Self-Esteem For Dummies
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Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself as a person. It comes from an inner knowledge that you are competent, confident, and worthy of a good life. You gain self-esteem by understanding yourself and the value you have. With a strong sense of self-worth, you recognize that you can accomplish what you desire to do and be, that you have the ability to be successful in relationships, and that you are happy with who you are.

Assess your self-esteem

Before you can determine what changes to make in your life, it’s a good idea to get a better sense of how you see yourself at this time. Answer each question as honestly as you can. Rate yourself on each question, using the following numbering system:

4 — Almost always

3 — Often

2 — Seldom

1 — Almost never

______ I feel good about my personality.

______ I am pleased with my appearance.

______ I feel confident about my abilities.

______ On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.

______ When I make a mistake, I learn from it and move on.

______ I feel as smart as others.

______ I find it easy to admit when I don’t understand something.

______ I openly express my opinions to others.

______ Overall, I believe I am successful in life.

______ I think about myself with positive and encouraging thoughts.

Scoring: If you scored between 10 and 19 points, your self-esteem is very low, and you don’t respect yourself or have much regard for yourself.

If you scored between 20 and 29 points, you are beginning to feel capable in meeting life’s everyday challenges, but you still hold back, unsure that you can be successful in different aspects of your life.

If you scored between 30 and 40 points, you are well on your way to developing high self-esteem. You feel comfortable with yourself and have confidence in your ability to set and reach goals. You are still growing and can reach an even higher level of self-esteem.

Recognize your cruel and judgmental self-talk

Negative thoughts you have about yourself reflect your feelings about yourself. But realize that these are just your feelings — they’re not the actual truth. Most people began to have these feelings and thoughts in childhood. As an adult, you’re ready to understand that they’re not necessarily an accurate picture of reality and that you can change them into more positive thoughts. These are the methods your mind uses to deceive you into believing you have little worth:

  • Reading other people’s thoughts to put yourself down

  • Predicting a negative outcome will be inevitable

  • Thinking only in extremes — “always,” “everyone,” “never,” “forever”

  • Blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault

  • Labeling yourself in a derogatory fashion — “loser,” “failure,” “ugly”

  • Focusing only on the negative and disregarding the positive

  • Telling yourself you “should,” “ought to,” “have to” do or be something

10 principles to build and maintain a friendship with yourself

One of the most powerful ways to build your self-esteem is to be your own best friend. Practice these ten principles to love and support yourself:

  • Look inside to see what you believe about yourself.

  • Speak only positive things about yourself, being patient, loving, and gentle with yourself.

  • Treat yourself fairly and with integrity.

  • Trust that you will be good to yourself.

  • Be satisfied with yourself but realize you can change for the better, too.

  • Choose what you do and the people you are with to celebrate who you are.

  • Make decisions that create the life you believe you are worthy of.

  • Treat yourself like you’re special and do things that make you feel good about being you.

  • Check in with yourself every day about what’s happening.

  • Be aware of your needs and respond to them.

Tips for connecting with coworkers

Because you spend much of your day with your coworkers, getting to know them and getting along with them are essential. Here are tips for forming stronger workplace relationships:

  • Follow the golden rule. Make others feel the way you want to feel when you interact with them.

  • Strive to understand your coworkers. Seek to be aware of what they need and want and meet them where they are.

  • Understand that you and your coworkers desire to be respected and appreciated.

  • Trust that you will be rewarded for your efforts to understand and help your coworkers.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

S. Renee Smith is a renowned self-esteem and branding expert, speaker, author, and resource to the media. Her expertise in personal and professional development and ability to inspire others to make positive, permanent changes has made her a sought-after consultant and speaker to Fortune 500 corporations, universities, government and nonprofit agencies, and churches. Vivian Harte has taught assertiveness skills online to over 10,000 students worldwide. She has 14 years of experience teaching in the classroom at Pima Community College and the University of Phoenix. She also hosted her own radio and television shows for many years in Colorado Springs, Minneapolis, and Tucson.

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