When looking for happiness, one of the most important things to each of us is our self-esteem. As we grow up, we all search for the feeling that we are complete, and secure in our own image and personality. There are many ways to boost your own self-esteem, trying to think of ourselves positively, exercising, and doing things we enjoy are among some of the best ways to make feel happy with ourselves. However, many of the best ways to improve our self-esteem depend on others.

Major points that contribute to a high self-esteem are confidence in our outside appearances and our abilities, and how good of a person we believe we are. While we are capable of working on all of these aspects, working on our morals can be one of the most rewarding ways to build self-esteem. Believing that we are good people is one of the most important to feel good about ourselves in general.

But what makes us believe we are good people? Do we have to have only positive thoughts about others, and love each person unconditionally? That seems undoable for most of us, and even if we could, it would take all of our effort. An article by The Huffington Post says, “Helping other people is one of the most effective ways to boost your self-esteem, research shows. That, in turn, uncorks a whole bottle of brain hormones and can lead to happiness, health, and well-being.”

There are many ways to help other people, some of the most common ones being philanthropy and supporting the people we are closest to. While philanthropy can be a great way to help others, most of us don’t have time or energy to fit regular volunteer work into our schedules often enough for us to internally establish that we are good people. A more realistic approach is to start with those who you are already close to, by supporting them and giving yourself to them emotionally when they need you most.

I conducted a survey to get some answers on how self-esteem and general happiness are connected to supporting our friends and family. In the survey, I asked peers how often they give and receive emotional support, as well as how happy they are about themselves, how good of people they think they are, and how happy they generally are in life.

I was not surprised to see that there was a direct correlation between those who gave more emotional support to others and those who saw themselves as good people. There was also a correlation between how participants rated themselves on how good of a person they were, and how happy they were with themselves overall. In addition, the higher their scores were about happiness with themselves, the higher they were on their overall happiness.

95% of participants who said they offered emotional support to others often or very often ranked themselves from 6-10 for their general happiness. Participants who said they emotionally supported others sometimes, not often, or never had scores of overall happiness that averaged at 6.

Conducting this survey helped confirm that helping others regularly causes us to see ourselves as better people, leading to better self-esteem and overall happiness. It is important for us to be there for others to make connections that help us live a more positive and happy life.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Helping Others is Crucial for Self-Esteem by Lindsay is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

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