When you think of a person who always speaks highly of others, you might be a tad curious about whether they have low or high self-esteem. While you might argue that speaking positively about others means regarding yourself in such high esteem that you’re secure in other people’s accomplishments or excellence.
Contrarily, you might believe that a person who speaks well of others is a people-pleaser with low self-esteem. Granted, both perspectives are valid. One behavior or trait is not a strong self-esteem indicator. However, with that being said, lets’ delve into a few qualities to consider as potential high self-esteem signs.
What Is Self-Esteem?
It’s a no-brainer that we all want to achieve high self-esteem. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the definition of self-esteem and what it encompasses. For starters, it includes self-respect and self-admiration. According to the American Psychological Association, self-esteem is the degree to which the characteristics and qualities contained in the concept of oneself are believed to be positive. It’s worth keeping in mind that high self-esteem goes beyond self-love. It includes affording you respect, love, dignity, and value.
Additionally, positive self-esteem means believing in your autonomy to things of your accord and believing in your capability in learning, achieving, and contributing to the world.
High self-esteem signs include the firm belief that your opinions, ideas, and feelings have worth. Therefore, it’s how you feel about yourself externally and, more importantly, internally and how you relate to others.
High self-esteem is tied to how you feel others value, view, or treat you. That’s why those in abusive situations who have experienced trauma, more so in their childhood and formative years, have a higher likelihood of having low self-esteem in their adulthood.
Self-esteem isn’t based solely on a set of thoughts or one independent thought or experience. It constitutes your perspective of things that define you as an individual, ranging from your experiences, accomplishments, physical body, capabilities, relationships, talents, background, and personality to others people’s perception of you.
Each person might emphasize particular areas that affect self-esteem, such as talents, accomplishments or lack thereof, looks, status, money, and relationships, all of which form your self-image and how you feel about it.
The Risks of Low Self-Esteem
As one of the elements of mental health, self-esteem exists on a spectrum. Like everything else in life, your self-image is susceptible to evolve with growth and in response to major life events.
It’s also true that people gravitate towards a particular set-point of self-esteem that can be persistent, whether low, high, or somewhere in the middle. Decision-making, social interactions, life gratification, and emotional regulation are all affected by lower self-esteem.
People with high self-esteem can shake off unfavorable events, negative energy, and judgments directed at them. Concurrently, with low self-esteem, you’re more likely to take rejection or criticism to heart and assume other people’s problems are about you.
You’re more likely to be reactive to personal interactions and day-to-day challenges. You’re also less likely to regulate your emotions, have a positive outlook on life, adapt to change, and healthily deal with the setbacks life throws at you.
Typically, low self-esteem implies that small things become blown out of proportion. That means small issues seem insurmountable, further ratcheting down self-regard.
Susceptibility to Depression
The connection between mental health conditions and low self-esteem is particularly powerful. While you may not realize it, low self-esteem results in depression instead of vice versa.
Therefore, depression doesn’t cause low self-regard. Instead, thinking lowly of yourself makes you more susceptible to depression. High self-esteem safeguards you against mental conditions, particularly because of excellent coping skills, improved hopefulness, and resiliency due to affirmative and positive self-talk.
Low self-esteem begets feeling awful about yourself, hindering you from living a fulfilling life, achieving your goals, and cultivating healthy relationships. That leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, increased stress, and suicidal thoughts. People with low self-esteem typically have social anxiety disorder and social phobias such as agoraphobia.
Low Self-Esteem vs. Feeling Bummed
While it’s inherent in human nature to feel bummed when negative experiences occur, low self-esteem goes beyond having a bad day or a bad mood. These unpleasant feelings fizzle out with time, and negative life experiences don’t harm their self-worth for those with high self-esteem.
Instead, low self-esteem is a significant negative self-image that remains with you for most of your life regardless of the negative and positive life events. Nevertheless, the level of low self-worth varies from one person to another.
Your level of self-worth might be a function of the natural differences in personality types and impact genetics. Alternatively, it can be a response to life circumstances, upbringing, and peers. Nevertheless, when you have low self-esteem, it makes you susceptible to the myriad of mental health challenges mentioned earlier.
Can You Have Excessive Self-Esteem?
An overly-enhanced or impractical self-concept might be as unhealthy as a negative one. Nevertheless, it’s essential to remember that there’s a difference between arrogance and high self-esteem. The latter isn’t about being self-centered, egotistical, infallibility, or having a superiority complex.
High Self-Esteem Signs
We’ve rounded up the signs of positive self-esteem.
1. Inviting Intimacy
It’s worth noting that intimacy has nothing to do with the sexual aspect. Instead, it entails sharing the most authentic side of you with others. Low self-esteem makes you feel overly vulnerable to let people in emotionally due to the fear of being hurt or disappointed. However, if you have high self-esteem, you understand that it’s okay for people to see your authenticity. Although a multitude of people with a low sense of self-worth are in the fierce pursuit of relationships, true intimacy often lacks.
2. Actively Seeking Your Passion
Most people stay in toxic work environments or careers that don’t align with their passions. While some feel stuck, others have limited options due to their circumstances. For each person trapped in a job they dislike, there are a dozen more people who remain in unsatisfying careers through utter inertia. One of the high self esteem signs is following your passion, chasing your dreams, and reaching for the stars without letting fear hold you back,
3. Valuing Honesty
If you have low self-esteem, you self-guard with dishonesty due to the irrational consequences of standing in your truth. Having high self-esteem means you’re secure enough to handle the consequences of being honest, depending on the issue at hand.
Keep in mind that self-esteem and dishonesty are like water and oil. They don’t mix. When you have integrity, honesty is a no-brainer and comes easy. That’s a trait of positive self-esteem.
4. Being Responsible for the Quality of Your Life
One of the high self-esteem signs is the internal locus of control. That means you believe in your ability to influence the character and course of your life. The converse is the external locus of control. It describes life as a lottery whereby you get hit by a bus, fall ill, face retrenchment, and other unpleasant circumstances beyond your control.
Let’s face it. Life can be unfair, and bad things happen to undeserving people through no fault of theirs. However, incorporating a morning routine that will better your mental health, developing better work habits, exercising for your physical health, and cutting out toxic people from your life are a few things you can do to take charge of your life.
5. Taking Care of Your Physical Health
The necessary concern for your physical wellbeing is one of the high self-esteem signs because it stems from high self-worth. Mistreatment or self-neglect shows the lack of responsibility for your life.
As they say, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Therefore, it’s not always possible to tell whether or not a person is taking care of their physical wellbeing at first glance. After all, those who seem healthy might be neglecting their bodies.
Furthermore, a person who doesn’t meet the stereotypic standards for a healthy appearance might be diligent in taking care of their physical health.
6. Being Fond of Children
Tying the likeness or dislike for children to self-esteem is controversial and complex. Granted, those who are not fond of kids might be partial to peace and quiet, hygiene, and logic. However, other people may not gravitate towards children because it mirrors the vulnerable and weak aspects they would rather keep buried. These people were typically treated with minimal empathy or the lack thereof in their childhood.
In turn, they grew up believing that children don’t matter, they’re annoying, and other negative connotations. The lack of self-value means you don’t embrace all parts of yourself, including the wounded inner child.
7. Steering Clear of Self-Destructive Behaviors
You can self-destruct in many ways, such as making impulsive decisions with adverse repercussions, substance abuse, reckless driving, and toxic relationships. One of the tell-tale high self esteem signs is the ability to steer clear of self-destructive behaviors.
If you have positive self-esteem, you understand that inviting trouble into your life only does more harm than good. If you have low self-esteem, you might have uttered phrases or thoughts such as, ‘nobody cares,’ ‘I don’t care anymore,’ ‘I’m not worth saving anymore,’ have come to mind.
8. Taking Measured Risks
Positive self-esteem yearns for success because it’s a natural state for anyone with a good outlook on life and others. It’s inevitable for success to be risk-free. However, with high self-esteem, you have the burning desire to progress even on unchartered waters when the alternative is to remain stagnant.
Your integrity demands you to strive forward at a calm and steady pace to achieve your goals even when the outcome is uncertain. Moreover, you know that the biggest regret in life isn’t in the things that didn’t go as planned but rather those you never tried.
9. Uplifting Others
High self esteem is one of the greatest gifts to yourself and others. You don’t have to expend your energy defending yourself from others’ inadequate perceptions of you.
Additionally, you don’t need to belittle others to make yourself feel better. When you’re genuinely happy, you want others to experience the same level of happiness, if not more. Uplifting others comes naturally when you value your opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
Cultivating High Self-Esteem
It’s no easy feat but possible and within your capability. Cultivating high self esteem is a game-changer. Real change can begin once you understand that your self-esteem has more to do with your mindset and patterns than your life experiences. It’s about what you feel and think when observing your future potential, body, skills, and accomplishments.
Elevating your self-esteem requires strength, determination, and effort but is worth it in the long run. You’ll need to be conscious about countering the negative thoughts and feelings that crop up about yourself and counter them with positive ones.
Additionally, you can extend grace to yourself by letting go of the things beyond your control and focusing more on those you can and, more importantly, are willing to change.
In addition to valuing yourself and having self-worth, you understand that you deserve self-care. It plays a major role in contributing to being intentional about engaging in activities that elevate your self-esteem. It’s a no-brainer that self-care can be an uphill battle if you don’t hold yourself to a high standard.
Self-forgiveness for past mistakes plays a key role in boosting your self-esteem because it boils down to self-love and acceptance for the things that make you unique. A few strategies that can help you view yourself in a more positive light are:
If your self-esteem is low, you might notice yourself deflecting compliments or praise. Instead, learn to hear them and accept them with gratitude and a smile.
Strive to accept and find your worth in who you are as a person rather than what you have. To do so, reflect on the traits that make you unique, valued, and add happiness.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be instrumental in helping you get to the root cause of your low self-esteem and arm you with the needed tools to slowly build a positive self-image and eliminate negative self-talk.
A Gratitude Journal
Spend a few minutes every morning to pen down a few things you love about yourself, your accomplishments, positive traits that make you unique, and anything else you’d like to express gratitude for.
The good news is that these high self esteem signs are mutually reinforcing. With consistent positive self-talk, healthy habits, and counteracting negative thoughts with uplifting ones, you’ll notice your self esteem issues improving tremendously.