5 phrases only people with high self-esteem use, according to psychology

Self-esteem is so important. 

Having a healthy level of it can bring a multitude of benefits, including better relationships, more resilience, and better mental health. On the flip side, low self-esteem can lead to anxiety and depression and make forming healthy relationships difficult

But how can we identify high self-esteem in a person? 

Well, as with many things, it often comes through in the words we say. If you find that someone you know uses phrases like the ones below, they probably have a healthy level of self-esteem. 

Looking to boost your own self-esteem? 

Good news: research suggests that what we say can influence how we think. Just getting these phrases into your conversations might be the start you need. 

Let’s get to ‘em. 

1) “I can handle it.”

Life throws curveballs at us all, and sometimes, it can feel like too much to handle. 

But people with high self-esteem have a secret weapon: resilience. As noted by the folks at Weber State University, they tend to be “More resilient; better able to endure stress and setbacks.”

Whenever they face challenges or stressful situations, their language often reflects this, and one phrase they might use is “I can handle it.”

It suggests a belief in one’s abilities, but it also serves as a reminder of one’s strength and resilience. That is, saying, “I can handle it,” instills a sense of control and capability, reducing anxiety and fostering a positive approach to problem-solving. 

This attitude and the strength it creates are perhaps more essential today than ever. In fact, they are so essential that The World Economic Forum ranked “Resilience, flexibility, and agility” as the third most important core skill for workers in its Future Of Jobs Report 2023

2) “No”

This small word holds immense power, particularly for those with high self-esteem. 

It’s about but about setting clear boundaries and prioritizing one’s own needs and values.

This is well-acknowledged by experts, but perhaps John Kim, a therapist, put it best in a Psychology Today post in which he wrote, “Having a strong sense of self and self-esteem is about knowing and embracing who you truly are…. It’s about being grounded in your own values, beliefs, and desires and living authentically according to them.”

Basically, high self-esteem enables individuals to distinguish between what truly matters to them and what doesn’t align with their priorities. 

This discernment is crucial in a world that constantly demands our attention and compliance. Greg McKeown, in his bestselling book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, perfectly encapsulates this notion: “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” People with high self-esteem understand this and aren’t afraid to live by it. 

They understand that saying “no” is not a sign of weakness or selfishness. Rather, it’s a powerful assertion of self-worth and an essential tool for maintaining mental and emotional well-being.

Moreover, saying “no” can also be an act of self-respect. It signals to others that we value our own opinions and needs and that we are not easily swayed by external pressures or expectations. 

3) “It’s water under the bridge.” 

Ever find yourself ruminating over that awkward comment you made at a dinner party or that project at work that didn’t go as planned? 

We all have.

However, those with high self-esteem are less likely to ruminate on such past blunders.

As noted by Dr. Gregory L. Jantz, a mental health expert and bestselling author, “The strong person with a growing self-esteem is the one who refuses to let the past control what happens today.” 

They recognize that dwelling on the past does not serve their present or future. Instead, they adopt the mindset that it’s “water under the bridge,” understanding that everyone makes mistakes and that these moments do not define their worth or capabilities.

This ability to move on doesn’t mean they ignore their past errors. Individuals with high self-esteem do reflect on their mistakes and learn from them. But they are compassionate with themselves. They don’t allow past grievances, embarrassments, or failures to anchor them down and hinder their growth and happiness.

4) “It’s important to me that [need], and I would appreciate your support.”

Picture this: You’re embarking on a new project at work, one that requires creativity and collaboration. 

You know that you thrive best in a quiet, uninterrupted environment to harness your creativity, but…you try to push on through in the busy meeting room out of fear of being perceived as high-maintenance or disrupting the group dynamic.

People with healthy self-esteem don’t do this. 

They don’t see their needs as less or more important than those of others. They understand the balance of give-and-take in relationships and consequently have no qualms about expressing their needs clearly and assertively. 

This ability to articulate what they need without undermining the needs of others is widely accepted as a sign of high self-esteem. In fact, the University of Queensland even advises asserting our needs as a way to build self-esteem. 

5) “No one is perfect.” 

Contrary to what some might think, people with healthy, high self-esteem don’t view themselves as paragons of perfection. Rather, as put by Kendra Cherry, a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, they see their ” overall strengths and weaknesses and accept them.” 

Put simply, they understand that being human entails a complex mix of strengths and weaknesses.

This acceptance doesn’t stem from a place of resignation but rather from a healthy perspective that acknowledges personal growth as an ongoing journey. Instead of being ensnared in a futile quest for perfection, they focus on leveraging their strengths and working on their weaknesses with a constructive attitude.

The bottom line

The language we use is often a powerful reflection of our self-esteem. If you notice someone often using phrases like the ones above, they probably have a healthy level of self-esteem

These phrases can also be used as empowering tools in our journey towards building and maintaining high self-esteem. It’s not just about saying these phrases, though, but truly believing them. 

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time. 

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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