YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND DEPRESSION
Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT
Your self-concept is based on how well you accept yourself, and how much you like who you are. It is also based on the basic belief that you are capable of achieving desired goals and feeling capable of doing so. This implies that you are confident in your ability to think and make appropriate decisions, based on your values and interests. It also involves having a personal sense of worth, having respect for yourself, and being comfortable with the fact that you are different from other people.
Your self-esteem develops early on in life as the result of various influences; the most important being your experiences in your family while growing up. What you experience in your relationship with your parents, siblings, extended family members, and others in general, produces your sense of self, your belief system, your way of thinking, your emotions, and your behavior.
When your life experiences have caused you to develop low self-esteem, you can experience depression that can be chronic or episodic. The important thing is that you can improve your self-esteem and resolve your depressive symptoms.
How can you do that, you ask. Here are a few ideas:
- Start by accepting yourself. You don’t have to be better than you are to start practicing self- acceptance. Don’t underestimate your ability to generate positive regard for yourself. Too many people depend on external sources such as other people, material possessions, career, social status, or pleasure to feel accepted. If you accept yourself first, you’ll be free to work on improving yourself with time and effort.
- Cultivate an attitude of compassion toward yourself. Making mistakes is human, and the difficulties you are experiencing don’t have to define you. They can actually teach you important lessons that can help you improve.
- Focus on an what you like about yourself. Make a list of your positive qualities and remind yourself daily of these. Make another list of the ones you want to develop and start working on them.
- Discover and develop your talents and interests. It’s never too late to start. Begin with a small step and see how accomplishing that creates more motivation to continue pursuing the things you want to see happen in your life. I promise you; you will feel empowered and confident.