Life is full of pressure and demands due to responsibilities and expectations. The older you get the more you become responsible for yourself; meeting your own personal needs and making your own ends meet. With time you begin to take responsibility for yourself, parent, siblings, relatives and most definitely your spouse and your children. Expectations are also real based on norms and societal values, education, family, career, religion, finance and dream achievements are personal expectations. Meaning at a certain age you expect to have finished school, at a certain age be married, at a certain age be gainfully employed making career progress at an expected pace.

One basic requirement needed for the achievements of responsibilities and expectations is self esteem. Self esteem is a reflection of an individual's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself, an attitude towards oneself, beliefs about oneself, or emotional states of oneself, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame. Self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluations of oneself, which can either be high, medium or low. I often hear people say “I prefer having high self-esteem than low self-esteem” My friend, both high and low levels of self-esteem can be emotionally and socially harmful for you. Indeed it is thought an optimum level of self-esteem lies in the middle of high and low self-esteem, individuals operating within this range are thought to be more socially dominant within relationships.

Low self-esteem can be defined as low self-worth, low self-regard, low self-respect, low self-confidence and low self-integrity. There are times when we lack confidence and don’t feel good about ourselves. But when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health and our lives. When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us able to deal with life’s ups and downs better. But when our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light, as well as feel less able to take on the challenges life throws at us.  You must trap your low self-esteem if you want to fulfil destiny.

In the early years of a child's life, parents have a significant influence on self-esteem and can be considered a main source of positive and negative experiences a child will have. Unconditional love from parents helps a child develop a stable sense of being cared for and respected. These feelings translate into later effects on self-esteem as the child grows older. Students in elementary school who have low self-esteem tend to have authoritative parents who are not caring, not supportive adults who set clear standards for their child and do not allow them to voice their opinion in decision making.

Low self-esteem can result from various factors, including genetic factors, physical appearance or weight, mental health issues, socioeconomic status, peer pressure or bullying. It is usually characterised by Heavy self-criticism, Dissatisfaction, Hypersensitivity to criticism, Chronic indecision, Fear of mistakes, Perfectionism, Neurotic guilt, Envy, Intolerable conditions, Low levels of mastery, Low risk taking, and Poor health condition, Emotional instability, Reserved, and idleness.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Individuals with low self-esteem tend to be critical of themselves, some depend on the approval and praise of others when evaluating self-worth. Others may measure their likability in terms of successes, others will accept themselves if they succeed but will not if they fail. It's a missed opportunity when I hear women say they don't have the money, figure, beauty, influence, etc., because style is such a way to help cultivate the way they feel about themselves. You must love and embrace who you are by loving yourself. When you love yourself, people pick up on that, they see confidence, self-esteem, and they naturally gravitate towards you. Self-esteem doesn't come simply from dressing well, beauty, fame, wealth or educational background, you only feel better when you;

Recognise what you are good at- We are all good at something, whether it’s teaching, counselling, cooking, writing, singing, speaking, or being a friend. Engaging in the things you are good at can help to boost your mood.

Build positive relationships- Have a relationship with people who are positive and who appreciate you. Never stay around certain people who tend to bring you down but with people you inspire you and bring out the best in you. Share how you feel about their words or actions.

Be kind to yourself- Be compassionate to yourself. That means being gentle to yourself at times when you feel like being self-critical. Think about what you would say to encourage a friend in a similar situation. We often give far better advice to others than we do to ourselves.

Be assertive- Being assertive is about respecting other people’s opinions and needs, and expecting the same from them.

One trick is to look at other people who act assertively and copy what they do. It is not about pretending to be someone you are not but picking up hints and tips from people you admire and letting the real you come out. There’s no point suddenly saying, I’m going to be ‘Aliko Dangote; africa richest man’, but you might be able to start up your own business empire and gradually grow it to greatness with determination and positive mind set.”

Start saying 'no'- People with low self-esteem often feel they have to say yes to everybody that comes their way, even when they don’t really want to. The risk is that you become overburdened, resentful, angry and depressed. For the most part, saying no doesn’t upset relationships, but can be helpful to take a scratched-record approach. Keep saying no in different ways until they get the message.

Challenge yourself- We all feel nervous or afraid to do things at times, especially for the first time. People with healthy self-esteem don’t let these feelings stop them from trying new things or taking on challenges. Until you try new things, you can never break new grounds. Set yourself a goal, such as joining an exercise class or going to a social occasion. Achieving your goals will help to increase your self-esteem.

Seek help-You may feel you need some help to start seeing yourself in a more positive light, then go for counselling, therapy or life coaching.

Outstanding individuals go out of their way to boost their self-esteem. If you believe in yourself, it's amazing what you can accomplish. Don’t get trapped in low self-esteem!

More from aKoma