Self-esteem is having confidence in one’s own abilities, skills, talents, appearance, beliefs, emotions and behaviors, etc. Self-esteem is a contradictory concept to the South Asian culture by the very nature that it focuses on the self as opposed to the group. Because of this, many South Asians are reluctant to address low self-esteem, mistaking that for being arrogant or selfish.
Instead, self-esteem should be viewed as a a means to achieving positive mental health in the individual which in turn enhances group harmony by ensuring that all group members are happy and healthy. In addition, positive self-esteem helps protect against other emotional health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression and also promotes healthy relationships.
Here are some quick tips on how to improve self-esteem:
1. Avoid minimizing your emotions, accomplishments and skills. Give yourself credit for your achievements and believe that you deserve the emotions that you feel.
2. Monitor your thought processes when you feel bad about yourself. Replace negative self-talk such as
I didn’t deserve this gift” with healthy self-talk: “My friend is appreciating our friendship with this gift and I am a good friend who deserves that appreciation”. (Read more about self-esteem and thought processes.)
3. Avoid people who make you feel insecure or perpetuate your self-doubt. Associate yourself with positive, healthy people.
4. Identify your positive qualities and keep that list with you to glance at anytime you start to feel negatively about yourself.
5. Think back to the last time you made a mistake and force yourself to name 5 things that went right in that situation. People with low self-esteem tend to be more negative and this will help you think more positively.
6. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Physical movement and diet affect mood and while watching an extra hour of TV or eating one more slice of cake makes us feel better in the short run but exacerbates low self-esteem
7. Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
8. Face your fear. Doing something that you have been avoiding or that brings high anxiety can help you see your strengths and significantly increases self-esteem.
9. Learn to accept compliments instead of dismissing them as untrue or exaggerations. (Read more about accepting compliments).
10. For long-term results, see a counselor who can help you identify the source of your low self-esteem. Click here for South Asian service providers in your area.
People with low self-esteem are more likely to be anxious, depressed, and stressed are far more likely to be in abusive relationships. Increase your self-esteem and you will see an positive changes in your mood, all of your relationships and an increase in productivity at home and work.
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