When you look in the mirror, what do you see? What kind of person looks back at you? Is she loved? Does she have value? Does she see it within herself, or does she wait for others to tell her? Does she believe it when they do?
These are all questions, that if you were to answer honestly, would give you a pretty good picture of how you see yourself. This is called your Self-Image, and it’s the combination of three very important elements of your mental health: Your self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
But why is all this so important?
A healthy and positive perception of ourselves is absolutely critical to a successful life, because it plays not only into a positive mindset, but also mental and physical health. Not to mention how a strong self-image can bolster our resolve for future life difficulties.
So how are you doing on this front? Today we’re going to talk a little about the differences between the three components of self-image, as well as a few things you can do to strengthen yourself in each area. And be sure to take the quiz at the end of this post to see where you stand!
This is perhaps the most simple of the three elements of self-image. It’s essentially just how you see yourself at the core. What you see when you look in the mirror, regardless of any events or life circumstances.
Self-worth centers around the value believe you hold in the world. If you have a strong sense of self-worth, you know you have a purpose, even if you aren’t sure yet of the details. You’re one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable. You’re worthy of people’s time and efforts. You mean something to someone.
As you can see, these are all elements that other people cannot influence. They’re beliefs you hold for yourself, about yourself.
The good (and bad, I suppose) part to consider here, is that for better or for worse, it’s also the most powerful of the three elements. It also influences them greatly. When you’re strong in this area, you feel as if you’re on top of the world. Unstoppable. Able to accomplish anything. But the opposite is true for the other side: if you feel that you don’t hold worth, you’re much more likely to get yourself in to trouble. To hurt those around you and make choices you normally wouldn’t. When you don’t have a strong sense of self-worth, you might also try to (subconsciously or not) sabotage potential opportunities for success.
Your self-worth is largely built up during your childhood. Growing up, if you had loving parents, supportive teachers and loyal friends, you’re probably blessed with a fair amount of self-worth. People with strong ties to religion are also bolstered in this area. But if your childhood was less than ideal, or you don’t practice a specific religion, you might find yourself struggling to feel your innate worth.
The good news is that no matter what your childhood looked like, self-worth is definitely something that you can build up yourself!
Though self-worth is very internal (how you view your innnate spirit), your self-esteem can be very dependent on things that occur outside of yourself – like rejection, for example. Yes, you can, of course, control your reaction to every event, but even a small rejection can feel painful and harm the way you look at yourself. Build up enough of these little hurts, and it can drastically change the way we think, and feel, about yourself.
One of the best ways to strengthen your self-esteem is to surround yourself with supportive people who care about you and are concerned with your welfare. People who appreciate your unique talents and skills, and where you have an opportunity to serve and contribute. Everyone likes to be liked and appreciated, and by surrounding yourself with positive people, you’re increasing your circle of support.
You can also play to your strengths. When you focus on the things you’re good at, you build up your self-esteem by recognizing you have valuable skills that can help contribute to your world. Try not to focus on the things you lack – be grateful for what you have and build on that.
Self-confidence, on the other hand, deals more with how you feel you appear to others. When your self-confidence is high, you don’t worry about people looking at you badly. You say what you mean and you take action without hesitation. You don’t constantly worry about if so and so thinks you’re dressed wrong or if you’ve said the wrong thing. You’re focus driven and results oriented. You go after what you want, knowing the only thing stopping you, is you.
Believe it or not, there are many people who have a ton of self-confidence, and little or no self-worth or self-esteem. These three terms are not interchangeable in the slightest, but developing and strengthening each will help you live vibrantly and blissfully. So how’s that for a positive life?
How do you rate in these three elements? Take the quiz below to find out your Self-Worth, Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence health-meter!
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