By Suzanne E.
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself and
is based on the things you believe about yourself, the things
you say to yourself, and the images you have about yourself. Consciously and
unconsciously you send thoughts and opinions about yourself to
yourself. These thoughts can be accurate and helpful or they can
be false and damaging.
Many of the beliefs you have about yourself were
planted in your mind when you were a child. As a young child you
knew no boundaries, you were not separate from others in the
family, so you absorbed, like a little sponge, all the ways of
your family. You copied the spoken and unspoken beliefs and
patterns modeled to you by parents and family. What was said,
you believed was true. Many things you did not understand, and
thus interpreted with a child’s mind.
As an adult, your self-talk and self-image are
based on your early observations, interpretations, and
experiences in the family. The false beliefs and patterns
absorbed as a young child need to be examined as an adult to
update and correct, especially if you determine you have
self-esteem issues, and most of us do, by the way.
Let us look at a definition of high self-esteem
and then look at 18 concepts related to self-esteem that you may
have missed growing up. Included is the Harrill Self-Esteem
Inventory to help you identify some of your beliefs about
High self-esteem is a feeling
of total acceptance and love for yourself as you are. It is
respecting and valuing yourself as a worthwhile human being. It
is honestly seeing your good and not-so-good points. And it is
taking care of and nurturing yourself so you become all you are
capable of being. High self-esteem is a quiet, comfortable place
of enjoying and accepting who you are.
A high IQ, physical strength, beauty, or
achievements do not insure emotional health.
is healthy to love and nurture yourself before saying yes to
others’ wishes or needs.
Balance giving and receiving.
It is important to
identify and to get your needs met before fulfilling your
boundaries that support you.
You have the right to say no.
You are worthy of love and respect; it is
not based upon what you do, but who you are.
You are of equal
value to all other people, no more or less worthy. Stop comparing yourself to others.
you act bad or make a mistake, you are not a bad person. Separate you
from your behavior.
To feel better about yourself or change
unwanted behavioral patterns, look at the conscious and unconscious needs and guiding beliefs motivating you.
Stop blaming, criticizing, or value-judging
yourself and others. Watch
your “shoulds” and “oughts.”
Be honest with yourself so that you can make
choices that support you, using your heart and your head.
and only you are responsible for your life. Only you can work
through and forgive past hurts.
Say positive, supportive, encouraging things
to yourself with your self-talk. Correct limiting beliefs.
Your attitude determines how well you manage
Self-awareness is important to help you
change and grow. Admitting
what you do not like in yourself opens the door for healing. You are capable of
learning new things to help yourself.
empowers you to know your inner self. Your true self can
direct your life, enabling you
to overcome your conditioning and help you live from a place
of integrity, balance,
amends when you have hurt another. As you grow in loving
and forgiving yourself,
you cannot intentionally hurt another.
and accept your strengths and talents. Use them to grow
into your full-potential self, living a life with meaning and purpose.
you love yourself, you are a mirror to help others love
Healing our self-esteem requires us to create
new guiding beliefs, images of ourselves, and new self-talk to
replace any that are damaging. After you take the following
self-esteem inventory, consider writing on index cards, any
statements you feel will help you rebuild your inner foundation.
Each statement is an affirmation to build self-esteem.
yourself on each with a scale of 0 to 4 based upon your current
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors:
0 = I
never think, feel, or behave this way. 1 = I do less than
half the time. 2 = I do 50% of the time. 3 = I do more than half
the time. 4 = I always think,
feel, or behave this way.
Score SELF-ESTEEM STATEMENTS
_____1. I like and accept myself
right now, even as I grow and evolve.
_____2. I am worthy simply for
who I am, not what I do. I do not have to earn my worthiness.
_____3. I get my needs met
before meeting the wants of others. I balance my needs with
those of my partner and family.
_____4. I easily release
negative feelings when other people blame or criticize me.
_____5. I always tell myself the
truth about what I am feeling.
_____6. I am incomparable and
stop comparing myself with other people.
_____7. I feel of equal value to
other people, regardless of my performance, looks, IQ,
achievements, or possessions
(or lack of them).
_____8. I take responsibility
for my feelings, emotions, thoughts, and actions. I do not give
others credit or blame for how I feel,
think, or what I do.
_____9. I learn and grow from my
mistakes rather than deny them or use them to confirm my
____10. I nurture myself with
kind, supportive self-talk.
____11. I love, respect, and
____12. I accept other people as
they are, even when they do not meet my expectations, or their
behaviors and beliefs are not to my liking.
____13. I am not responsible for
anyone else’s actions, needs, thoughts, moods, or feelings,
only for my own (exception, my own young
____14. I feel my own feelings
and think my own thoughts, even when those around me think or
____15. I am kind to myself and
do not use “shoulds” and “oughts” to put myself down
with value judgments.
____16. I allow others to have
their own interpretation and experience of me and realize I
cannot control their perceptions and opinions of me.
____17. I face my fears and
insecurities, taking appropriate steps to heal and grow.
____18. I forgive myself and
others for making mistakes and being unaware.
____19. I accept responsibility
for my perceptions of others and for my response to them.
____20. I do not dominate others
or allow others to dominate me.
____21. I am my own authority. I make decisions with
the intention of furthering my own and others’ best interests.
____22. I find meaning and have
purpose in my life.
____23. I balance giving and
receiving in my life. I have good boundaries with others.
____24. I am responsible for
changing what I do not like in my life.
____25. I choose to love and
respect all human beings regardless of their beliefs and
actions. I can love others without having an active relationship with
This is not a test or a
precise measure of self-esteem. It identifies beliefs, feelings,
and behaviors that affect low self-esteem.
Happiness, self-empowerment, satisfaction in
work, good relationships, and success are all built on a
foundation of healthy self-esteem. High self-esteem is
characterized by congruence between inner states (beliefs,
feelings, attitudes) and outer states (behaviors, relationships,
health). A person with high self-esteem is self-aware, takes
responsibility for life choices by being willing to pay
consequences both good and bad, and is actualizing her/his
potential. S/he also lives from a place of deep peace with the
intention of honoring and respecting self and all others.