Self-esteem is a realistic and appreciative opinion of oneself. Realistic in a sense that you’re dealing with truth, and are completely aware of all of your strengths and weaknesses. You do not have to lie about yourself, and you only see yourself as what you are. Appreciative means you have a good feeling about yourself. We understand our strengths and weaknesses and we still like ourselves with all those weaknesses as well. We can work on improving our weaknesses, but they should not hold us back.
The people with self-esteem also remain realistic about their strengths. You understand your strengths and feel good about them. At the same time, you remain humble and realize that everyone has much to learn and has more room to improve. With high self-esteem you not only consider yourself worthwhile, but also understand that everyone around you is equally worthwhile. You neither feel down due to your weaknesses, nor do you feel proud due to your strengths.
One misunderstanding about self-esteem is that you become self-centered and selfish; whereas, in reality, this is completely opposite. A person with high self-esteem is more open, selfless, and accepting others. By having healthy self-esteem you not only care about yourself, but also care about other people around you. Just as you do not let yourself go down, you do not let others go down either. People with high self-esteem help other people and build their confidence level as well.
In order to fully understand and build self-esteem, you need to understand the building blocks of self-esteem. Self-esteem mainly depends upon three building blocks: unconditional worth, unconditional love, and growth. The third one is built upon the first two building blocks.
The first building block, unconditional worth, means that every person has a self worth which is unchangeable. It is not affected by external factors. It neither increases nor decreases by external factors. It does not depend upon the way people treat you, the bad decisions you have made in your life, the money you hold, or the precious items you own etc. Although, our culture and environment teaches us that our self worth depends only on the things we have, and the way people treat us. If everyone around us respects us our self worth will increase and if they don’t our self worth will decrease, which is completely wrong thinking.
We’re also taught that our self worth depends upon the things we hold like the home, car, watch, designer dresses etc. which is again a misconception. It does not depend on how we look either. Self worth is independent of all the bad or good things which happen to us. In short, no matter what happens around, your core self worth remains constant. This is only the wrong way of thinking about it that affects us.
The second building block of self-esteem is unconditional love. Love helps us experience our worth and enjoy the process of growing. Love is a feeling that we experience. It is an attitude that wants what is good for the beloved at any moment. The children with high self-esteem have parents who provide them unconditional love, where those with low self-esteem have parents who do not do so. They either don’t love them or only love them depending upon their achievements.
However, if you’re one of those people whose parents did not provide them unconditional love, and now you have low self-esteem then you can still do something about it. You can forgive your parents realizing they did the best they could with all the knowledge they had. What you can do is love yourself. We can choose to love ourselves any time. This does not mean to be self-centered, rather it means to accept ourselves as who we are and then building upon that thought.
The third building block of self-esteem is growth. Growing is a process and not the destination. Growth is a continuous process. We grow by learning something new every day. By doing and experiencing new things every day. Growing means living your life constructively. This is the step to put love in action. Love for ourselves and others. This is about experiencing satisfaction along with every step.
Just remember your self-esteem and self-worth does not depend upon external factors. In fact, it is unshakable inner core which gives you confidence and moves you in life. It provides you satisfaction and keeps you happy. You can love yourself and others unconditionally to polish your self-esteem and grow your self confidence.