The importance of maintaining self esteem

By Zena Courtier, Guest Writer

Body image and self esteem issues are not an uncommon thing to deal with. After graduating high school I went through a period of time where I truly felt not confident in my appearance, my knowledge, and my overall capabilities. While I was not able to identify the exact cause of these feelings I knew they were a problem that I needed to fix. I dealt with these issues for some time and finally found that the only way to solve them was by staying true to myself.

In current times we far too often let social media and the opinions of others influence the way that we look at ourselves. Maintaining a positive body image in particular is something that both men and women of all ages tend to struggle with, especially in a society that is driven by the motive to fit in to what others deem as “normal.” Body image is not only the way that a person perceives their own body, but also the way that they assume others see them as well. Body image is closely linked to one’s self-esteem and the overall confidence that a person has in other areas of their life. These things are all interconnected, affecting the way a person sees themselves and how they choose to portray themselves to others.

In a study done by the Heart of Leadership Organization, it was found that out of girls with reportedly low self-esteem 75% had engaged in negative behaviors such as smoking, unhealthy dieting habits, and self-harm. Maintaining a high self-esteem can greatly reduce the number of unhealthy practices that a person engages in. Self-esteem issues can also increase negativity in other areas of your life. In the same study, 78% of the girls reported that it was difficult to feel well in school when they did not feel good about how they looked. Self esteem and body image can affect the day to day lifestyle choices a person makes and is something that we should all work to improve.

I believe that maintaining a positive body image of yourself will promote greater self-esteem and confidence in other aspects of your life. There are a few simple things every person can do that have potential to greatly improve their self-esteem. Focus on your own unique strengths and qualities instead of trying to develop yourself to be just like those around you. Find what you are good at, what you enjoy, and improve on it. If you naturally excel and enjoy something you will feel much happier doing that rather than something that everybody else wants you to do.

It is undoubtedly okay to be unique and I encourage all people to always do the what they want and enjoy doing rather than what others think they should do. Once I began focusing on the things I enjoyed, I noticed that my overall happiness was improving and it allowed me to gain the confidence that I needed in other aspects of my life. Set personal goals and work to reach them, try new things that you have always wanted to try, and realize that you possess qualities and skills that make you valuable. Capitalize on your talents and do only the things that bring

you happiness and joy. Your view of yourself and how happy you are with the person you see in the mirror is all that matters at the end of the day.

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