The Diet Detective: Is Low Self-Esteem Making You Fat?

Do you love yourself? What is self-esteem? Self-esteem can be a hard concept to grasp—especially if you've been suffering from a lifelong lack of it. It has nothing to do with arrogance, success, wealth or social status. Nor does self-esteem rely solely on what others think of you.

Even the people who are most successful and revered in the eyes of others: heads of state, humanitarians, movie stars can lack self-esteem. As the word implies, self-esteem blossoms from within—it comes from yourself. It has nothing to do with your relationship to the outside world.

Now that we've identified what self-esteem is not, what is it exactly?

1. It's how you see yourself.

Think of self-esteem as a mental image of how you feel about yourself. This image colors all your goals, moods and behaviors. Self-esteem is based on your judgment of yourself, not on other people's assessment of you.

2. Self-esteem is a feeling of competency.

We all harbor insecurities. Contrary to what some may think, healthy self-esteem does not mean being conceited about your abilities, nor is trying to be perfect all the time a surefire self-esteem booster. Make no mistake, healthy self-esteem is not a cure-all for life's obstacles; it merely helps you cope with the inevitable setbacks.

3. Self-esteem is learned.

Luckily, with a little work, we can all develop self-esteem: It flourishes from within and you do have control over it.

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