Sara was excited to start a new job with a reputed MNC. The job was right up her street and she was confident of her skills.

However, a few days into work she realized her boss was a difficult person with a my-way-or-the-highway approach.

When she disagreed with his ideas at a strategy meeting, he did not take it well. He became aggressive and put her down by running down her suggestions.

But Sara wasn’t disheartened or scared. Instead, she confidently said, “I know what I am saying has not been tried in this company, but I have no doubt that this strategy can deliver better results than what you are proposing.”

Sara had high self-esteem, which enabled her to stand up for herself and not get intimidated.

Typically, most people are likely to agree with the boss for fear of losing their jobs or hurting their careers.

However, people with high self-esteem don’t get intimidated or shape their opinions to please others. Apart from high self-esteem, they also have conviction in their ideas.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is critical for success in life in general and work in particular. What is self-esteem? Quite simply, it is another term for self-worth or self-respect.

A person’s self-esteem plays a large part in determining whether he or she will succeed in life. People with high self-esteem are self-aware and have complete faith in their abilities. They believe in analytically evaluating situations. Their response to any challenge or provocation is not based on emotions or ego but guided by what they feel is right.

If you ask a psychologist what self-esteem means, he or she will define it as a person’s assessment of their personal value.

In simpler words, it is the appreciation and love you have for yourself. People with healthy self-esteem are happy with their appearance, beliefs, emotions, and social behaviors.

Pick up any self-help book or ask any motivation expert on how to increase self-esteem and chances are the advice you will get is, “Believe in yourself.”

Many believe that self-esteem at work will help them through any situation. That isn’t always true, but knowing what is meant by self-esteem, understanding your abilities, and accepting oneself is crucial to success and happiness. Our belief in our abilities motivates us to work towards and eventually achieve our goals.

Factors influencing self-esteem

Self-esteem at work is a crucial personality trait that can shape your future. However, like other human traits, self-esteem is also influenced by several factors. You can increase self-esteem through conditioning. Harappa Education’s Interpreting Self course will help you understand yourself so you can boost your self-esteem. This course will enable you to identify your strengths so you can build your self-esteem.

Your self-esteem is influenced by several factors listed below:

  1. Personality:

Some people tend to be timid, shy, or reluctant to meet new people and try new things. Over time this can become a habit. Some people who have this kind of personality lack self-esteem. They are afraid of getting out of their comfort zone.

It is important to be open to trying new things and to stick to your goals even in the face of setbacks and failures. Having a can-do spirit and a sense of excitement for each new day will give you a boost. Trying and excelling at things will increase your self-esteem at work. To do this, you may need to examine your personality and let go of the negativity and self-doubt that is holding you back.

  1. Health:

We may sometimes want to do things that we aren’t healthy or fit enough to do. Feeling held back from doing what one dreams of on account of one’s poor health can severely impact one’s sense of confidence and happiness.

If someone is keen to take up sports or go trekking or indulge in adventure activities, but their health issues prevent them from fulfilling their wishes, they may develop a sense of inadequacy. Over time this can lead to low self-esteem.

  1. Thoughts:

Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions. We don’t realize how impactful our own thoughts can be on our mood and perspective. There is a critical voice in everyone’s head, which we use to talk to ourselves. When one thinks they failed at something, their inner voice may become a harsh and critical voice. This can lower their sense of confidence and self-esteem.

It is important to be aware of our shortcomings and failures, but we should avoid being overly critical of ourselves. If we have positive and happy thoughts about our own abilities, it will boost our self-esteem.

  1. Social reactions and comparisons:

Many people have a tendency to keep comparing themselves to others. When they see other people succeed, it can make them feel inadequate and impact their self-esteem. Think about the last time you heard of someone achieving something. It could be a friend or coworker getting a promotion, or a celebrity getting an award. How did you react to the news? If you felt bad about yourself and compared yourself unfavorably to the other person, it probably lowered your self-esteem.

We are often conditioned to evaluate ourselves against others. The pressure to adhere to social norms of success can be very high. Failure in these areas can often impact a person’s self-esteem. But it is important to remember that no one is perfect. Each person’s goals and journeys are different.

Importance of self-esteem

You have already seen how self-esteem affects people’s lives.   People with high self-esteem feel good about themselves. They feel positive about every situation and have faith in their ability to overcome adverse situations or challenges.

However, a person with low self-esteem sees himself in poor light and feels he is incapable of achieving success. Low self-esteem can easily demoralize a person. Thus, self-esteem is an important factor that determines one’s success and happiness in various aspects of life.

Impact of self-esteem on our lives

Let’s take a look at the various areas of life which are affected by our level of self-esteem:

  1. Relationships:

Humans are social animals. It’s a natural impulse to forge new relationships and nurture the bonds we have with others. A person with healthy self-esteem is bound to have a positive outlook and find it easy to start and maintain relationships with others. People with self-esteem are generally secure and confident about themselves. This makes others seek them out for friendship.

On the other hand, a person with low esteem harbors negative feelings, insecurities, and fears that adversely impact his or her relationships.

  1. Lifestyle:

People make lifestyle choices based on how they feel about themselves. Those with a healthy amount of self-confidence and self-esteem create a life that feels comfortable to them. However, people with low self-esteem tend to have a poorer quality of life. They don’t have the confidence to build a good life for themselves and tend to settle for whatever they get.

  1. Mental and emotional wellness:

Those with low self-esteem tend to have self-doubt and low confidence. This can lead to nervousness, low motivation, low energy, feelings of disconnection, and helplessness. They don’t recognize their strengths and potential, so they don’t aim high. This leads to frustration and a persistent longing for a better life and lifestyle.

High self-esteem helps one stay mentally and emotionally healthy. People with high self-esteem tend to be more content and happy.

Signs of healthy self-esteem

It is not difficult to identify a person with high self-esteem. Such people are confident, commanding, and have an unmistakable air of self-awareness, self-control, and self-respect. A person with high self-esteem is usually courteous and firm. However, there is always a fine line between healthy self-esteem and excessive self-esteem. The latter can lead to overconfidence and arrogance.

Signs to identify healthy self-esteem

Here are some of the signs that will help you identify whether a person has healthy self-esteem or not:

  • People with self-esteem are well aware of the difference between being confident and being arrogant. They are confident but humble.

  • People with self-esteem know themselves well and are not afraid of feedback. They can take negative feedback constructively without getting demoralized.

  • Such people have faith in their thoughts, abilities, beliefs, and values. They don’t crave acceptance or compromise on their beliefs simply to make others happy.

  • Self-esteem gives people self-confidence and helps them stand up for themselves and what they believe is right.  Such people don’t shy away from conflicts and are able to resolve differences calmly.

  • People with healthy self-esteem accept failure as part of life. They don’t let failures and setbacks discourage them from working towards their goals.

  • Their ability to accept failure or setbacks makes them adaptive and more likely to improve than others. People with high self-esteem understand their strengths and weaknesses. They don’t see their shortcomings as permanent and work to improve them.


Self-esteem is a trait that enables people to understand their strengths and weaknesses. People with positive self-esteem are happy with their personalities and abilities. They are confident in their ability to improve and also help others.

Self-esteem is not an ability that someone is born with. It is a personality trait that can be cultivated. People with low self-esteem can build their self-esteem through study and practice. There are various self-esteem building activities and courses offered by Harappa Education that can be instrumental in building self-esteem.

Explore the blogs in our Harappa Diaries section to learn more about topics related to the Lead habit such as stress management, emotional intelligence, and the meaning of resilience.

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