What is the value of a positive self-esteem?

Self-esteem can heavily influence people's choices and decisions. It serves a motivational function by making it more or less likely that people will take care of themselves and explore their full potential. A challenging work environment may deeply affect one’s self-esteem. Seafaring is characterized by a unique set of features which sets it apart from other occupations. The demanding physical working conditions, the hazardous tasks, the long hours of work and high levels of stress and fatigue, as well as the isolated lifestyle, all can affect a seafarer’s mental wellbeing. In this context, the workforce may be regarded as particularly vulnerable to mental ill health.


In such a challenging environment, having a positive self-esteem is vital. Let us devote an article to understanding the value of a positive self-esteem and ways to challenge our beliefs in order to raise our self-esteem.


What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. When we have a healthy self-esteem, we feel positive about ourselves but also about most aspects of our lives. We tend to look at everything with a more positive attitude and we can also better deal with life's challenges. On there other hand, when our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. This also means that we may find it a lot more difficult to deal with and overcome the challenges that we face no matter how small or big they may be or appear to be.


What causes low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem often begins in our earlier years. People we are close to, such as teachers, friends, family but also the media send us positive and negative messages about ourselves. It is interesting to notice that we often only focus on the things that we believe we are not doing well, rather than accepting and embracing the positive feedback messages that we see and hear. Moreover, stress and difficult life events can have a negative effect on our self-esteem.


How does low self-esteem affect us?

When having a low self-esteem or confidence, you may wish to avoid social situations, you may be afraid of trying new things, and avoid things or activities you find challenging. This may not appear to be such an important issue but in the long-term, your life can be significantly impacted due to low self-esteem. Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health and lead to problems such as depression and anxiety. You may also develop unhealthy habits, such as smoking and drinking too much, as a way of coping.


How can we boost our self-esteem?

The first step is identifying the negative beliefs you have about yourself. And then challenge them. Note these negative thoughts and beliefs and ask yourself when and why you first started to think these thoughts. Also, write down positive things about yourself and things that you are good at. Aim to have at least five positive things on your list and add to it regularly. Keep your list somewhere you can see it and read it whenever you feel like you need a boost.


Helpful Techniques to improve low self-esteem

  • Recognize what you're good at: we are all good at something and we all have great qualities.

  • Build positive relationships: try to build relationships with people who are positive and who appreciate you.

  • Be kind to yourself: being kind to yourself means being gentle to yourself at times when you feel like being self-critical.

  • Start saying no: people with low self-esteem often feel they have to say yes to other people, even when they do not really want to. This may make you feel angry, resentful, stressed and depressed.

It all starts with taking small steps and wanting to see the change in yourself! Devote some time to yourself each week to focus on the things you would like to change. To empower yourself and think about all that you are great at! Don’t undermine the little things. Be kind to yourself as if you were your closest friend!