Self esteem can be defined as the worth a person places upon himself. It is the value a person attaches to himself. Sometimes, the same person may have high self esteem in certain areas of his life, while a low self esteem in others. For instance, a successful corporate executive, who has reached the peaks of his career within a few years time, may have high self esteem, as far as his work is concerned. However, if he has a series of failed relationships behind him, he can have low self esteem in his personal life. In the latter scenario, he might consider himself a failure in building and maintaining relationships.
There have been many studies done in the past, which have linked self esteem to depression. The conclusions of some have been that it is low self esteem which leads to depression, a condition characterized by feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and despondency. Both these conditions are related in the sense that they develop almost identical thinking patterns in the people suffering from them. Also, it is often seen that people who are less extroverted, conscientious and agreeable and who are more neurotic, are much more likely to develop these two conditions. The following MissionSelf article further throws light on both these conditions. Have a look...
Let's start with knowing the physical and emotional symptoms of low self esteem. Here is a list of some of the prominent ones:
- Lack of confidence
- Social withdrawal
- Negative thinking
- Pessimistic view of the future
- Treating oneself badly, such as by indulging in overeating or remaining in abusive relationships
- Lack of social skills
- Inability to maintain relationships
- Hypersensitivity and frequently changing emotions
- Reduced social conformity
- Lack of trust on oneself
- Low expectations from people and life in general
Next, we move on to look at the signs and symptoms of depression.
- Feeling low and sad all the time
- Crying for no reason
- Having no hope for the future
- Feeling tired, mentally as well as physically
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of sleep, restless and bad dreams
- Overeating or under eating
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of interest in activities, things and people
- Low self-esteem
- Avoiding feelings
Depression is a medical condition, which almost always requires medication and counseling. Self-esteem on the other hand, can be raised, with a few self-measures on the part of the person. As depression is a symptom of low self-esteem, some of these measures, may actually contribute to treating depression as well.
Exercising everyday, for about half an hour, not only improves upon the physical health, but mentally relaxes and rejuvenates a person too. Researches have shown that exercising releases endorphins into the blood stream, which act as mood enhancers, thus relieving a person of stress and depression.
People with low self esteem often are introverted and socialize less. So, by making an effort to open up, by socializing with old friends and making a few new ones, and by trying to maintain and build upon relationships, a person can break many self-created barriers. All these measures can contribute immensely to building one's self esteem.
By making positive affirmations to oneself, such as "I am successful", "I am respected", "I look good", a person can beat the negative thoughts that cross his mind. Replacing negativity with positivity and pessimism with optimism, a person can overcome low self esteem issues to a large extent.
Besides these, there are a number of things that a person can do to improve self esteem and beat depression, such as, caring for oneself, taking a healthy, balanced diet, getting involved in some interesting hobbies and activities, being organized and completing the job at hand as early as possible without any procrastination. Improving one's surroundings by redecorating one's house, dressing up well, learning something new and rewarding oneself for every small and big achievement in life, go a long way in improving one's self esteem.
People with low self esteem harbor negative thoughts, such as, they are not good enough, they are not likable and that bad things are going to happen to them. It is the accumulation of these very negative thoughts which ultimately leads to anxiety and depression. And as mentioned earlier, depression is a medical condition, which can only be treated through therapy, counseling and medication. So, as soon as its symptoms become apparent, a doctor should be contacted.