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How to Build Your Self Esteem by Identifying and Building Your Character Strengths

Low esteem is suffered by so many that we could actually call it an epidemic. So many of us have been given negative, toxic and hugely untrue messages and information about ourselves by selfish, bullying and childlike others.  Or sometimes it is by those who “mean well” but their message is nevertheless demeaning and makes us feel bad. Sometimes we fail at something or are rejected by someone we cared about and this leaves us feeling ashamed, stupid or unworthy.

Whatever the reason may be, low self esteem is a life sucker. It taints all of your thoughts and actions and limits the things that you choose to do or expose yourself to out of fear of hurt or failure. Or worse yet, it is not just the fear of these things but that you already possess the certain knowledge that these things will occur. The crystal ball has been pulled out and you see these certain disasters playing out before your eyes.

Obviously these untruths have to be addressed at some point and their power taken away. That can be done. Everyone has value and matters. It is finding and building on your true self that will help to start to unravel the dysfunctional and destructive messages that you may have been given. Every strength that you identify in yourself and learn to value and share serves as a building block to healthy self esteem. I say share because when you allow others to see and benefit from your strengths it is easy to see just how much value you really have.

So how do you go about identifying your strengths?

The VIA Institute, in conjunction with the founders of Positive Psychology, have identified 24 character strengths that we all possess to some degree. To how much of a degree is what makes us all different. You can take their free survey to identify your strengths here.

Once you have identified yours, it will be your job to decide how to best use those strengths on a daily basis. Research indicates that you get the most benefit by using them daily. Given that there are 24, you can use your top 10 and have plenty to work with.

You may find that kindness and appreciation of beauty are your two biggest strengths. You will need to find a way to utilize those. Kind acts are gratifying in and of themselves and the smile and genuine gratitude you elicit in someone whose work you have admired does a lot to boost the day!

I believe this work to be critical to happiness, emotional well being and healthy self esteem. You may have experienced trauma in your past, bullying and/or have been the recipient of toxic and dysfunctional messages that have negatively impacted your life. Time to put those lies behind you and find out for yourself what you are really made of. I think you will really like it.

How to Build Your Self Esteem by Identifying and Building Your Character Strengths

Audrey Sherman, Ph.D.

Dr. Audrey Sherman is a licensed psychologist, coach and the author of the book Dysfunction Interrupted-How to Quickly Overcome Depression, Anxiety and Anger Starting Now. Her expertise is in defining, describing and transforming dysfunctional behavior and thought patterns learned in childhood or beyond that keep you anxious, depressed, angry, stuck in unhappy and unproductive relationships, jobs and more. Dr. Sherman developed the Dysfunctional Patterns Quiz and other free resources to help you determine the effects of these on your life. She works with individuals, conducts live and online workshops and trains others in her programs. To learn more about Dr. Sherman, you can visit her website.

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APA Reference
Sherman, A. (2019). How to Build Your Self Esteem by Identifying and Building Your Character Strengths. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Feb 2019
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