In the last of our news items as part of the 16 Days campaign, Jane our Domestic Abuse Case Worker talks about self esteem, why it is so important and how to keep hold of it.

What is self-esteem?

Simply put, it is the extent to which you like, value and accept yourself for who you are right now. It is your power and your strength – and that is why an abuser will work so hard to rob you of it.

What does Healthy self-esteem actually look like?

Here are a just few thought indicators: -

  • I like and respect myself.
  • I am able to assess my strengths and weaknesses honestly, without undue pride or shame.
  • I set my own ‘emotional weather – I do not depend on others to feel okay.
  • I accept myself as I am right now, - I don’t have to wait until I’ve ‘improved’ myself in some way.
  • I take care of all aspects of my well-being– physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (whatever that means to me).  
  • I trust my own judgement about what is and is not okay for me.
  • I am able to face my mistakes – and learn from them.
  • I am able to balance ‘being’ and doing – (I am neither over or under active).
  • I am able to give and receive love.
  • I spend time with people who accept and support me.

Why is it important?

What blue berries are to superfoods – so healthy self-esteem is to your emotional health – it is no less than an internalised super power that nourishes and protects, no matter what happens externally.

Healthy self-esteem is empowering, it allows you freedom and choice to be the person you want to be.  When you stumble, it will help restore your balance – it offers the gift of resilience – the ability to bend without breaking.

So how do you get and keep this amazing power?

Self-esteem is something we all have –  it is sometimes compared to an acorn – it has the potential for incredible strength– it just needs good growing conditions to stay healthy.

Ten ways to grow your acorn (self-esteem):

  • Do things that make you happy – time spent on what you enjoy will help build your confidence and positive thinking.
  • Accept that nobody is perfect – we all make mistakes, it’s how we grow.
  • Get moving – Taking even a small amount of exercise can really boost your mood and your confidence.
  • Be a pal – helping and supporting someone else is good for them, and it can really boost your sense of purpose and well-being.
  • Focus on what you can change, and accept that there are certain things that are beyond your control – so don’t waste energy on them.
  • Listen to your internal voice – if it is harsh or judgmental you can change it to become more encouraging and supportive – this takes some practice, but it is worth it!
  • Small steps – if you want to make changes, set yourself goals that are meaningful to you, and achievable.
  • You do you! - decide not to compare yourself with others– other people show you the side of themselves they want you to see – so you end up comparing your worst bits with their best bits.
  • Surround yourself with radiators not drains – choose to be with warm, positive people who value you, rather than negative one’s that drain you of energy.
  • Be compassionate and forgiving towards yourself - Treat yourself the way you would treat your oldest, dearest and most cherished friend – especially when you are hurt or discouraged

Accessing support

If you are 18 years or over, male or female, living in the Three Rivers area and you have been affected by domestic abuse, then click here to access our Domestic Abuse Service.

If you are 18 years or over, male or female, living in the Three Rivers area and feel that your actions may be harming someone you live with and you would like our help, then click here to access our Domestic Abuse (Prevention) Service.

You can also contact the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088, open from 9am - 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 4pm weekends. For more information click here.