Self esteem is the individual’s subjective assessment of his or her worth as a person. Self esteem encompasses various psychological states, including mental states, personal achievements, optimism, pessimism, guilt, and humiliation. A person’s self-esteem can be high when meeting new people, performing well in school or work, or experiencing an exceptional level of success in an area they are good at. However, a low self esteem can also occur in times of great stress, when a person comes across a difficult situation that upsets them to the point that they begin to doubt their own ability.
As such, a healthy sense of self-worth depends on three elements – the strength of the ego, the power of the will to change, and the stability of one’s beliefs and opinions. A strong ego serves to protect us from having negative thoughts about ourselves, which in turn strengthens our ability to withstand certain external problems or events. Ego strength also determines how we experience happiness, sadness, optimism, guilt, or other emotions. A healthy sense of self-worth is the foundation upon which all other self-esteem issues depend.
One of the keys to maintaining a positive self esteem is maintaining a positive self concept. According to Rosemary Rosenberg, there are three essential components of a self-concept: the meaning we attribute to our personal characteristics, the quality of our relationships, and the extent to which we believe that we deserve all that we have. These three components interact with one another, resulting in the self-concept that we have. The following is a description of each of these components and the role they play in the self-worth construction process.
First, the meaning we attribute to our personal traits and characteristics. Ted talks about positive self-image as being the product of a positive self-image, so if you have a low self-image it’s important to work on building your self-image. On the other hand, a person who believes he or she is worthy of love, respect, recognition, and other positive qualities has high self-esteem.
Next, the quality of our relationships and the extent to which we believe that we deserve them. In order to build a high self-esteem, it is necessary to have a strong sense of self-acceptance. To be self-accepting means accepting that we have bad habits and that we make mistakes. Self-acceptance is an essential component of positive psychology and one of the keys to improving self esteem. It’s also important for the improvement of relationships; people who lack self-acceptance in one area may end up having difficulties accepting and loving others.
Finally, the extent to which we believe that we have control over our lives and the extent to which we are self-aware and self-accountable. One of the ways that enhancing self-esteem can work for us is through the use of affirmations; when we create affirmations, we essentially mentally rehearse positive thoughts and ideas about ourselves. The more we believe in and are self-accountable to these thoughts, the higher our self-esteem.