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Good self-esteem means positive realism about one’s own opportunities and limitations. It does not mean seeing oneself in overly positive light or elevating oneself above others. It is a positive, but truthful assessment of yourself.

Strong self-esteem develops in childhood and adolescence through positive growth experiences. Approval, care, and love from parents or other important adults support the development of good self-esteem. Self-esteem can be strengthened later in life and self-esteem is often different at different stages of life. Good self-esteem makes life easier, but low self-esteem does not mean failure in life. You can learn how to get along with weak self-esteem and it can also be improved.

Good self-esteem is the feeling of being good at many things: a person trusts and values ​​himself and views his life important and unique. At the same time, however, he also acknowledges and accepts his weaknesses. Good self-esteem also involves the ability to value other people.

To develop your self-esteem, you need to get to know yourself properly, because good self-knowledge is the foundation of a strong self-esteem. For example, you can write down things you are good at and would like to develop further. After listing, you may want to consider when a feature requiring development could be useful. For example, can tenderness sometimes be tactful? It is also helpful for your self-esteem to consider whether your own perception of yourself is true. Are you really what you believe to be?

What kind of thoughts and beliefs do you have about yourself? For example, if you find yourself thinking and talking to yourself often in a negative tone, “I can´t do this, I’m bad”, learn to notice these thoughts. Try to question them and find a more realistic way of seeing yourself and talking to yourself.  You can easily either discourage or encourage yourself with your thoughts.  Learn how to speak as nicely to yourself as you would to your best friend.

Being compassionate towards other people also helps you to be compassionate towards yourself. Self-compassion is therefore an important and empowering skill that you can practice. On the other hand, it is also important to be surrounded by people from whom you gain approval and encouragement in order to strengthen your self-esteem. Do the people around you give you energy or do they do the opposite?

It also matters how you deal with adversity when it comes to strengthening your self-esteem. In difficult times, it’s worth focusing on what’s good in life right now and what’s been good in the past. What is good in this moment? What has been good in life? Every cloud has its silver lining and the ability to see this can carry you over the hard times and give you more strength and belief in yourself.

References:
Keltikangas-Järvinen, L.(1994). Hyvä itsetunto. Porvoo: Werner-Söderstöm
Mruk, C. (2013). Self-Esteem and Positive Psychology. Research, Theory and Practice. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Vilhelmiina Välimäki is a Finnish psychologist, who moved to Malta 2018 and has been slowly but surely adjusting to the Maltese environment and culture. She works at Willingness as a Clinical Psychologist and she is specialised in offering support to individuals from different age groups, couples and families.  You can contact her on vilhelmiina@willingness.com.mt or by calling us on 79291817