Many people who suffer from low self–esteem have experienced or have been exposed to trauma. Children of abuse and trauma are more likely to suffer physical and mental maladies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been studying trauma and its effect on health and wellness. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) have been linked to anxiety, depression, suicide, self–harm, and substance abuse. If assistance is not introduced early in life children of abuse and neglect may grow into adults whom continue to suffer. The inability to change circumstances may result in negative choices and behaviors, leading to a vicious cycle of victimization.
If you are suffering from low self–esteem, understand it will take time to rebuild this part of yourself. Consistently evaluate self–perceptions and belief systems. Do you spend a lot of time with negative people? Do you ruminate over past experiences as a defense? Do you use your pain as an excuse not to experience fulfilling relationships with people, or yourself?
Positive changes will require honesty about the relationship you have with yourself, and the people around you. There's no one way to move through this without some uncomfortable revelations, but there are people who can support you through the process. Releasing past beliefs and changing your inner dialogue takes time, so allow yourself lots of patience and kindness. Like a snake shedding its skin, you've outgrown the layer of low self–esteem, but what's underneath will be vibrant and strong.
When building self–esteem, remember to reach out for professional assistance when necessary. If you have a faith, seek support from it. If you have friends or family you trust, tell them you're moving through change, and you would like their support. People around you may object to your newfound interest in self–improvement, as many people are adverse to change. However, make your emotional growth a priority. Are you willing to put your growth on hold for other people? If the answer is no, go and grow!
As you begin building your self–esteem, take a moment to address the following aspects of your life, and where you can begin to make improvements.
Self–reflection is key when building your self–esteem. This requires a lot of honesty about your past but also hope for building your future. Notice if you're unable to sit with yourself without distraction, or if you're constantly attempting to stay “busy.” These behaviors can keep you from working on creating the best version of yourself. When we are balanced and comfortable in our own space and skin, we seek less from outside influences, and rely more on our own sourced resilience. Seek out guidance from healthcare professionals when needed, and incorporate self–care tools such as massage, forest bathing, and reading to expand your knowledge.
Integrity, humility, gratitude, and authenticity ( IHGA ) are characteristics of high self–esteem, and the foundation for building the best version of yourself. Building IHGA better prepares you for difficulties so you are able to better manage future difficulties. Assess how important each of these traits have been in your life and look to see how you can improve upon each slowly and individually.
Forgiveness is essential in building self–esteem, and key to its success. You may never receive an apology from those whom have harmed you. However, now that you've decided to cultivate your best self you can move to a place of forgiveness. Remember, this is a forgiveness of others and self and will take time and patience.
There will always be difficult moments in life, but as you gain more self–esteem you will understand these difficult moments are opportunities for you to learn and grow. Life circumstances may still trigger insecurities and fear. However, with higher self–esteem you will be able to pull from your new foundation and understand what you're experiencing is part of the mystery of life unfolding.
As you begin to believe in yourself you will notice you're able to move through difficulty easier. When you experience roadblocks, you will find ways to get around those blocks. There will be more flow of positivity, and you'll find more opportunities to feel thankful for what you have and who you are. You will discover a new sense of pride in who you've become… forgoing the defense of ego for authenticity. Stay courageous and kind while moving into the next phase of your personal journey, and don't forget to celebrate your newfound confidence!
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact your local mental health crisis center for immediate assistance.