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Self Esteem

You can't touch it, but it affects how you feel. You can't see it, but it might be there when you
look at yourself in the mirror. You can't hear it, but it's there when you talk about yourself or
when you think about yourself. What is this important but mysterious thing? It's your self-
esteem!

What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem can have a big part to play in how you feel about yourself and also how much you
enjoy things or worry about things.

To understand self-esteem, it helps to break the term into two words. Let's first take a look at the
word esteem (say: ess-teem), which means that someone or something is important, special, or
valuable. For example, if you really admire your friend's dad because he volunteers at the fire
department, it means you hold him in high esteem.

And self means, well, yourself! So put the two words together and it's easier to see what self-
esteem is. It's how much you value yourself and how important you think you are. It's how you
see yourself and how you feel about the things you can do.

Self-esteem means truly loving and valuing oneself and is a personal assessment of worthiness.
Persons with high self-esteem appear poised and confident and are less influenced by others.
Building self-esteem is an ongoing process. It re affirms that you have accepted yourself as you
are, but continue to work on capitalizing on your strengths.

An individual with high self-esteem feels good about him, and can face the challenges of life
more effectively. High self-esteem provides the basis for success and coping with daily living in
a rapidly changing environment. Individuals are responsible for building their self-esteem;
however, family, parents, teachers, and friends can provide support and influence many of their
life decisions and choices.
Self-esteem is the way we relate to ourselves, to others, and to life in general. It affects the way
we learn, work, and build relationships. Our personal success or failure lies in our self-esteem.
If we believe we can we do. If we believe we cant we dont even try. If you have high
self-esteem, you are willing to try new things, develop closer relationships, maintain self-
confidence, and remain flexible.
How people feel about themselves affects everything they do, from forming friendships and
relationships with others, to setting and achieving appropriate goals. Research shows that
students with high self-esteem do better in school have more appropriate friends, and
fewer problems with parents and teachers. They also are less likely to become involved in
destructive behaviors. When people feel good about themselves, they do good things. When
they feel bad about themselves, they may participate in negative behavior patterns and treat
others in a negative manner.
Self-esteem is important in every aspect of life. How we learn, how we work, how we act,
and how we play are all determined by our level of self-esteem. Four factors are important for
an individual to develop and maintain a high level of self-esteem.

Positive Role Models to provide meaningful goals, values, ideals, and standards.
Personal Strength that gives you the ability to influence lifes circumstances.
Uniqueness and Individuality that provide a special personal sense of individual
worth.
Sense of Connectivity and Belonging that foster satisfaction from associations that
are significant.

Self-esteem isn't about bragging, its about getting to know what you are good at and not so good
at. A lot of us think about how much we like other people or things, but don't really think much
about whether we like ourselves.

The most important thing to know about self-esteem is that it means seeing yourself in a positive
way that's realistic, which means that it's the truth. So if you know you're really good at piano but
can't draw so well, you can still have great self-esteem! Self esteem is your opinion of yourself.
High self esteem is a good opinion of your self and low self esteem is a bad opinion of yourself.

So in short self-esteem is how we value ourselves; it is how we perceive our value to the world
and how valuable we think we are to others. Self-esteem affects our trust in others, our
relationships, our work nearly every part of our lives. Positive self-esteem gives us the strength
and flexibility to take charge of our lives and grow from our mistakes without the fear of
rejection.

In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person's overall sense of self-worth or
personal value. Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means that it tends to be
stable and enduring. Self-esteem can involve a variety of beliefs about the self, such as the
appraisal of one's own appearance, beliefs, emotions and behaviors.

The Importance of Self Esteem

Self esteem is crucial and is a cornerstone of a positive attitude towards living. It is very
important because it affects how you think, act and even how you relate to other people. It allows
you to live life to your potential. Low self esteem means poor confidence and that also causes
negative thoughts which mean that you are likely to give up easily rather than face challenges. In
addition, it has a direct bearing on your happiness and wellbeing.

Components of Self-Esteem

According to one definition (Braden, 1969), there are three key components of self-esteem:

1. Self-esteem is an essential human need that is vital for survival and normal, healthy
development.
2. Self-esteem arises automatically from within based upon a person's beliefs and
consciousness.
3. Self-esteem occurs in conjunction with a person's thoughts, behaviors, feelings and
actions.

Your self esteem depends on many questions:

Is your job worthwhile? Do others respect what you do? Do you?


Do you believe you are successful?
How do you see yourself (your self image)?
How do you feel about your strengths and weaknesses?
Are you comparing yourself to others and ignoring the unique value that you have?
What do you think of your social status?
How do you relate to others?
Can you make your own decisions? A lack of choices leads to low self esteem.

Self-Esteem Theories

The need for self-esteem plays an important role in psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of
needs, illustrate self-esteem as one of the basic human motivations. Maslow suggested that
people need both esteem from other people as well as inner self-respect. Both of these needs
must be fulfilled in order for an individual to grow as a person and achieve actualization. It is
important to note that self-esteem is a concept distinct from self-efficacy, which involves the
belief in future actions, performance or abilities.

Self-Esteem Synonyms:

Self-worth
Self-respect
Self-value

REMEMBER:
People who feel good about themselves are more likely to engage in behavior that is in their own
best interests; however, those who suffer from low self-esteem often view themselves as
unlikable and unattractive to others. Developing a high self-esteem begins at birth and is greatly
influenced by the reactions and responses of significant others. Positive self-esteem is reflected
in an optimistic, outgoing personality, while negative self-esteem often results in
underachievement and an inability to interact appropriately with others.

What is low self-esteem? Low self-esteem is a debilitating condition that keeps


individuals from realizing their full potential. A person with low self-esteem feels unworthy,
incapable, and incompetent. In fact, because the person with low self-esteem feels so poorly
about him or herself, these feelings may actually cause the persons continued low self-esteem.

Low self esteem comes from a poor self image. Yourself image is based on how you see
yourself. Do you think you are a good, reliable, hardworking, honest or friendly person? Do you
like what you see when you look in the mirror or do you believe others look better and dress
better than you?

Low self esteem also depends on other factors like your job. For example, do you value the job
you do? Does the job you have help you be happy with who you are? Do the others in your
office respect you?

Low self esteem feeds your negative thinking and causes you to believe the criticism others
make of you. Do you take what others say and not speak up? This can cause you to lose
confidence so it is vital to end negative thoughts if you want to build your self esteem.

Here are some signs of low self-esteem:


Negative view of life
Perfectionist attitude
Mistrusting others even those who show signs of affection
Blaming behavior
Fear of taking risks
Feelings of being unloved and unlovable
Dependence letting others make decisions
Fear of being ridiculed

What is High Self Esteem?

High self esteem is the opposite of the above! If you have a high level of self esteem you will be
confident, happy, have the right attitude to succeed.
Following are some outward signs of high self-esteem:
Confidence
Self-direction
Non-blaming behavior
An awareness of personal strengths
An ability to make mistakes and learn from them
An ability to accept mistakes from others
Optimism
An ability to solve problems
An independent and cooperative attitude
Feeling comfortable with a wide range of emotions
An ability to trust others
A good sense of personal limitations
Good self-care
The ability to say no
How can you raise low self-esteem?
Negative messages from others can add to feelings of low self-esteem, while words of
encouragement and praise can result in a higher sense of self-worth. Comments such as I dont
care, or I cant help it -- thats the way I am, are indicative of low self-esteem. They may
express defeatist attitudes toward life such as it really doesnt matter, I dont care, or what
difference does it make? Beneath the surface of such defenses hides an uncertain person, afraid
to lose the little self-esteem he/or she is protecting by staying away from risk. This person may
be quiet or energetic, but will predictably refuse to participate in things he or she feels unsure of.
Persons with low self-esteem may feel isolated, unloved, unappreciated, and powerless.

Feelings of low self-esteem often build up over a lifetime, and letting go of ingrained feelings
and behaviors is not an easy task. It may take time, hard work, and it may require professional
counseling. But there are some simple, positive thinking techniques that can be used to help
improve self-esteem. These are called affirmations. Using affirmations to stop negative self-talk
is a simple, positive way to help increase self-esteem. Affirmations are encouraging messages we
can give ourselves every day until they become part of our feelings and beliefs. Affirmations
work best when a person is relaxed. But since people are often upset when they are giving
themselves negative self-messages, they may need to counter negative messages with positive
ones. For example, replace the message I made a stupid mistake, and I am no good at this job,
with Yes, I made a mistake but I have learned from it, and now I can a better job. Begin each
day by looking in the mirror and giving yourself a positive message.

The following affirmations can help you to work toward a positive self-image:

I respect myself and others


I am lovable and likable
I am confident, and it shows
I care about myself
I am creating loving, healthy relationships
I am a good friend to myself and others
I accept myself just as I am ,I look great
Life is good, and I like being a part of it

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