The Joys of Being Your Own Best Friend
Are you kinder to others than you are to yourself? Self-esteem is the subject of new social research. People who excel at supporting others often shortchange themselves. They’re quick to self-criticize for falling short of goals. Conversely, people with high self-esteem have less anxiety and depression. They view themselves and others in an optimistic light.
This article explores why many people are lacking in self-love. It highlights the benefits of befriending yourself. It also details how to raise your self-image if you’re low on the totem pole.
SELF-WORTH VERSUS SELFISHNESS
University of Texas studies shows that many people lack self-esteem because their fear of becoming selfish. They believe that scrutinizing themselves helps to maintain high standards. Clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Firestone advises that self-worth shouldn’t be based on external actions. It needs to be grounded in your inherent value as a unique individual. Self-regard is all about who you are, not what you do.
High self-esteem doesn’t imply that you’re proud or arrogant. It reflects self-acceptance and confidence. These traits enhance the enjoyment of life.
UNDER THE MAGNIFIER
University professor Dr. Kristin Neff states that our competitive society tells us we must be above-average to feel good about ourselves. However, there will always be other people who rate higher than we do in certain aspects of life. Many people will be more successful, attractive, and prosperous than we are. Comparing ourselves with others sets the stage for poor self-regard.
HEALTH RISKS OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM
Basing your value on external factors is hazardous to your health. A University of Michigan study canvassed college students regarding self-worth. Those whose self-image was linked to externals such as appearance and academics reported more anger, stress, and relationship conflicts. They were also subject to eating disorders, alcohol use, and drug abuse. Students who based their worth on intrinsic traits reported feeling healthier. They earned higher grades and were less likely to suffer from eating disorders and substance use.
WHAT REALLY COUNTS
Though achievement can build your self-esteem, your worth shouldn’t be conditional. Clinical psychologist Dr. Donna Rockwell emphasizes that your unique qualities constitute your value. No one has your combination of talents and strengths. The joys of being your own best friend lie in acknowledging your singular greatness.
SIGNS OF SELF-COMPASSION
You’re in the ideal emotional space when you give the same support to yourself as you would a friend. When someone you care about feels insecure, you give them a confidence boost. If a loved one has anxiety concerning an upcoming event, you encourage them. If a friend fails in realizing a goal, you shower them with support.