Due to the increase of mental health illnesses, it is appropriate to explore this sensitive topic of self-esteem. What is self-esteem? When others think about how they are viewed in society, it may develop a sense of low self-worth. Where is our true self-esteem pulled from? And how can we rebuild ourselves to feel worthy and high praise of self?
Let’s explore the origin of self-esteem. Let’s explore how generations before us dealt with such a unique topic.
What is Self-esteem?
According to author Kendra Cherry, self-esteem is defined as a person’s overall sense of worth or value of self. In other words, it is the self-concept of how we view ourselves. She continues to discuss the relation of self-esteem to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow describes self-esteem as a basic human need. He further explains self-esteem to be the need for self-respect and in return the need for respect from others.
The Self-esteem Movement:
According to author Stephen Ward, over one hundred years ago, self-esteem was just a concept and now it has emerged into a truth telling experience of the human being.
According to article writer Carol Craig, in the1960s, Nathaniel Branden was a devoted follower of the noted intellectual father of the self-esteem movement, Ayn Rand. Branden and his team dived into the topic of self-esteem and developed exercises that are used in some school systems to help boost self-esteem even today. He helped create curriculum and programs to address this problem and it is still implemented in schools and incorporated in counseling programs as well.
Self Esteem and Child Discipline:
In the 1910s, the Children’s Bureau developed statistical information urging parents to form a strict schedule with their infants and to not play with their children. In the 1920s, societal influence was to reward good behavior and punish bad. In the 1930s, child disciplining factors began facing challenging beliefs. Benjamin Spock published the infamous book, Baby and Childcare, which taught parents to use their own instincts when disciplining their children. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, James Dobson, American Evangelical Christian author published a book encouraging parents to take a biblical approach which encourages spanking.
With all of this being said, writer Peter Stems states that when children have faced severe punishment from their parents, it has shown to be extremely linked to low self-esteem. During a study, Stems states that children who were shown more experiences with love and encouragement from their parents had healthy self-esteems and self-worth.
Low self-esteem is not just a mental health issue; it can be a result of several social and environmental factors. If you have recently lost your job or had a death in your family, you can feel a loss of self. Today, self-esteem has been widely researched and there are skills that one can learn in order to address their issue.
Some key factors to recognize in others or yourself is that you may feel more sensitive to certain remarks, withdrawal, fatigue, tiredness, and even physical symptoms such as headaches or migraines. Noticing these beginning signs can help prevent the low self-esteem from developing into anxiety or depression.
If you are struggling with low self-esteem, know that you are not alone. You may feel that it is hopeless and you want to give up. But please don’t give up the fight; it does get better.
Some things that you can do to help rebuild your self-esteem are:
- · Changing your attitude: Sometimes all it takes it just turning the mental switch from negative to positive. If you feel like you are becoming a Debbie Downer, then reevaluate the thoughts that you have. Write them down and change them to a positive thought.
- · Know who you are: You define yourself — no one else does. Get in touch with yourself and get to know yourself. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do because it requires you to really get quiet and shut out all the noise. Try meditating or yoga because they have a calming effect that makes you look within and really embrace your true self.
- · Evaluate Diet/Exercise: Do you ever spend a weekend or vacation totally vegging out? When you get back home or Monday hits – you are totally exhausted and fatigued. That means your body wants you to get back on track. Your body yearns to be treated in a healthy manner. When you treat yourself better on the outside, you will want to do the same on the inside.
A Short History of Self-esteem; Carol Craig
Filling the World with Self-esteem: A social history of truth making; Stephen Ward
Self-esteem; Peter Stems
Self-esteem; Kendra Cherry