Develop Self-Esteem

How Does Self-Esteem Relate to Stress?

by Kalinda Rose Stevenson

What Do You Think About You?

We all know that self-esteem
comes from what you think of you,
not what other people think of you.

Gloria Gaynor
Self-image based on comparison with others leads to feeling stressed-out. A perception of self-esteem without comparison to others leads to living a peaceful life. (The following excerpt is from Stress Relief That Works.)
Self-Esteem Perspective

Stress and Self-Esteem

How is self-esteem different from self-image? Self-image is about your ego. Self-image is about your perception of what you look like in comparison to other people. In contrast, self-esteem is about your perception of your worth. Ego cannot produce genuine self-esteem because ego always measures itself in terms of better than or worse than someone else. In contrast, self-esteem gets out of the comparison trap. Self-esteem is a high opinion of yourself as yourself without comparing yourself to other people.

How can you experience self-esteem that doesn't depend on the opinions of others? Gloria Gaynor's words identify the essential source of self-esteem:

We all know that self-esteem comes from what you think of you, not what other people think of you.

This distinction is the difference between living a stressed-out life based on what you think other people think about you, and living a peaceful life based on your perception of your worth as yourself.

  • Self-esteem derives from deep respect and love for who you are at this moment.
  • Self-esteem values you more than your accomplishments.
  • Self-esteem acknowledges both your strengths and your weaknesses.
  • Self-esteem encourages your dreams.
  • Self-esteem congratulates you for your accomplishments.

Your self-esteem reveals what you believe about yourself and the value you place on your self. It can't come from any place or anyone outside of you. No matter what anyone else says about you — whether positive or negative — your self-esteem derives from what you believe about yourself. 

Self-esteem can't be borrowed, it can't be imposed on you, and it can't be taken away from you.

How Can You Develop Self-Esteem?

For many people, developing authentic self-esteem means undoing acquired negative beliefs. Many negative beliefs originated in childhood. Small children are sponges who absorb what they hear as truth. If you grow up hearing affirming and encouraging words about yourself, you're very likely to believe that you're capable of doing great things. In contrast, if you grow up hearing only negative comments about you, you'll need to work harder to develop an authentic self-esteem.

How do you undo a lifetime of negative beliefs about yourself? How do you develop authentic self-esteem when your self-image persuades you that you're not capable of handling life's stressors calmly and peacefully? Where do you begin when you're in a life situation that is currently chaotic — perhaps even dangerous — and filled with stressors?

Noah St. John's mirroring process in Permission to Succeed can be a life-transforming place to start, but it can't take you all the way to self-esteem because it's based on other people's opinions of you. Creating self-esteem is an inside job.

[Original Post November 2, 2015]

If you are feeling stressed-out and want to read the whole book, Stress Relief That Works: How To Think Your Way from Stressed-Out to Peaceful is available on Amazon in either Kindle or paperback versions. Click Buy Now From Amazon to get your copy right away!

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