IT is not easy being a young person in this day and age. Young people face many challenges growing up. At times they are treated like children and at times they are treated like adults so long as the person who is dealing with them stands to benefit.
By Fadzayi Maposah
One issue that affects young people today is the issue of self -esteem especially low self- esteem. Self- esteem is the value that we put on ourselves, it includes the way we think, the way we perceive, feel and act. In short it denotes the self- worth or value that we put on ourselves. Self –esteem can either be low or high.
How can a person know if they have high self-esteem or low self- esteem?
A person with high self -esteem is enthusiastic, the person has high self -drive. In short the person is bubbly and does not care much about people who might want to burst their bubble.
Optimism is one way of knowing that an individual has high self- esteem. As the old adage goes, the person is always looking for the silver lining in every cloud. The phrase keep hope alive drives an individual with high self- esteem.
Ambition is one key attribute of a person with high self- esteem. Besides being a dreamer, the individual actually has a game plan regarding what they want to do and how they intend to get there.
It is not difficult to pick out an individual with high self- esteem especially where there are team activities because the individual is a team player eager to cooperate with others to get things done.in working with others well, the individual has respect for him/herself and others that they are working with exhibiting high levels of kindness in the way that they act, talk and treat others.
The individual who has high self- esteem accepts responsibility, either to do something or even when things do not work out for the mistakes that they could have made. When a task is up for grabs and they know their potential regarding what is at stake, they are quick to volunteer their service and skills with confidence and are proactive.
Having looked at the characteristics of high self- esteem it is important to now look at how one with low self- esteem can be noticed.
An individual with low self-esteem is pessimistic, always just finding the negative aspects in everything and can also exhibit trait of aggression especially when they feel that their thoughts/views are not being the necessary recognition. The individual is passive and waits for others to decide for them what they could decide on their own because they have an uncaring and negative attitude to everything or most things regarding their life.
The individual with low self- esteem also displays high levels of irresponsibility. As a result the individual quickly becomes depressed and is withdrawn. When a person is sought to do a task, the person with low self -esteem is quick to volunteer others as if he/she is not there.
Low self- esteem is not good. People should work towards getting high self -esteem. There are conditions in child hood that can contribute to an individual having low self –esteem. The presence of negative role models in childhood is one contributing factor. As children grow, the people around them have an influence regarding how they will turn out.
An adolescent who grows up in an environment where everyone is passive and withdrawn might consider that as a normal situation when it is not. At times parents/guardians have very low expectations regarding a child such that the child does not see the point of achieving anything because the people who are around him have as good as dismissed him/her as one who can do something. Too much criticism, being laughed at, mocked, can also contribute to an individual having low self- esteem.
In the next article we look at how young people can be assisted to build self esteem.
About The Authour: Fadayi Maposah is the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council ZNFPC) Provincial Marketing and Communcations Officer.