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Let’s be honest: self-esteem is probably not something that’s constantly on your mind. When you wake up in the morning, chances are that you don’t jump up and say, “I completely value myself today!”
Self-esteem is something that we overlook too often. Despite its abstract nature, it can have very real effects on everyday life.
In its simplest conception, self-esteem is how much you see yourself in a positive or a negative light. A study by the Harvard Medical School in Harvard Health Publications found convincing evidence that people with high self-esteem are happier and more likely to persevere in rough times.Basically, if you lack self-esteem, it appears you’re going to have a hard time getting much done.
A lack of self-esteem can cause depression, according to Psychology today.
How does low self-esteem happen, exactly? There are factors in our everyday lives that can bring us down, says Carrie Bennett in a study conducted at Pennsylvania State University. Magazine advertisements flaunting models with impossibly perfect bodies can lower a person’s self-esteem.
You may not be a magazine reader, but advertisements with improbable representations of both men and women’s bodies are all over the internet, TV, and billboards. Aside from going to live in the woods, there aren’t many ways to escape media’s negative influence.
Lowering of self-esteem in this way is based on the tendency we have to compare ourselves to other people; for example, if you watch a Victoria’s Secret or Calvin Klein advertisement and see an unusually slim or chiseled model, you might begin to question whether you’re the right shape, yourself.
This same principle applies even when the influence is personal. Family can be a factor. If you’ve got a brother, sister or a second-cousin twice removed who is more successful than you in some way, your family members’ high opinions of them might make you feel inadequate. Destructive relationships that can occur between family members and friends — if they’re putting you down and criticizing you constantly, chances are your opinion of yourself is going to be low.
We need to take care of ourselves. In college years, there is a natural tendency for self-esteem to drop as we encounter independence in our lives, Carl Pickhardt said in Psychology Today article.
Making new friends, attempting to find romance, accomplishing tasks at school and overcoming the inevitable obstacles of adult life are all challenges that people our age face. We need a good mental foundation to be able to tackle them all. Before you can do something, you have to actually believe that you can do it, whether it’s getting an A in your math class or chasing your dream career.
Believing in yourself is crucial in this transitional time in life. Do the things that make you feel confident. In turn, accomplishing things that you can feel proud of is essential to feeling good about yourself.
Don’t allow the negative voices and influences in your life to pull you down; they’re wrong.
Here’s to each of our journeys to healthy self-esteem, fellow Buffs. Remember, it’s always helpful to have a good friend, roommate, or family member to support you as you branch out and move forward. CU has mental health resources for you, too, listed on its website.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ellis Arnold at Ellis.email@example.com.