, anxious, and depressed.

Self-Esteem Statistic in Teens

A 2014 study on high school students showed that over 70 percent of teenage girls struggle with body image issues. Data shows that 44 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys are attempting to lose weight.

In girls, self-esteem is more strongly related to body image. It depends more on how they view their own bodies than how much they actually weigh.

At the same time, 75 percent of teenage girls with low confidence reported engaging in negative or self-harming behaviors. These include things such as smoking, drinking, hurting themselves, disordered eating, and bullying. Seven in ten girls have a negative self-perception.

What is Self esteem, reflection of sad woman in mirror

These young women believing that they are not good enough regarding their appearance, relationships, and school performance.

More than 40 percent of male teenagers regularly exercise to increase muscle mass. Moreover, 38 percent of boys in middle and high school use protein supplements, and almost 6 percent admit taking steroids.

Another survey from 2015 shows that 95 percent of adolescents felt inferior at some point in their lives. The three main reasons for this feeling of inferiority involve appearance (59%), abilities (49%), and intelligence (38%).

Self-Esteem Later in Life

Self-esteem is a relatively stable trait. Persons with relatively high or low self-esteem at one stage of life are likely to have relatively high or low confidence when they grow older. Research also shows that confidence predicts success and well-being in all domains of life. In other words, if you have low confidence, this may affect your life for decades.

Body Image issues are not only found in teens. Adults battle body image, dignity, and confidence issues as well.

How To Improve Your Self-Esteem

However, confidence is by no means fixed and unchangeable. With a growth mindset and positive strategies such as gratitude practice, compassion, mindfulness meditation, visualization, and positive affirmations, you can improve self-esteem and promote overall well-being.

If you are ready to seek support and move forward through the body image issues you may be facing, contact me today, and let’s see how I can best support you.

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