The psychology of self-esteem: 8 signs you value yourself

Self-esteem is defined as your subjective sense of overall personal worth or value.

It’s composed of several different elements such as your self-confidence, your sense of identity, your relationships, and your competence – all which add up to form your overall sense of what makes you, you.

Having low self-esteem means that you don’t reach out and try new opportunities, you allow other people to disrespect you and your boundaries, and you’re less likely to reach your goals.

Luckily, self-esteem can be built up. 

Doing so takes the self-awareness to be able to pinpoint areas where you could improve and being ready to get your hands dirty. 

Want to see how much you value yourself at the moment?

Let’s see how much the following statements apply to you:

1) You know you are enough

You know that you’re not perfect and you’re okay with that. 

Many factors can also impact a person’s self-esteem, such as (but not limited to):

  • Childhood trauma
  • Prejudice, racism, or discrimination
  • Financial difficulties
  • Relationship issues
  • Social media
  • Mental health issues
  • Body image

You’re aware of your flaws and might still feel conscious of one or more of the above points, but you don’t let them limit your feelings of worthiness

You might be disorganized, struggle to express your emotions, or prone to talking over people when you’re nervous, but you don’t let those qualities hold you back from feeling deserving of love and opportunities. 

Where possible, you’re working on those areas that you don’t feel so confident in

But you don’t let them impact how you feel about yourself. 

After all, you know that nobody’s perfect.

2) You are kind and compassionate

Your kindness extends not only to yourself but also to those around you. Your self-awareness and introspection encompasses other people. 

It allows you to feel what they are feeling, understand how your actions impact them, and drives you to lift them up and encourage them where you can. 

You’re not only in this for your own self-esteem – you know that random acts of kindness can improve the outlook other people have and incorporate these into your daily life.

3) You set boundaries and enforce them

“You let people walk all over you”, isn’t something that springs to mind when you think about your own relationships. 

You still have fulfilling and healthy connections with your friends, colleagues, and family, but you’re confident in your ability to say “no” when it’s needed. 

People-pleasing and bending over backwards to win the affection of others isn’t something you dabble in. Why would you? 

Instead, personal boundary setting is your forte.

You know what you bring to the people in your life, and how valuable your time and attention is. 

Letting people take advantage of you or pushing you beyond what you’re comfortable with doesn’t compute with your sense of self-worth. 

4) Sometimes things don’t work out, but that doesn’t stop you from trying

the psychology of self esteem 1 The psychology of self-esteem: 8 signs you value yourself

“I can’t try out for that job; I know I’m not good enough”.

“I can’t ask that girl out, she’s way out of my league”.

“I can’t build that IKEA dresser, I’m so bad at assembling things”.

Can’t isn’t a word you’ll often hear in the vocabulary of those who value themselves. 

They’re not afraid to get stuck in and give everything a go. 

They know that failure and rejection are just parts of life. Being told “no” isn’t a bad thing. 

It means that you actually seized an opportunity and had the courage to try. 

And where one door closes, another opens…

5) You don’t hide or change parts of yourself to make people like you more

If you can confidently say that you show up to all interactions as your true and authentic self, you have to admit there must be some confidence in yourself.

People tend to hide or alter bits of themselves that they don’t feel so confident in, especially when around other people. 

For instance, if you’re obsessed with model railways and have three antique sets at home, you might still feel a bit embarrassed about your hobby and shove them all under your bed when you have friends over.

However, people who really value themselves know that their unique interests and passions make them stand out from the crowd

They’ll proudly have the railway sets out on full display, might offer you a go (if you’re gentle), and won’t sweep quirky habits under the carpet just to blend in better. 

They know that being a black sheep is cool and aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd.

6) You don’t let the opinions of others define how you feel about yourself

And say someone does come down on them hard for having an interest in trains or model railways, turns their nose up and calls them a weirdo…

People who truly value themselves will shrug it off. It might still sting a little, but they don’t let how others perceive them change how they see themselves.

They know that they can’t and won’t see eye to eye with every person on the planet. 

Due to the unique set of characteristics that makes them who they are, there will always be people with opposing views with whom they butt heads. 

They know that’s just part of life and don’t let negative comments, gossip, or unwarranted criticism degrade their sense of self. 

You can also bet that they won’t be giving up those quirky habits just because of some side comment a stranger said.

7) You don’t hold on to relationships that compromise your self-worth

People who really value themselves are good at protecting their self-esteem and self-worth. 

Whilst they won’t easily let these belittling comments get to them, they know when it’s in their best interests to call it a day on a relationship with someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart.

This might mean breaking up with a partner, letting go of a friend, setting firm boundaries with a family member, or distancing themselves from a work colleague. 

Not to be confused with, “I don’t hold on to relationships that don’t serve me purpose”, as that strays instead too far into a narcissistic view of using the people around you as pawns to your own advantage.

Instead, people who value themselves have a keen eye for making friends and connections that help further inspire and instil their sense of self. 

They radiate around people who bring out the best version of themselves. They’re good at seeking those individuals out, keeping them close, and giving those people the same energy in return.

If they find that someone is actively working to devalue them, whether through feeding the rumour-mill or making snide comments, they tend to be quick to withdraw from that relationship.

They don’t cling on to relationships with people who compromise their self-worth out of fear of being lonely. 

8) You have a positive yet realistic outlook on life

As someone who values themselves, you also trust yourself

That means trusting your gut feeling and that little voice in your head that sometimes pops up and suggests what to do/what not to do.

In having that trust, you’re less inclined to worry about whether you’re making the right decision and start second-guessing yourself. 

You’re not blindly floating along thinking nothing bad can ever happen to you, but you approach life with a positive outlook and good faith in your decision-making.

I don’t think I value myself enough…

Don’t worry. Lots of us are on our own paths to self-love. Or maybe not self-love, but self-acceptance. 

Realizing just how important self-esteem is can be really helpful in motivating you to make (what feels like) the right decisions for yourself.

Even if you’re not quite at the point of fully embracing yourself, all your flaws included, cutting toxic people out of your life, and jumping at all of life’s opportunities – you’ve taken the first step.

Building up self-esteem means reflecting on the areas in which need work rather than turning a blind eye or saying it’s too difficult. 

Now you know how all the people who really value themselves behave. 

Next, it’s time to start incorporating those behaviors into your own life. 

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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