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Building Self-Esteem

Updated on September 13, 2016

Building Self-Esteem: A Way to Alleviate a Psychological Disorder

The National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE) describes self-esteem as "the experience of being capable of meeting life's challenges and being worthy of happiness," (NASE, 2010). Iyanla Vanzant, a New York Times bestselling author once said, “Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth,” (Sarkis, 2012). Vanzant made a good point when she spoke this, as self-esteem is important to who we are as people and what we can become. Moreover, building one’s self-esteem can help to alleviate a psychological disorder.

People with low self-esteem spend their time trying to impress others and prove themselves to others (Reasoner, 2010). They feel undeserving and feel like they have no worth. They also lack confidence and can be defensive towards others (Reasoner, 2010). Those with a low self-esteem do not take risks, as they do not want to set themselves up for failure (Reasoner, 2010). When they do have failures, however, they often blame others, rather than admitting fault or taking responsibility for their actions (Reasoner, 2010).

Anorexia nervosa is an example of a psychological disorder that can be helped by fostering a healthy self-esteem. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by a psychological disorder. People with anorexia have an unhealthy desire to look thin and they try to fulfill this desire by not eating. One of the contributing factors to why a person would have this disorder is a low self-esteem (Smith, 2014). It has been found that low self-esteem plays a role in causing eating disorders (Reasoner, 2010). As mentioned earlier, people with a low self-esteem try to prove themselves to others and impress others. Those with anorexia feel that they cannot impress people or prove themselves to people looking the way they do. They feel that they must lose weight and look thin for anyone to appreciate them.

Having a healthy self-esteem influences many areas of a person’s life, with mental health being one of them. Those with a healthy self-esteem value themselves as people and appreciate who they are (Oswalt, 2014). Thinking about anorexia, if those with anorexia learn to value and appreciate who they are, they will see that they do not need to be thin in order to be liked or to be worthy. Those with a healthy self-esteem are also “more likely to take care of themselves physically and emotionally, and to persist in difficult and effortful pursuits such as completing their education or mastering an occupation,” (Oswalt, 2010, p.1). Applying this as well to anorexia, if those with anorexia are helped to build their self-esteem it could in turn help with taking care of themselves physically and emotionally. It can also help in getting through difficult pursuits, which in this case would be overcoming an eating disorder.

Depression is another psychological disorder that can be alleviated by building one’s self-esteem. Depression is a serious illness that leaves a person with negative feelings such as sadness, guilt, anger, anxiousness, etc. Another feeling that those with depression deal with is a feeling of worthlessness (NIMH, 2014). Worthiness is a trait that comes from having a healthy self-esteem. People with a low self-esteem do not view themselves as worthy. Therefore, building a healthy self-esteem can help people to feel worthy. Another symptom that those with depression may deal with is feelings of suicide (NIMH, 2014). Moreover, it has been found that low self-esteem is related to people committing suicide (Reasoner, 2010). Taking that into consideration, it makes sense that raising one’s self-esteem could in turn lower the suicidal thoughts and thus feelings of depression.

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Build Your Self Esteem

Building one’s self-esteem can have positive effects on that person’s mental health. The higher a person’s self-esteem, the more likely they are to be able to cope with challenges life throws. A healthy self-esteem can also help a person realize that they are a worthwhile person and that they deserve to be happy. Instead of their mind being filled with negative thoughts and emotions, they can have positive thoughts about themselves and others. It is also beneficial when it comes to taking risks and living life. As mentioned before, a person with a low self-esteem is afraid to take risks, as they are scared to set themselves up for failure. A healthy self-esteem can help a person to live life to the fullest each day without being scared or anxious. Last, a higher self-esteem will help a person socially. They will be able to talk to people with confidence and this can help to build friendships and relationships with others. All of the aforementioned points are ways in which building one’s self-esteem can have a large, positive impact on building one’s mental health and diminishing a psychological disorder he or she may have.

Self-esteem is an important concept to who we are as people. Having a healthy self-esteem can positively affect many areas of a person’s life. Having a low self-esteem though can be debilitating and is a factor in causing psychological disorders. As described above, a healthy self-esteem can help to alleviate a psychological disorder, anorexia nervosa and depression being examples. Raising one’s self-esteem also raises feelings of self-worth, positive feelings such as being happy or excited, and confidence. All the positive thoughts, emotions, and feelings that a healthy self-esteem brings about are helpful in eliminating or bettering a psychological disorder.


National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE). (2010). Welcome. Retrieved from

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2014). What Is Depression? Retrieved from

Oswalt, A. (2014). Benefits of Healthy High Self-Esteem. Behavioral Connections. Retrieved from

Reasoner, R. (2010). The True Meaning of Self-Esteem. National Association for Self-Esteem. Retrieved from

Sarkis, S. (2012). Here, There, and Everywhere. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

Smith, M., Segal, J., (2014). Anorexia Nervosa. HelpGuide. Retrieved from


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