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The Health Benefits Of High Self-Esteem

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Low Self-Esteem — There’s always room to build your self-esteem higher!

Low self-esteem.  Everyone seems to have it, but what exactly is it?  Does it impact our health?  What are the signs of low self-esteem, and how can we improve our self-esteem?

I will dive deeper into personal growth by focusing on one of the most important aspects of all: self-esteem; because if you don't love yourself, personal growth is nearly impossible. With that in mind I offer the following verse:

And the second [greatest commandment] is...: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39

God commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, which means we must first learn how to love ourselves.

I have guests who come to me for counseling. Some have asked me how they can boost their self-confidence. After a brief discussion, I am usually able to determine that they are mostly asking about how to boost their self-esteem. Self-confidence and self-esteem can appear to be the same to those looking on from the outside. On the inside, they can evoke similar feelings which is why people get them confused, but they are fundamentally different.

Self-Confidence Vs. Self-Esteem

Self-confidence is a person’s belief about their skills, abilities, and control over specific areas of their lives. Self-confidence comes from knowledge and practice. Confidence comes from the Latin word for trust, and in essence we trust our abilities.

Self-esteem is how people see themselves on the inside; their self-worth. Self-esteem comes from self-care and self-perception. Esteem comes from the Latin word to appraise, value, or rate; and it is all about how we value ourselves.

One way to see the differences between the two is to look at their opposites. The opposites of self-confidence are fear and ignorance; and the opposites of self-esteem are a lack of self love and self-worth. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

What is self-esteem, and how is it formed?

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves.  It is based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves — how you feel about your abilities and limitations.  When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself, and see yourself as deserving the respect of others.  When you have low self-esteem you put little value on your opinions and ideas.

Self-esteem forms in early childhood.  Relationships with those close to you — parents, siblings, friends, teachers, peers — and the messages you received from these people over time impact the beliefs you have about yourself.  If you received positive feedback and support from these people, you’re more likely to see yourself as worthwhile and have a healthy self-esteem.  If you were teased or received criticism from these people, you are more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem.

Difficult or stressful life experiences can also impact your self-esteem:

  • Being bullied or abused
  • Experiencing prejudice or discrimination
  • Relationship problems (cheating, divorce)
  • Worries about your appearance and body image
  • Losing your job or difficulty finding employment
  • Physical or mental health problems

How does self-esteem impact our health?

Having low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem itself, but it is closely linked to mental health issues.  Low self-esteem can lead to sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, shame, or guilt.  It can make you want to avoid social situations and stop trying new things.

Low self-esteem may be linked to developing unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking, or possibly developing substance abuse to cope with sadness.  Fatigue is a side effect of poor self-esteem.  Dealing with heavy emotions can consume a person’s emotional energy, leaving them feeling physically drained.  There is a significant link between low self-esteem and eating disorders.  And people with low self-esteem are also at risk for body dysmorphic disorder which can elevate into suicidal or self-harming tendencies.

What are the signs of low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem can affect a person’s thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior.  Here are commons signs:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of control
  • Negative social comparison
  • Problems asking for what you need
  • Worry and self-doubt
  • Trouble accepting positive feedback
  • Negative self-talk
  • Fear of failure
  • Poor outlook
  • Lack of boundaries
  • Trying to please others

How can we improve our self-esteem?

Past experiences and relationships don’t have to have control over your self-esteem.  Your own thoughts have the biggest impact, and are within your control.  The key to healthy self-esteem is to develop a balanced, accurate view of yourself, and to focus on your skills and assets.  Here are just a few tips on how you can build your self-esteem:

  • Stay physically active — exercise can improve your mood
  • Notice your thoughts and focus on positive thinking
  • Care for yourself, forgive yourself, and practice self-acceptance
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Volunteer to help others
  • Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself
  • Celebrate your accomplishments, both big and small
  • Seek outside support from a therapist

Build Your Self-Esteem At OHI

OHI understands the importance of good mental health, and focuses on building positive self-esteem as the foundation for self-acceptance.  Our entire curriculum centers on self-care, but guests find two of our sessions particularly impactful in addressing low self-esteem:

OHI’s Self Esteem Class: In our Self Esteem class – learn how self-esteem is formed, how low self-esteem can impact health, and how to build self-esteem for personal growth.

Release Ceremony:  Our weekly release ceremony encourages guests to let go of barriers to their health.  As soon as you let go of something, you make room for so much more in your life.  This ceremony celebrates the courage it takes to let go, and embrace the new path you are about to embark on.

You Validation:  Sometimes it’s difficult to look in the mirror and acknowledge all the good in you when all you’re used to doing is focusing on faults.  When you participate in our You Validation class, we celebrate and affirm each person’s positive gifts.

Make today the day you take an active role in building your self-esteem.  Start by embracing the person you are, warts and all.  You are a valuable human being with so much good to share with the world.  Start by seeing all the good in yourself.

Learn more about self-esteem at OHI San Diego and OHI Austin. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at  (800) 588-0809  to make your reservation.