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Workplace Self-esteem: How to Better It

Workplace Self-esteem
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What is Self-esteem?

Our self-esteem is how much we value and how we perceive ourselves. A strong and confident sense of self-immunizes against mental health issues, both in personal and professional domains of life.

Building Workplace Self-esteem 

Traditionally, working space has been a source of positive self-esteem, wherein meaningful work and more roles to play, make it all the better. However, in our changing world, the modern workplace is seen to comprise certain psychological stresses. Be it the demanding pace of work, the lack of acknowledgment of effort or the unending hours of work or the competition for productivity, high pressure at work drains one of leisure and family time, the therapeutic spheres of life.

We know that competence is essential to workplace success, professional achievement and personal satisfaction. But without confidence, skill only takes us so far. We are our harshest critics, and nobody is as hard on ourselves as we are. A person with low self-esteem will fall prey to these critical voices in our heads that make him/her feel not good enough, hesitant, disliked, undeserving or even hopeless.

How Stress Affects Workplace Self-esteem?

Stress is also a consequence of workplace dynamics. It presents in the form of changed attitudes towards work or colleagues, lesser job satisfaction, tiredness, rude or aggressive manners, challenging authority and so on. Poor self-esteem often leads to a fear of the new and unfamiliar and it can lead to unproductive work behaviors such as defensiveness, being overly compliant or rebellious.

Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts has quoted in her research, benefits associated with high employee self-esteem. She states that self-esteem is a crucial part of happiness. A high level of self-esteem makes an employee able to trust his/her thinking and judgment and likely to make better decisions. This, in turn, helps to create more effective interpersonal and work relationships and hence, a comfortable work environment. As leaders, high levels of self-esteem enable a person to focus more positively on other people and their development. Maintaining self-esteem is a lifelong psychological process. It is like a mental muscle that must be developed and maintained through regular psychological workouts to prevent depression and anxiety. This helps us to learn to like and respect who we are, no matter what is happening around us. What are the various modes to build positive self-image? Even if it’s just for a few minutes, the pursuit of your passion is extremely rewarding. Spending quality time with children, gardening, singing, dancing, or any of those childhood hobbies are worth reviving. Be proactive about seeking projects that generate passion. Learning new work skills will also add a passion for your work.

Connect with loved ones. It is easy to feel low about oneself when surrounded by people who do not connect with you. Loved ones are the most frequent reminders for why you matter, and they will also serve as reminders for what you are good at, to preserve your self-worth. Converting problematic situations into solution-focused thinking also helps.

Discourage any negative thoughts that drain you out of energy and remind yourself constantly to dispute those thoughts about self.  For example, “I’m so stupid” becomes “So I made a mistake -I’ll learn from it.”

Take criticism with a pinch of salt and loads of patience. It is not worth displacing personal frustrations or anger onto work relationships. Take a deep breath as often as you can remember to and avoid brooding over the tiny problems of today that won’t matter tomorrow. It’s ok not to be perfect.

Conclusion: Self-care and Workplace Self-esteem

Self-care is the key to self-image. The more you spend time taking care of your mind and body mindfully, the more you feel good about yourself, and the confidence shows in your demeanor. Regular introspection into what might be affecting your esteem at workplace and review of one’s strengths and assets might also be helpful. A good deed is welcome but going out of the way to please others can adversely affect your mental health. Saying NO is not a bad thing if it preserves mental health. Setting healthy boundaries and disagreeing with things that do not fit your plan will only make you feel more expressed and in control. Experts often suggest setting small challenges for self at work. It works as a reinforcement mechanism after gaining small rewards at the end of each completed task. Find something you like doing and do more of it. Focus on ‘small wins’ – don’t chase significant achievements. Remember that it is more important to enjoy the ride while watching the miles. Celebrate success as much as accept failures, receive compliments, encourage positives and work on drawbacks patiently, while keeping a healthy balance between work and life.

Dr. Bhakti Murake, Psychiatrist, Juno Clinic: Juno Clinic is on its way to being India’s leading wellbeing company in terms Quality and Reach. We provide a full stack of services including counseling, treatment, and assessment. Our therapists offer to counsel over video/audio/chat. The online platform has been developed specifically for seamless counseling process and high engagement level, which can be used by therapists anywhere in the world.

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