SELF-ESTEEM is, how much you value yourself and how important you think you are. It's how you see yourself and feel about your achievements. It isn't bragging about how great you are. It's more like quietly knowing that you're worth a lot (priceless, in fact!). It's not about thinking you're perfect - because nobody is - but knowing that you're worthy of being loved and accepted.
You did badly in the Math's test and now that the marks have been read out, you are distinctly uncomfortable. Should you go home? Dad is going to throw a fit, especially because he spent so much time trying to explain the concepts to you.
`What is wrong with me?'
` Why is it that everyone else seems to score so well?'
`Am I dumb?'
`There must be something... '
If questions like these are worrying you right now, stop! If you do not come out of this loop, you might do yourself serious harm. If allowed to linger, such questions add to the miserable sense of low self-esteem and can cause irreparable harm. Self-flagellation or kicking yourself for the failure is okay only to a limited extent. Anything beyond a couple of hours would need to be looked into.
After all what is this `self-esteem' we keep harping on?
Self-esteem is how you value yourself and how you feel about your achievements. It is not about bragging how great you are, but actually quietly being sure of yourself and your own value. You experience low self- esteem when your value plunges in your own eyes---in fact, you start feeling sorry for yourself and all that you are. Though an abstract feeling, low self- esteem can affect every part of your being.
Talk about it
If you are feeling low, seek out a good friend or a counsellor or someone whose judgement you can trust. Unburden yourself to a sympathetic listener. If you have no such person, as a last resort, you could talk to the many help lines that have been started to help the depressive.
"Depressive"? Did I say?
Yes, that is what happens if you cannot come out of this kind of a feeling. You begin to lose sleep, appetite and a general sense of apathy engulfs you. Because, poor self-esteem grows to such an extent that you begin to believe that there is actually something wrong with you.
Get a change of scene
A friend can help you get out of it by talking and discussing your problem. Maybe you need to go out for a drive, a change of scene; maybe you should go and see a movie with friends. Avoid being alone in your misery.
The macho male ego does not allow you to seek help. Because you are considered a `sissy' if you ask for help. Women manage to seek help much quicker than men do. By the same parameters, they are quicker to give help also. So, seek out a woman friend, she will probably understand you better.
If you find that you are still not able to get out of it, then seek some professional help. Don't ignore it!
What can happen?
Just like good self-esteem props you up and sees you through difficult times, poor self-esteem can bog you down in a quagmire of depression.
Finally, more than anyone else, you need to help yourself. Here is how:
Accept yourself with all your faults look at the mirror and say `I love me, my hair, my colour and (whatever else you dislike about yourself)'
Compliment yourself everyday find out something nice to do for others. "I helped Mini do her English project; without my help she would not have scored well". This also means that you go out of your way to help others and thus make yourself a loved person
You may not look great, and your skin may be terrible or your weight over the moon, but there must be something you are good at. Explore your strengths---you might be brilliant at Maths or Accounts. Help others and it will help you boost your own self-esteem
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