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How Can Self-Esteem Help You Through Difficult Situations?

Apr 26, 2024 | Self-Esteem

When facing a challenging situation, our inner voice often guides us through it. However, when this inner voice becomes more of a critic than a guide, it indicates a mismatch between our self-esteem and resilience to tackle difficult situations.

When navigating life’s difficulties, healthy self-esteem is an anchor, providing the emotional stability and courage to face adversity head-on. However, when individuals lack self-esteem, their foundation for resilience meets resistance, leaving individuals vulnerable to stress and overwhelmed by obstacles.

Recognizing and addressing low self-esteem is crucial for building resilience to tackle the complexities of life. It starts with the understanding that self-esteem is not a fixed trait but a quality that can be developed over time.

The Link Between Self-Esteem and Resilience

Self-esteem represents an individual’s belief in themselves and their inner value, an interior self-worth that develops throughout one’s life. High self-esteem provides a foundation of confidence, or one’s belief in one’s ability to accomplish tasks, enabling individuals to face challenges with determination and a positive outlook on success.

Emotional resilience is one’s ability to manage and bounce back from stressful situations. Resilience acts as an emotional buffer to stress, allowing individuals to view these situations neutrally and in a broader context. Seeing these situations in a wider perspective allows individuals to respond to them effectively and constructively.

In this context, self-esteem, confidence, and resilience are related in the following ways:

  • Self-esteem serves as a metric of interior value and worth.
  • Confidence is one’s belief in their ability to accomplish tasks, representing situational and external manifestations of self-esteem.
  • Resilience is one’s ability to face challenging tasks or situations, representing situational and internal responses rooted in self-esteem.

Self-esteem is a stable self-concept that slowly changes over time, with opportunities to increase one’s positive self-perception available at any point in life. Confidence and resilience are rooted in self-esteem but manifest in challenging situations or environments.

How Self-Esteem Helps You Face Life’s Difficulties

Resilient individuals see obstacles as opportunities for growth, a perspective that is based on high self-esteem. Resilience provides the emotional flexibility to adapt to situations, learn from experiences, and persist despite setbacks.

This adaptability is rooted in a positive self-concept, where setbacks are not seen as impossible tasks but as challenges to be navigated and learned from. Understanding that a stressful situation is temporary and surmountable, and that you will be the same person after it resolves, provides a strong foundation for facing difficult environments or situations.

How Low Self-Esteem Affects Resilience

In contrast, low self-esteem can limit one’s ability to take on challenges or handle stressful situations. When people doubt their worth and abilities, they are less likely to approach challenges with the optimism and persistence necessary to overcome them. This lack of confidence can lead to a fear of failure, reinforcing avoidance and a reluctance to take risks or step out of comfort zones.

Additionally, individuals with low self-esteem often have a heightened sensitivity to criticism and a tendency to dwell on failures rather than see opportunities for growth. Instead of facing obstacles head-on, they may resort to coping mechanisms that temporarily ease discomfort but ultimately limit the development of self-esteem.

Low self-esteem affects not only an individual’s ability to handle stressful situations but also how that individual copes with failure and responds to setbacks. Addressing low self-esteem is crucial to building a foundation of self-worth and the ability to handle life’s stresses positively and constructively.

Strategies to Improve Self-Esteem for Better Resilience

Improving self-esteem is a deeply personal journey, originating from within and accessible to anyone. It’s essential to acknowledge that while the foundation of self-worth must come from within, the path to enhancing self-esteem is not one we have to walk alone.

For individuals facing challenges with resilience, recognizing the internal source of self-esteem is the first step toward fostering a positive self-perception. When self-esteem is nurtured, it becomes a powerful tool in enhancing resilience, offering a more stable platform from which to face life’s challenges.

Here are some of the most effective strategies to build your self-esteem:

  • Practice Self-Compassion: Begin by treating yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would a friend in distress. Self-compassion involves recognizing your worth, forgiving your mistakes, and accepting that imperfection is part of the human experience.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Establish achievable goals for tasks you are interested in pursuing. Achieving these goals can provide a sense of accomplishment and progress, reinforcing your belief in the ability to accomplish difficult tasks.
  • Learn New Skills: Developing new skills or hobbies can significantly boost your self-esteem. It provides tangible evidence of your capabilities and ability to take on new challenges.
  • Cultivate Supportive Relationships: Surround yourself with supportive and understanding people who encourage your growth and value your worth.
  • Reflect on Past Successes: Take time to acknowledge and celebrate your past successes. Remembering when you were able to overcome challenges and succeed despite setbacks can help reinforce self-esteem.

While another cannot give self-esteem, it can be effectively guided and modeled. For many children, parents serve as essential role models to establish self-esteem in early development.

For individuals who didn’t have good models of self-esteem growing up, or have come to doubt their self-worth, one of the most effective environments to constructively build self-perception is with the support of a therapist.

In the neutral and nonjudgmental setting of therapy, individuals can explore the roots of their self-perception, learn constructive strategies for self-worth, and practice these techniques in a safe environment. A therapist can offer valuable insights and encouragement while modeling healthy self-esteem through understanding, empathy, and professional guidance.

Build Your Self-Esteem With Start My Wellness

Self-esteem, our perception of self-worth, is a cornerstone of our mental well-being that supports our ability to face and navigate life’s challenges effectively. The journey to enhancing self-esteem is both personal and transformative, paving the way for more confidence and improved resilience in challenging situations.

Start My Wellness understands the critical role of self-esteem in building resilience and is dedicated to assisting you on your path to self-discovery and growth. We are committed to providing personalized strategies that boost self-esteem and empower individuals to tackle life’s challenges with grace and strength.

If you’re ready to start the journey towards a stronger, more resilient self, Start My Wellness is here to guide you every step. Call us today at (248)-514-4955 and meet our therapists to take your next step to wellness.


  1. Start My Wellness: What is Self Esteem and Why is it Useful?
  2. Start My Wellness: How Does Self-Esteem Differ From Self-Confidence?
  3. National Library of Medicine: Social Support, Resilience, and Self-Esteem Protect Against Common Mental Health Problems in Early Adolescence
  4. Start My Wellness: From Doubt to Confidence: Nurturing Your Self-Esteem
  5. Start My Wellness: Respect Yourself: Self-Compassion as a Pathway to Personal Growth
Dr. Anton Babushkin

Author: Anton Babushkin, PhD

Looking for a Therapist? Start My Wellness has highly experienced Licensed Therapists that are currently accepting new patients.


Blog Posts Tags: Self-Confidence
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