According to some studies, us Brits rank one of the lowest in self-esteem (especially relating to body image). I find that pretty concerning and one can only assume that therefore our emotional well being must be pretty low down too!
Now, there’s not a lot we can do about the weather which is clearly a factor, but what other things influence our self-esteem and therefore well being? Here are a few:
- Genetics – Those with a sunny disposition are more likely to evaluate things (including themselves) with a more positive outlook.
- Childhood experiences – E.g. Receiving validation and praise through school achievements, rewarding work, friendships and family. On the flip-slide; failure, rejection and a series of set backs.
- Other people’s perception of you – Everybody wants to be liked. The level of sensitivity to this varies greatly between individuals. Awaiting feedback often causes self-esteem to dip, whether that’s critique/ results from a piece of work, or the number of ‘likes’ on a social post.
Kristen Lindquist is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina, and studies the nature of emotion and how we experience and perceive them in daily life. She shares that the ability negative words have to hurt, given either by yourself or another person, is known as ‘self-concept.’ Therefore, the ability both you and others have to influence your self-esteem depend on the qualities you value in yourself. These qualities could include intellect, character, appearance or certain talents. Learning what this factor is for you, and also for other people, will make a big difference towards discovering the influence on self-esteem. Whether you want to help yourself or somebody else, strengthening self-esteem is certainly possible, with language being a huge contributor.
Do you have a tendency to criticize yourself? If so, stop now – it does more damage than you may think! Become more aware of the language you use to talk about yourself, value yourself and make a conscious decision to pay yourself compliments… It’s not a quick process to alter your self-concept but changing the way you talk about yourself will in time change the way you feel about yourself.