Hallie Condit, MSW, LICSW

Kirkland, Washington

(425) 462 2799


How Is Your Self Esteem?

The development of a positive self-concept, or healthy self-esteem, plays a major role in life success and happiness.

Self-esteem is quite simply how we feel about ourselves and our behavior clearly reflects those feelings. The way we talk about ourselves is very important in everything we do. What we think determines how we feel and how we feel determines how we behave.

A strong positive self-concept allows individuals to open themselves to new opportunities and challenges both personally and professionally. People who lack self-esteem are less willing to move from their safety zone and so miss opportunities in life, love, and success.

We can often place the blame for low self-esteem on people in our past such as our parents, teachers, or other important people. However once we reach adulthood then we need to take responsibility for our own self-concept.

In many ways self-esteem is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those with a positive self-image will constantly reinforce that image with new successes while those with a negative self-image will find new failures to reinforce that image. If your self-esteem needs bolstering then you must find ways to to bolster it.

One way to boost your self-concept is through self-talk. Psycotherapists have found that negative self-talk is behind depression and anxiety. It is important to emphasize to ourselves both positive self-statements and mental pictures. Do this several times every day until it becomes a habit and you do not need to force yourself to imagine a positive self-concept but instead allow it to become a reality.

A second important step is to decide what you can and cannot control. Change and act on the things that are in your control and release the things that are out of your control. You can control your eating and exercise habits but you cannot change your body type. You can control your personal hygiene and appearance but you cannot control whether others find you attractive. You can control how you feel about yourself but you cannot control how others feel about you.

Third, set up a competition you can win. This means only compete to improve yourself not to beat someone else. Constantly setting meaningful, achievable goals for yourself allows you to keep improving yourself and can also build your self-esteem by reinforcing your achievements.

Fourth, become a positive person. When you ponder a decision or change in your life then think of everything that could go right. Emphasize the positives even when something unexpected occurs. Recognize that mistakes are opportunities to try again. Keep the setback in perspective. Most mistakes are not personal tragedies but rather problems you now have the opportunity to solve. Success is often the tail of a string of failed attempts to get it right.

Finally, accept responsibility for yourself. Finding self-confidence requires accepting responsibility for your own happiness and recognizing that you are a product not only of your genetic code and your environment, but of the choices you make. Release the blame for your past and do not dwell on the others who may have contributed to your low self-esteem. That was yesterday. You and you alone are responsible for the person you will be today and tomorrow.

Building your self-esteem is crucial to your success and happiness. If you follow these five steps then you should be able to give your self-esteem a boost.