How to enhance Self-Esteem? - Part I

12, Oct, 2013, by Seema Bhatnagar

This is a three part series, also check out part II and part III here:
How to enhance Self-Esteem? - Part II
How to enhance Self-Esteem? - Part III

self-esteem quote seema bhatnagar

Fear of facing others, to express self in front of others, of starting something new in life prevents many of us from doing what we really want to do. Many of us face such situations quite often. There are occasions when we want to express something but do not feel enough courage to do it. There is a voice inside which constantly pricks us, "What others will say for this action.", "People will not like me if I do this", "I am not worth", "I can't do it", or "I am good for nothing.". Even on knowing that you have a potential of doing it but somewhere you feel less than confident to do what you feel is good for you. Continuously thinking inferior or comparing self with others sometimes make you feel inadequate and reluctant to face challenges in life due to which you lose many opportunities to grow.

The concept of self is what we think of our self, based on our experiences, background, upbringing and other various factors. It becomes active once child attains age of seven, from that point onwards, the concept of self gets reinforced with each and every experience and interaction a child has in this world.

Are you with low self-esteem?

Accept it or not, majority of us experience low self-esteem in some area of life at some point in life. In today's materialistic world, the parameters of healthy level of self-esteem are multiplying extensively, something or the other is always making us conscious about self and it is becoming very difficult to live with true self. There is a constant pressure of complying with average thinking of others in order to get respect and societal acceptance.

Following are some indicators of experiencing low self-esteem:

  1. Need of external approvals
  2. There is a strong urge for approvals from others for actions. Even when you know that you can do it but you need external approval to feel confident for doing that task.

  3. Conscious of body image
  4. Highly conscious of personal body image and if there is any personal flaw, you are putting all your efforts to hide it to make it less visible.

  5. Hesitation in interaction
  6. Hesitation in speaking to others or in striking conversation with others (especially with strangers).

  7. Avoiding Eye Contact
  8. Difficulty in establishing eye contact because of constant inner voice of being inadequate.

  9. Emotional eating
  10. Bingeing on food to feel good and to avoid any uncomfortable situation.

  11. Blaming other
  12. Rather than accepting personal mistakes, blaming others for creating problems.

  13. Short tempered
  14. Losing temper over trivial things; though might not be so aggressive by nature.

If you find some of the above indicators in you then you are possibly experiencing low self-esteem. Individuals with low self-esteem are constantly seeking implicit approvals for their every task and action. This is due to a lack of confidence in self and deep seated thinking or conditioning that making others happy and getting external approvals ensure that things are perfect and they are well accepted by others.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is a value which we attach to our self, irrespective of the fact what others think, say or comment; it might be viewed as person's overall judgment of himself/herself pertaining to self-competence and self-worth based on reality.

Self-esteem is directly dependant on our concept of self. The concept of self is what we think of our self, based on our experiences, background, upbringing and other various factors. It becomes active once child attains age of seven, from that point onwards, the concept of self gets reinforced with each and every experience and interaction a child has in this world.

Our concept of self is fundamentally governed by two layers.


Academic: This determines our scholastic achievements and performance in academics, during school and university years. The performance and results plays an important role in defining self concept during initial years of life.

Non-Academic: This layer is further divided into

Social: This covers the influences of peers, significant others in life, like our close friends, parents, spouse, siblings and colleagues etc.

Emotional: This is about basic emotional nature of an individual, i.e. loving, caring, romantic, angry, and stressed etc. and how others are responding to these emotions.

Physical: This is about physical appearance and physical ability, which includes looks, physique and personal stamina.

So, self concept comprises of multi faceted parameters from each layer and each parameter plays an important role at different stages of life in building self-esteem of an individual. Being good at academics but emotionally weak makes people suffer for life in relationships. Similarly, people who have body image issues but academically very sound, have serious issues of self-esteem.

People with high self-esteem have all these layers in a good balance while in case of low self-esteem there could be issues in underlying layers, it could be from academic or from non-academic layer of self concept.

To look at self-esteem from a different perspective, in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of medicine, there is a concept of prakriti according to which there are three types of body constitutions, Vata, Pitta and Kapha which determine the basic temperament of an individual. In brief:

Vata prakriti people are more restless, have a tendency to get stressed, anxious & worried easily. Have low confidence and are introspective, shy and modest.

Pitta prakriti people are usually in control of their emotions, they may become irritable, angry and judgmental under stress.

Kapha prakriti people are serene and tranquil and have better control over emotions, quite tolerant and forgiving.

Based on these basic body types, every individual respond differently to situations in life. Individuals with Vata prakriti, show tendency to go under low self-esteem because of low confidence level and inherent impatience, while people with Pitta and Kapha prakriti have a tendency to enjoy higher level of self-esteem.

These are three broad categories of basic constitutions of bodies, it doesn't mean, that one cannot improve over emotions, it might be hard but it is surely possible.

An individual with a high level of self-esteem is a balanced person, in complete ease with self and have no fear of being rejected or accepted by others. Even on having some personal shortcomings, an individual face others with full confidence and poise. S/he has a complete insight about personal strengths and weaknesses with which comes an absolute acceptance of self.

Related Posts
How to enhance Self-Esteem? - Part II
Win the world with confidence
Face your demons - Overcoming fears

Seema Bhatnagar
, Blogger, Writer, Life Coach and Founder of Abundance Thinkers, site for personal growth and development. Empowering people in achieving and living the best of personal potential.

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