Does self-esteem sound like stuff just for your kids? Not so. High self-esteem is a major component of happiness for people of all ages and for most of us, it requires cultivation.

How can we cultivate self-esteem in the midst of a society that glorifies unattainable beauty and perfection?

First, worthiness is an 'inside job.' We were born with inherent worth. Therefore, a person's core worth is not dependent on the body, and is independent of externals such as money, power, youth, or beauty. It is what's on the inside that counts!

Secondly, check your thinking. Are you putting yourself down? Do you have beliefs that eat away at your self-esteem? Thoughts such as: It's bad to think highly of myself; I have no value since I'm older or no longer working; Without my looks, or health, I'm nothing; I can't be happy unless a certain condition is met; or I will never forgive myself or someone else; are unhelpful beliefs that lead to misery. Notice your thought patterns and challenge yourself to stop unhelpful thinking.

Create thoughts of self-esteem. Helpful thoughts include: I accept myself as I am; I am more than my body, mistakes, or any externals; My self-esteem is not affected by the whims or criticisms of others; Work is one aspect of life, and is not the entirety of my worth; I choose to enjoy myself NOW rather than wait for any externals to happen; I choose to forgive myself or someone else for past mistakes.

Lastly, take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and develop regular sleep patterns to recharge your body.

What are the costs of choosing to stay in a pattern of low self-esteem? Emotional pain, along with a vicious cycle of feeling incompetent and apathetic and allowing others to treat you poorly, all of which confirms your low opinion of yourself.

Instead, give your self-esteem a boost each day. YOU deserve to be appreciated by YOU.

If you continue to feel low, incompetent, lethargic, or experience feelings of self-dislike, consider professional intervention. Call Louann at Counseling Connection, Centennial, Colorado, for a consultation or information on counseling, therapy, and relationship help.: 303-721-0005.

Author's Bio: 

Louann Hillesland is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Colorado and holds a Masters level degree in Counseling from Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico.
In addition to private practice she is currently teaching healthy relationship classes at several local agencies.

She has counseled individuals, and facilitated psycho-educational classes at both an outpatient mental health center for adults, and a local middle school, as well as a grade school in New Mexico.

She has a Bachelors of Science degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado. As an educator, She taught preschool, grade school, middle school, and adults, during a 26 year teaching career.

She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing(EMDR), and has experience working with people of all ages.

She enjoys working with individuals, couples and groups.