People easily interchange the terms “self-confidence” and “self-esteem.” Self-esteem is how we regard and value ourselves just as we are. It entails self-acceptance and the worth we put into ourselves. Meanwhile, self-confidence points to the confidence we have in certain areas of our lives. It could be about our talent, work skills, or anything we are good at.
Due to this common misconception, many people have been caught up in the pressures of climbing the corporate ladder, focusing attention on their looks, and pushing themselves to be better than others.
We present the common misconceptions or myths about self-esteem and some hard facts we ought to know about.
Myths about Self-Esteem
Myth #1: Positive Thinking Can Cure Bad Feelings
“Just look on the bright side.”
We often hear people say this whenever someone is feeling down. Admittedly, we sometimes say this to our friends who are having bad feelings as well.
Several studies have shown that the human mind is hardwired into valuing negative thoughts over positive ones. We are so easily obsessed with the bad that we tend to forget the good quickly.
In psychology, this phenomenon is called negative bias. It is common among individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression. Thus, dwelling on negative thoughts is not a conscious choice. It is something embedded in us that is a product of years of evolution.
Our ancestors gave more attention to bad, dangerous, and negative things to survive. Essentially, bad thoughts are our brain’s way of reminding us to keep safe.
However, people can learn to see the positive side of situations despite being innately pessimistic. Rather than forcing ourselves to think of happy thoughts, let us accept that we are not always happy and that it is normal to have a range of emotions.
Myth #2: You Need To Strive To Be Happy
We are living in a world immersed in the culture of happiness. In fact, there are plenty of self-help books insisting on reminding us to strive to be happy.
However, the harder you fight for happiness, the more unhappy you become. The more value you place on happiness, the worse you will feel. Truth is, happiness is fleeting. There are times in our lives when we feel elated, but it does not last long. The reason is that the changing circumstances in our lives easily affect our emotions.
Furthermore, placing happiness on the pedestal only leaves you miserable since you are aware within yourself that you are not happy.
Faking it until you make it does not lead to genuine happiness. Rather than making the pursuit of happiness your main goal, it is better to draw your attention to other things in life. That way, you can focus on being grateful for the simple things you experience every day.
Myth #3: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
“Stop comparing yourself to others.” This is one of the most common tips that people say to improve our self-esteem. As most coaches and personal development books tell us, comparing yourself with others only leads to unhappiness. However, comparisons can be a good thing.
Doing what these books and coaches tell us about not comparing ourselves with others may stunt our own growth. It gives us a sense of false belief that we are unique. That is why we cannot achieve what others can. This can be a dangerous way of thinking, as we tend to settle for the circumstances we currently have, even when we can make changes to improve our current state.
Comparison has extensively been used in the scientific field. Without comparisons, there would have been no substantial discoveries on evolution. On a smaller scale, a good amount of comparison can help us keep track of our strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, we can determine how to be better versions of ourselves. In turn, this boosts our self-esteem.
It would do our mental health a great deal if we stopped listening to pieces of advice that have no scientific basis just because someone famous claims it works. Instead, we need to learn what works for us and what makes us happy.
If you think working on your physical appearance by going on a diet geared toward losing weight, visiting a professional orthodontist to have your teeth straightened, or treating your baldness through experts with micropigmentation training, then go for it.
Rather than simply allowing a book or someone else tell you how to be happy, find out what it is that you truly want to achieve in life. Remember, just because a concept is widely known by many does not necessarily mean that they are true.