Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Feel good about yourself, that is what matters

Published:Sunday | December 25, 2016 | 12:00 AMPaul Messam

When you observe yourself in the mirror, do you see a person you like? Do you see someone with talents and good qualities you appreciate and whose shortcomings you have learned to appreciate? To put it plainly, how do you see yourself? Are you a good student? Do you believe you are successful? How do you relate to your peers? To answer these questions, the concept of self-esteem comes into sharp focus.

Self-esteem is the bedrock of a positive attitude towards living. It is important as it affects how you think, act, and even how you relate to other persons. It affects your potential to be successful. Low self-esteem means poor confidence. It also causes negative thoughts, which means that you are likely to give up easily rather than face the challenges. Self-esteem has a direct correlation with your happiness and well-being. Studies have shown that people with self-confidence and good self-esteem tend to be happier, in general. With high self-esteem it means that you are confident, happy, highly motivated, and have the right attitude to success.

Self-esteem is how a person feels about himself or herself. Your self-esteem is threatened when someone puts you down or criticises you destructively. Nathaniel Brandon, a noted writer on the subject, posits that self-esteem is the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. He notes that positive self-esteem is the immune system of the spirit, which helps an individual face life problems and be resilient from adversity.

Therefore self-esteem is extremely essential during those teenage years. "Teenage years are particularly critical for cultivating positive self-esteem." says Dr Les Parrot. In his book Helping Your Struggling Teenager, it has been referred to as the single most significant key to behaviour and the mainspring that launches every child for success or failure in living.

Racquel McCarthy, counselling psychologist, has these recommendations:

1. Think positively and practically. It will bring positive outcomes.

2. Keep the mind filled with things that elevate one's persona. If you look at negative things, your mind will be cluttered with garbage.

3. Practise complimenting other individuals but not in a flattery way.

4. Examine carefully what you have been doing and what you need to do and try again.

5. Have faith in the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

6. Look at your strengths and weaknesses. Do not dwell on your weaknesses, but celebrate your strengths. Focus on your achievements.

7. Learn to forgive yourself and hold no grudges against anyone.

8. Do not be overly defensive without questioning

9. Be open in communicating your needs.

10. Focus on who you are and what you like about yourself.

11. Smile as you learn relaxation skills.




For Realla Benguche, 17-year-old student of St Andrew High School for Girls, keeping a positive attitude comes from being humble.

"I do not like to say no, and when I say yes, it helps me to step out, improve my speaking, and, by extension, [become] a bit more confident," she said.

Charles Riley once said that true humility, not pride, is the biblical counterpart of positive self-esteem. Benguche explains that humility is based upon self-love not self negation and owes its affirmation to God's unconditional regard for humankind.

"I do like to do drama and you have to have confidence for that," says Kyle Exell, first-form student at Ardenne High School. "I get to express myself how I want to, and so I am having fun while being disciplined at the same time."

Exell says that she is not afraid to ask questions, and can speak to a large audience without being shy or afraid.

Here are some tips given by Dr Valerie Freckleton, consultant psychologist, who reminds us to:

1. Find the time to do things that make use of your own talents and abilities.

2. Dress appropriately in clothes that make you feel and look splendid.

3. Reward yourself and find some time to spend with individuals who will make you feel good about yourself.

4. Have a sense of humour: It can keep minor situations from becoming serious problems. Do not take things too seriously, as if there is no tomorrow. Look for the humorous side of things and the brighter side of life.

- The author is a guidance counsellor, author, and a motivational speaker.