We all have a clear image of who we are, what we look like, and what our strengths and weaknesses might be. This image starts at a very young age and changes as we grow old; it’s based on our environment and the things we experience in life. All of these factors play a role in our self-esteem.

Authority figures can have an impact on the way we think about ourselves, especially at a young age. If parents and/or teachers discourage children rather than praise them, it can be detrimental to their self-esteem in the long run. Developing a good sense of self-worth as they grow up will be harder.

Although people criticize, unfortunately, some people also have an “inner critic”, a voice inside their head that constantly tells them that they aren’t good enough at whatever they do. Listening to their “inner critic” will hurt themselves more because they are putting themselves down. Sadly, they don’t even realize to what extent they’re belittling themselves because they frequently do it. Possessing little self-regard can lead people to become depressed, to fall short of their potential, or to tolerate abusive situations and relationships.

On the other hand, people with high self-esteem have better relationships, achieve goals and solve problems easily because they are confident. They are also the most likely to do well in school and at work. Having a positive image of ourselves allows us to accept ourselves with and without flaws. How we view and feel about ourselves can impact the way we live.

Self-esteem is based on positive and negative life experiences. It encompasses our belief system and emotional state; the way we judge ourselves and feel judged by others. Holding negative beliefs about ourselves lowers our resilience and ability to cope with the stresses of life. This can place anyone at a higher risk of developing mental health problems such as eating disorders, depression or social phobia, which are closely related to your mood and self-belief.

If you are experiencing some self-esteem problems here are some ways that might help you improve it:

  1. Stop focusing on your flaws and start pointing out the things you like about yourself.
  2. Don’t be a perfectionist. Instead of holding yourself back with thoughts of “I can’t do this because of that” think about what you’re good at, and ignore the perfectionist in the back of your mind.
  3. Be compassionate and forgive yourself for making mistakes. It is part of the learning process, so embrace your mistakes and learn from them.
  4. Start loving yourself. If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your life or your person and it can be changed, then do it. But if it’s something that you can’t change, start loving yourself the way you are.
  5. Set attainable goals. Think about what you’d like to accomplish and set a plan in motion. Keep track of your progress and congratulate yourself every so often for getting closer and closer to your goal.
  6. Be satisfied with your thoughts and ideas. Don’t be afraid to share them because your opinion matters just like everyone else’s.
  7. Have fun and enjoy the time you spend with others.

Consider these tips next time you put yourself down. Remember, it takes time to develop a high self-esteem, but once you build it, the sky’s the limit!