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News & Events

2020 emotional wellness inventory: boosting self-esteem

Topic: News


Continuing the theme for 2020, the year of emotional wellness, let’s address self-esteem. Webster defines self-esteem as “a reasonable or justifiable sense of one’s worth or importance.” It’s more than just liking yourself and it’s certainly not arrogance or narcissism.


Having healthy confidence in your value directly links to all aspects in life, good relationships, purpose, satisfaction, and achievement. Possessing low self-esteem makes us more vulnerable to dealing with failures, disappointments and those psychological “wounds” in daily life, big and small.

It is also a way of improving your mental health. In fact, for those with existing mental health struggles, such as severe depression and anxiety, boosting self-esteem can increase feelings of worth and help manage feelings of sadness or a lack of purpose.

Building self-esteem in children

It’s no surprise that healthy self-esteem begins in early child development and that parents have the greatest influence on a child’s view of himself/herself. Children who have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses are better able to handle conflicts and peer pressure. While those with low self-esteem are prone to being overly critical of themselves, problem-solving skills and places them at higher risk for mental health issues.

Acknowledging small achievements and giving praise for effort rather than the outcome will help build self-confidence in children. Set age-appropriate boundaries with clear expectations and consequences. This directs a child’s decision-making skills and a sense of security. Set a healthy example by not criticizing yourself and your abilities.

Steps to boost your self-esteem

Understand that self-esteem is a process. While it takes shape in childhood, it’s something that changes throughout our life depending on many factors such as especially difficult or challenging life events. Think of self-esteem as a muscle, something everyone can develop and improve at any time with benefits that are considerable. Take inventory and make these recommendations a habit.

Quit the negative self-talk. Criticism from others can be difficult to handle, but in reality, we can be our own worse critics. From appearance to abilities, pay attention to the labels you place on yourself and replace those creeping negative thoughts with a list of positive attributes only.

Recognize and celebrate your strengths. Take time daily to reflect on those traits that make up your strengths. Those strengths are meaningful because they shape your accomplishments and personality. If you have difficulty identifying them, talk with your close friends and family who see the best in you.

Accept your flaws. No one is perfect and we are all a “work in process.” The difference is those with healthy self-esteem aren’t derailed by their flaws. They recognize their shortcomings and make a conscious choice to not let them overpower their general sense of self-esteem.

Practice self-care. You’ll hear this one frequently as we journey through better emotional wellness this year. Self-care is about focusing on yourself and your needs that promote a sense of peace and well-being. Get proper rest, eat to nourish, stay active and engage in activities that bring you joy. There is a correlation between how we care for ourselves and self-esteem, so make time for it, you deserve it.

February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month, a reminder to put in the time to like and respect yourself. In the long run, healthy self-esteem will help create resiliency during stressful times and overall emotional wellness.

Susan Kozak has been a licensed social worker for the past 35 years and currently serves as the executive director of Community Care Services, a position she has held since 2011.