Self-esteem is simply how you feel about yourself; how you value yourself in view of the perceptions you have about who you are and what you are capable of. Psychologists reckon this as important because it influences a person’s thoughts and actions. People with a healthy self-esteem tend to have confidence in who they are, their beliefs and opinions. While the opposite is true for those with low self-esteem. According to Leah Rurangwa, a psychology student, having a healthy self-esteem is crucial for the success of any individual. If you spend time doing the things you enjoy, you’re more likely to think positively. Photos/Net She says, whereas it’s hard for a person to always have confidence in whatever they do, harbouring low self-esteem can cause endless insecurities. She recommends building a positive mind-set for anyone who wants to have healthy self-esteem. “Ensure to focus on the positive things in your life and that of others. The first step, however, to beating low self-esteem is by identifying the things in your life that are bringing you down. Is it your weaknesses or your appearance? Recognising this is an important step in growing the confidence you need,” she says. Flavia Kamugisha, a medic, believes that taking on challenges is another way of boosting self-esteem. “It’s mostly those with low self-esteem who like staying in their comfort zone and build a routine out of their life that they can easily relate to. They fear failure, so they choose to do only what they know, they don’t want to fail so they avoid trying altogether. This can be easy in the short run but often detrimental to one’s growth and progress in the long run,” she says. Challenges tend to boost our confidence, hence, avoiding difficult situations only lessens how great we feel about ourselves, she adds. “When you challenge yourself and find yourself succeeding in a difficult situation, you show yourself that you can achieve the things you set yourself to do, and this boosts your confidence. This, on the other hand, challenges your negative beliefs which will help to improve your self-esteem.” For John Ntaganzwa, an engineer, self-esteem comes with humility. “It is always important to be humble for this allows you to accept your mistakes. Self-esteem means having the courage to be the best version of yourself, nonetheless, it’s important for a person to accept that perfection is an unrealistic goal and understanding this requires humility,” he says. He, however, adds that at times people mistake low-self-esteem with being humble, explaining that these are however two different things. “It’s easy to misinterpret low self-esteem for humility; however, one can have confidence to share their opinion and be humble. Lacking the courage to speak up is not humility on the other hand.” It is also recommended that for one to empower their self-esteem, they need to take good care of their physical and mental health. This is because when a person is healthy, they position themselves to feel good and appreciate who they are. Rurangwa notes that regular exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting enough rest can do wonders for a person’s self-esteem. Also, learning to be assertive comes in handy when building your self-esteem. It’s important to learn to say no, especially to people or things that don’t add up to your value. Being assertive can at times be difficult to practice, especially if you are not used to it, but it is a redeeming trait. Setting boundaries on the other hand is just as important as learning to be assertive. Know what works for you and what doesn’t and cut it off. This applies to relationships too, it’s crucial to focus on building positive relationships and avoid the negative ones.