Updated: Mar 18, 2021
So many messages we received from childhood, so many wrong labels, beliefs and patterns that were seeded inside of everyone’s else’s mind that is not a surprise that teenage years were harder than they were supposed to be and of course that early adulthood became such a shaky road, as well as the future depicted by a new society that is based upon a sea of information and foggy false promises!
In addition to that social media doesn’t really help so much to help teenagers or people in general to strengthen their self-esteem, in fact, it is causing so much damage and “comparison syndrome” that mental illness which were rare for that group of age now are just an everyday issue to deal with!
Back in the decades of 80’s and 90’s were no internet or social platforms were available, people had more attention, time and engagement with physical and outdoor activities which at least performed the function of cleaning all the emotions that could be piling up.
Nevertheless with sedentary lifestyles comes the risk to accumulating stress, emotions and also invest time in mindless activities such as engaging in social media with the side effects of comparison, triggering your mind towards more addictive behaviors and quickly leading to you to an anxious, sad and many times depressed state where you just don't know how to get out from.
Children and teenagers nowadays find many physical activities boring, tiring, or just not "cool" enough to start practicing them, they much rather spend 1 to 3 hours of surfing in social media or the web practically landing in many of the worst ads and publicity that will just make them think that their life is not good enough, that what they is not "updated", that even themselves are not worthy because they don't have "x" or "y" trending device, because they haven't traveled somewhere amazing, because their parents don't own a successful company or simply because they are not sent in the summer to some exotic place to rest and enjoy their vacations.
No wonder, self-esteem has become now more than ever placed on anything external, updated, cool and shiny and not at all something that they can be taught to develop from within, which ironically is the only place where self-esteem is and can be generated.
Understanding the life span development of self-esteem is important because research suggests that self-esteem truly matters for people’s lives. Although researchers have debated whether self- esteem has any influence on important life outcomes, a growing body of evidence supports the notion that self-esteem does have consequences for people’s lives. In particular, prospective studies suggest that self-esteem influences people’s success and well-being in the domains of social relationships, school and education, work, physical health, and mental health (1).
As mentioned and verified by many researchers, self-esteem is a concept that is evolving along with our life, along with the consciousness, reflection, awareness that we acquire throughout our lives and of course it is manifested in all the platforms where we imprint our actions, where we design our lives, where we draw the amazing life that we want to create.
In fact, I’m guessing everyone of us has passed through stages in our lives where our self-esteem is not in the “best shape” sort of saying, and that has had an impact in the performance that we have in certain type of tasks whether they’re physical or mental.
Moreover and as mentioned above self-esteem is amazingly important to sustain a balanced physical and mental health. If you constantly get compulsively enticed by external circumstances to regulate your self-esteem that phenomena would create a shaky behavior which will complicate the balance and stability that everyone is looking in regards to self-esteem.
What is then the key to develop, sustain and shield your self-esteem?
Self-esteem is defined as a person’s subjective evaluation of his or her worth as a person. Thus, self-esteem is by definition a subjective construct and does not necessarily reflect objective characteristics of the person, or how the person is seen by others. It is therefore important to distinguish self-esteem from narcissism, as both constructs involve positive self-evaluations. Self-esteem includes feelings of self-acceptance and a positive attitude toward the self, but does not necessarily imply that the individual feels superior to others (1).
Complementing the psychology definitions or clinical evidence that is starting building the concept of self-esteem, I would propose a much empowered concept that relies on your inner abilities to nurture yourself, to develop an active lifestyle, to regulate your emotions in your social and intimate context, to develop a regular time to reflect on your life, and of course to maintain a healthy financial life.
Let's break down each of pillars that internally will allow you to develop a much stronger, reliable and long term image of your self-esteem.
Do you think that if you have poor nutritional habits, your body will have the resources to create health, powerful neurotransmitters and hormones?
I certainly can't imagine a person that regularly consumes processed food and excess of sugars having regulated emotions or maintaining their energy under the levels required to perform well! Therefore, that means that your nutrition and literally the fuel you give to your body is an important pillar to sustain the production of healthy neurotransmitters and regulate your hormones to allow a stable emotional health!.
Of course, you might argue, well I have known many people that eat very poorly and are very successful and they appear to be happy! Yes, I bet there are some people, that exactly appear to be happy but deep down they're not because they have an internal chaos in the nutrients they're giving to their bodies and certainly over the years that will eventually have an effect on their overall health where emotions are included.
Moving on to the activity or physical aspect of your life, this is the support concept to justify an active lifestyle versus a sedentary.
Physical activity or Exercise has proved over the years to be an effective asset to detoxify all the build up of chemicals that contribute to a poor health setting, additionally exercise has demonstrated to increase cognitive parameters and powerful biomolecules that have been also identified and tested to increase neuron survival, increasing your neural connections and neurogenesis such as Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA), Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), and Endocannabinoids, as well as regulating the production of "happy neurotransmitters" such as dopamine, serotonin oxytocin, and endorphins.
All of this arsenal of chemicals is set in motion when you perform physical activity and several clinical trials have been initiated and documented in the treatment of many mental diseases, that is more than enough evidence that a person that performs exercise has better chances to develop a healthier self-esteem than the one living a sedentary lifestyle.
Moreover, exercise also regulates hunger hormones which actually also interfere with your emotional regulation and many times drive you to consume unhealthy food choices which will little by little start to disrupt your emotional homeostasis and affect of course your self-esteem.
On the other hand a sedentary lifestyle decreases the production of neurotransmitters, shuts down many of the regions of your brain to survival mode as you don't really need a lot of energy, because the internal and chemical message that you're giving your body is that you don't require as many functions as if you were more active. It also increases the amount of hunger hormones that will disrupt your internal clocks and will drive to consume unhealthy food choices as mentioned above, it will also lower the production of blood vessels as you don't really need to increase the amount of them, because you're in a steady mode, that in turn will lower the amount of oxygen being transported throughout your body which will as a consequence allow the building up of reactive oxygen species, which not only lead to age faster but will also increase your internal stress, rising up your cortisol levels and of course you know where the story will end ...You being overwhelmed, sad, anxious and probably if the cycle continues depressed all of these consequences of sedentarism will for sure have a tremendous impact in your self-esteem!
Now, moving on to your emotions, what kind of emotional issues do you have in your life? Do you agree that if you have sort of a stable and peaceful emotional social and intimate life your life just becomes happier and with a better outlook for the future?
The way you expose ourselves to emotional draining situations, social media or any kind of strategic messages that just want to harness your attention and create a stress within you, then you're an easier target to be manipulated, influenced and easily being programmed to believe that you need something external to control your self-esteem, to control the way you feel about yourself.
Well, that is exactly the strategy of many corporations or individuals that are just looking their own benefit in order to grow their business, to increase their wealth and of course to create a powerless tribe of people that keep thinking that they need the product, the food or the person to feel good. They're so good to use language and psychology to influence people and manipulate their mind that the more you engage in their content, the less capable you think you are and the more dependent on them you become.
Even news and political strategies are just based on this kind of concept, provoke fear in people with toxic news, headlines and messages to turn on the fear within people and then easily have them available to spread toxic emotions around them, which in turn will damage the self-esteem of their families and hence the circle can be perpetuated.
Instead if you learn to dominate your thoughts, to train your mind to allow positive emotions, if you surround yourself with people that have a different mindset and that feed themselves with other type of emotions and content, then you'll be able to discover a whole different world that will be supportive with the way you see the world.
This emotional block functions pretty much just like the nutrition, emotions are triggered by your thoughts, they're a product of your thoughts and as such if you start controlling the kind of thoughts that you have, if you start feeding yourself with a better environment then you will certainly start cleaning the toxic emotions and allowing yourself to become less a slave of other people's thoughts and more in control of the kind of emotional diet that you want!
What happens now with that control of your mind, where does it resides, how you start to implement a protocol to become more self-reflective and less impacted by the external triggers?
We're arriving to one of your most powerful tools that you can start developing to boost your self-esteem, that is your spiritual realm, your meditation block, How much do you reflect about your life? Do you allow time for you to be in silence, to listen to your heart, to your body, to at least let many of the useless thoughts you have sometimes go and find their outlet?
This pillar is one of the cornerstones now to allow people to create power from within, to build resilience, to start learning how to recur to the source to turn on one of the most powerful connections inside themselves which is the synchrony of your brain and your heart, this beautiful loop has a magnetic and healing power that will allow to rebuild your entire body and renew your mind with a much deeper and powerful content that you could ever imagine, it will construct an internal resonance that will allow to see things with a high definition clarity that will open your eyes to a whole new world that will help you to find a much easier path to feel good about yourself, to feel enough, to feel love from you and to stop craving and compulsively seeking something or someone outside to "make you feel" better!
This is the tool that will allow you to perform, to include all of the other components of your life and most importantly is what will help you to finally become free and enjoy peace from within, many times people don't believe that it can be so easy to finally find the stability, the satisfaction and the release of so much burden that at the beginning is when they show more resistance or also as this tool will face you with your deepest fears and wounds sometimes the road just looks a little bit dark, rocky and shaky but consistency, discipline and faith in you will help you go deeper, keep trying until finally you will break through those walls, those resistances that were created just to protect you but in fact those are the ones that many times pull you back!
And finally all of these Four Pillars will contribute to have the energy, the stamina, the resilience and the clarity to become a rocket and literally be launched into the space and reality that was only in some of your dreams, but now that reality will be a reflection of your inner reality that has been fine tuned, aligned and sharpened to give you an abundant and comfortable life that will make you want to share your journey, that will become an inner drive to help others along the way and share your message!
In summary, the old concept of self-esteem has many years been based upon external opinions or reflections that have nothing to do with the power that you have inside, but it is only when you decide to finally take your life to the "complete service" that you need, that you realize that you have been dormant, that you have been living someone else's movies and now is the your turn to finally grab the pen and start rewriting your story, start re-engineering your whole self in order to be able to fully live!
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1. Orth, U., Erol, R. Y., & Luciano, E. C. (2018). Development of self-esteem from age 4 to 94 years: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological bulletin, 144(10), 1045.