What is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the psychological assessment of a person’s worthiness or level of worth. Self-esteem encompasses various psychological states, including self-image, beliefs about oneself and others, and personal attributes, such as happiness, guilt, shame, embarrassment, and accomplishment. When a person feels that he/she is worthy to be around and do things that are positive to others, they will view themselves in a more positive light. People with higher self-esteem often have higher self-confidence levels and a better sense of socialization.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for a Human Being provides a description of how the self-image and esteem may vary from one person to another. The first level of the hierarchy is self-image. This level includes one’s image of one’s own self, which can be influenced by family, early life experiences, which may have made a negative impression of the self. Self-image can also be impacted by how much time and effort people want to put into looking and feeling good. In order to increase self-acceptance, individuals need to do something to improve their self-image.
The second level of the hierarchy of needs includes beliefs about themselves, which can also be influenced by family, early life experiences, which might have made a negative impression of the self. A person who has low self-esteem often does not take responsibility for his/her own actions and can only blame other people for their negative impressions. Individuals with low self-esteem also have a problem accepting change and do not readily adapt to new environments. These traits, when coupled with the lack of self-acceptance, will cause people with low self-esteem to feel unworthy and worthless.
A person with a positive social network, however, will have higher levels of self-esteem, even though he/she does not have a high self-image. People who belong to social and workgroups, as well as interact with individuals who share similar beliefs, values, and goals, are exposed to positive social influences, which can boost self-esteem. Individuals who belong to a small group, or are part of a workgroup, are much more likely to feel that they belong and that others share their goals and values. This is especially important for those who, for one reason or another, were not raised to think as highly of themselves as others do. If you are part of a work team and/or social network, you will be much more likely to develop your positive self-image if you participate in activities that you admire or are interested in.
Developing a healthy sense of self-image requires more than simply knowing what you look like. It also includes being confident and competent in various capacities. Self-image also depends on the extent to which you believe that you deserve love, success, happiness, and career success. While it’s important to know what you look like and how other people perceive your appearance, you must also have a healthy sense of self-confidence and assertiveness if you want to develop high self-esteem.
The fifth section of the free pdf, Self Esteem – The Role of Compassion, addresses the issue of self-compassion as it relates to your own health and well-being. In addition to addressing outward appearances, the authors discuss inner feelings such as anxiety and depression, as well. They describe how depression, anxiety, and other mental problems lead to greater levels of stress and other health issues. In order to improve your self-esteem and your health, you must first address these issues with self-compassion.