Self-esteem: building the essentials

Are you shy? Do you think you do not know how to defend yourself and you are passive? Do you have trouble getting on with others? Do you have difficulty expressing your emotions?


19 June 2017


Often a lot of effort is devoted to taking care of our physical health and very little to our psychological health. It is assumed that the necessary personal resources to face life are the result of spontaneous development, adopting the attitude of a passive observer.

The reality is that if you do not build your emotional strength, you can suffer important consequences, such as poor personal growth, rudimentary personal relationships, mental anguish and psychosomatic symptoms.

Identify what you need and create your own goals

Emotional care involves a proactive personal attitude towards the training of what is identified as personal weaknesses. The first step to make a change is to recognize what you would like to change.

1. Recognize the traps you set for yourself to avoid some situations:

Sometimes, what keeps us from being self-assertive are the traps we lay for ourselves. Some examples are: clinging to an unlikely event to excuse ourselves and not address the problems: 'it is better not to talk, if I do, there will be anger'. Or exaggerate the consequences of some events: 'if I tell my friends that this bothers me, they will get angry and I will be left alone ...’

2. Discover the areas where you have difficulties
Analyse whether you feel more anxious at work, at home, or with friends. See if you feel that you have problems more frequently with certain types of people: superior, dominant, opposite sex ... Or maybe, at the base of everything there is a relationship problem.

3. Clearly and frankly admit what you fear
Admit what scares you the most and what causes you to be paralysed, such as criticism, anger, tenderness, feeling rejected, etc

4. Set concrete goals
Set long-term goals, for example, how you would like your life to be in a few years, what kind of life you want, what your fantasies are, etc. On the other hand, set subgoals to achieve your future goal. If you do not prepare intermediate steps to achieve the important goals, you will act in an improvised way, have more difficulties to achieve results and you will feel hopeless.

How to build emotional strength

To reinforce emotional competence, it is important to address both what is done and how it is perceived, interpreted, valued and dealt with.

For example, if you start a conversation with a co-worker and he answers with monosyllables, your feeling and behaviour will be determined by the interpretation you give to this fact.

If you think you are ignored by the speaker, you will feel sad and you will start fewer conversations with that person. Conversely, if you think they act in this way because they are upset, your emotional and behavioural reaction will be very different.

1. Be careful with what you say to yourself

Internal language has a great psychological impact, therefore, taking care of it and orienting it to problem solving will provide well-being through feelings of competence and self-efficacy.

When messages about oneself are not adequate, for example they are of the type 'I cannot', 'I am inferior', 'I am vulnerable', it is very probable that the generated behaviour is harmful.

2. Assertive behaviour
It is as important to be respectful towards others as to oneself. When you do not respect other people’s rights, you tend to be aggressive, in the same way that you become inhibited when your own rights are not respected.

Assertive behaviour is what coordinates and respects both the rights of one's own and of others. An assertive person has an active orientation towards life, is able to communicate honestly and favours more intimate and deep personal relationships.

3. Social interaction
Interpersonal relationships are the best emotional gym, as they allow for training empathy and tolerance while they give you very pleasant feelings in return, such as the feeling of belonging to a group, recognition and, above all, affection.

4. Emotional expression
Some people have difficulty expressing emotions, they talk more about what they think than about what they feel. This causes feelings to play a secondary role in their lives. 

Communicating honestly and frankly what you feel in the moment you feel it, to people close to you, strengthens relationships with others and helps channel affections.

5. Good habits

Finally, having an orderly life provides emotional stability. When you have developed good basic habits, from eating and sleep habits to punctuality and perseverance, you will have a much more predictable life. Then it will be easier to anticipate consequences and, therefore, have a greater sense of control over events.