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The Highs and Lows of Self-Esteem

People with low self-esteem are prone to exaggerate the negative aspects of a difficult situation. This article explains what self-esteem is and how to start practising positive techniques to boost the value of your personal self-worth.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is our sense of personal value or self-worth. There are three different types of self-esteem:

  • Global or trait self-esteem. Our overall sense of self-worth. Remains fairly constant over time.
  • State self-esteem. Our emotional reactions to particular events, which reduces or increases feelings of self-worth.
  • Domain self-esteem. Our personal appraisal of our physical attributes, abilities and personality. For example, you may have high academic self-esteem, but low social self-esteem.

The Highs and Lows of Self-Esteem

People with healthy levels of self-esteem are likely to:

  • appreciate themselves for who they are.
  • accept their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
  • take pride in what they do and achieve.

People with low self-esteem tend to:

  • accentuate the negative in situations.
  • be overly concerned about what other people think.
  • be reluctant to take on new or challenging tasks.

Impact of self-esteem in the workplace

People with high self-esteem tend to experience:

  • higher motivation and job satisfaction.
  • better performance.
  • reduced stress and burnout levels.

Ironically, many people with low self-esteem can also be high achievers at work. But this can often come at a cost, as it can lead to high levels of stress.

Top Tips to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Practice positive thinking

Negativity is the enemy of self-esteem. Try to challenge and reframe negative thoughts. For example, think: “This project is really demanding, but it’s great experience” rather than: “I’m out of my depth. What if it all goes wrong?”

Strike a healthy work-life balance

Feeling stressed can take its toll. Have regular breaks at work, take your holiday allocation, and try to minimize the overtime that you do. A healthy diet, sleep and regular exercise are important for your self-image too.

Set yourself a challenge

Step outside your comfort zone and try something different or new. It doesn’t have to be a big challenge, or even work related. If you can break it down into smaller steps, even better. It’s OK to feel nervous – it’s a natural part of the learning process.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Nobody’s perfect. And that includes your friends and colleagues, whatever they or their social media updates say. Work out what matters most in life to you, and focus your expectations, efforts and energy on that.

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