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How To Have A Healthy Self-Esteem

Written by: Corina Neagu, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


There are so many people in this world suffering from a lack of self-esteem. Self-esteem is your subjective sense of overall personal worth or value. Self-esteem is your own personal view of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Similar to self-respect, it describes your level of confidence in your abilities and attributes.

Smiling business woman holding a notebook and pencil at the office.

Having healthy self-esteem can influence your motivation, your mental well-being, and your overall quality of life. However, having self-esteem that is either too high or too low can be problematic. Better understanding what your unique level of self-esteem is can help you strike a balance that is just right for you.

Everyone has a different view of themselves, but keeping a positive outlook will benefit you more than a negative one. Many individuals suffer from low self-esteem for a variety of reasons and need to build their self-esteem in order to be happy and succeed in life.

On the other hand, people with overly high self-esteem may overestimate their skills and may feel entitled to succeed, even without the abilities to back up their belief in themselves. They may struggle with relationship issues and block themselves from self-improvement because they are so fixated on seeing themselves as perfect.

Key elements of low self-esteem include:

  • Believing that others are better than you.

  • Finding expressing your needs difficult.

  • Focusing on your weaknesses instead of strengths.

  • Frequently experiencing fear, self-doubt, and worry.

  • Having a negative outlook on life and feel a lack of control.

  • Having an intense fear of failure.

  • Having trouble accepting positive feedback.

  • Having trouble saying no and setting boundaries.

  • Putting other people's needs before your own.

  • Struggling with confidence.

Many theorists have written about the dynamics involved in the development of self-esteem. The concept of self-esteem plays an important role in psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which depicts esteem as one of the basic human motivations.

Maslow suggested that individuals need both appreciations from other people and inner self-respect to build esteem. Both of these needs must be fulfilled in order for an individual to grow as a person and reach self-actualization.

Fact: the only one who can make you excel is you and no one else. The same goes for self-esteem. The only person who can build up—or consequentially tear down—your self-esteem is you. Although other individuals may aide the process, the awareness, the end decision and the effort are yours.

People have low esteem for a variety of reasons. Some individuals suffer from poor body image and focus on all the negative traits of their physical appearance. Others have emotional issues that have caused their self-esteem to drop or feel themselves unworthy of any praise. For whatever reasons your self-esteem may falter, the key to building it up again is to find the root of the problem.

Think of self-esteem like a house, if you build a stunning house on a poor foundation, the entire structure will crumble. However, if you take steps to ensure the foundation is strong and capable of holding anything, the process may be slow, but your self-esteem will be built soundly.

Many individuals look for help for their low self-esteem in books or seminars. The number of available options on the market is phenomenal, and you are sure to find one on a topic that deals with your specific issues. Check with your friends who had similar experiences, check your local library or bookstore and explore their “self-help” section for a book that you may find helpful, check online for people who may inspire you, mentors, coach, and communities. It is quite unlikely you will find the answers to all your problems in a book or online, but you may find it helpful to know others are in the same boat and you are certainly not alone.

Additionally, you may wish to seek professional help in your quest to boost your self-esteem. Often, speaking with a qualified individual can help you determine the root of your problem and the necessary path you should take for the rebuilding process. Perhaps your problems date back to childhood, or maybe they have recently developed. Whatever the case, a professional will be able to best determine your next step.

The main factor in self-esteem is negativity and avoidance. Negative thoughts can pervade your confidence and crumble your self-esteem. If you find yourself surrounded by negative people or in a negative situation, try to best remedy the problem. There is always something good in each negative situation.

Often, individuals in an abusive relationship have their self-esteem shattered when a supposed loved one constantly berates them and questions their worth. Similarly, a negative workplace environment can lower your self-esteem with colleagues or managers finding fault with your work. Maybe you have a friend who is consistently negative with all surrounding him or her. Whatever the source, distancing yourself from negativity will help you regain your self-esteem. Strive to surround yourself with positive people. If you are going through a rough time in your personal life, you may wish to join a support group. Similarly, there are support groups available for individuals with self-image issues. These groups will allow you to meet other individuals like yourself and provide a forum for you to sound your hopes and achievements.

The impact of a healthy self-esteem may be:

  • A firm understanding of one's skills;

  • The ability to maintain healthy relationships with others as a result of having a healthy relationship with oneself;

  • Realistic and appropriate personal expectations;

  • An understanding of one's needs and the ability to express those needs.

Some recommendations to improve your self-esteem:

  1. Recognize situations that affect self-esteem;

  2. Become aware of thoughts and beliefs;

  3. Challenge negative thinking;

  4. Adjust your thoughts and beliefs (from negative to positive).

  5. Create good habits and replace the bad ones;

  6. Focus on what you can and have instead of what you cannot do or do not have;

  7. Surround yourself with positive people;

  8. Reward yourself from time to time, and celebrate success!

Ideally, you choose to begin building your self-esteem as soon as possible, so why not today! Be thorough and consistent with the process and be aware it may take a while, as change cannot be done overnight. You should not become impatient or despondent if you find your self-esteem slipping. Remember, you are the most important person in your life and should treat yourself as such!

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Corina Neagu, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Corina is the H (human) in HR, and she has more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources. She has become an entrepreneur in HR and Leadership Consulting in 2014. She founded Dare ( in 2016 as she always dared to dream, to create, to share more and more, to do good. She has trained, mentored and career coached thousands of people starting 2010 including teenagers, students, employees in many organizations. She has started to deliver HR and management trainings in Asia in 2015, when she has also become an HR and Management professor at the Business Academy in Bucharest. Now she works as Human Capital Business Partner at Xclusiverse, in Dubai.



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