Self-esteem is a person’s subjective appraisal of his/her worth. It includes beliefs about one’s own ability, physical attributes, talents, skills, preferences, strengths, weakness, and vices. It is also frequently coupled with self-talk, a person’s internal dialogue in which he compares his own self to those of others, particularly to those with similar characteristics. Self esteem encompasses many aspects of human behavior; however, it is often a difficult concept to precisely define, since its definition is relative and dynamic. It may be influenced by one’s culture, physical appearance, religious beliefs, personal choices, interpersonal relationships, one’s place in the social pecking order, amongst many other factors.
Self-worth can be defined as the level of respect one has for himself as an individual.
It may involve evaluations made on the basis of physical appearance or personality. In essence, self-esteem includes an individual’s perception of his/her capabilities, as well as his/her opinion of himself and his/her worth to society. In today’s day and age, self esteem and self concept have become significant facets in individuals’ self-image, self-worth, and self-image.
In contrast to the more commonly accepted concept of self-worth, self-esteem or self-concept has been seen as having much more to do with an individual’s actual behavior, attitudes, beliefs, values, experiences, and motivation, rather than his/her appearance or physical attributes. For this reason, there are two major schools of thought in the study of self-esteem, those who are proponents of positive psychology, or the constructivists, and those who are proponents of the negative impressionist school. Positive psychologists generally tend to focus on the individual’s past experiences and beliefs and use them to predict his/her future behavior and attitudes.
Negative feelings and thoughts can influence your self-esteem
On the other hand, those who believe that negative impressions of others have an effect on self-perception and the degree to which they are looked up to, favor the negative impression school of thought. According to these theories, low self-esteem develops due to the power of negative feelings and thoughts. Negative feelings and thoughts result in feelings of inadequacy, shame, embarrassment, and helplessness. High self-esteem development then occurs when an individual learns to manage and control these feelings of guilt and low self-worth. As a result of successful management of these feelings, the individual gains self-respect and self-confidence, as well as a high level of self-esteem.
The results of these theories can be seen in how individuals with higher self-esteem are more successful at their careers and in their relationships. High self-esteem may also lead to a higher level of marital satisfaction and to lower levels of depression and stress. It may also contribute to success in sports, in business, in academic settings, in the military, in politics, and in life itself. In addition, self-esteem may play a large role in the quality of relationships that people have and the way that these relationships develop. Individuals who possess higher self-esteem are more likely to develop healthy attitudes, to help others, to accept and compassionately care for others, to be compassionate and nurturing, to be an effective team player, and to live a fulfilling life.
One of the most compelling arguments in favor of the importance of self-esteem comes from the work of Drs. Abraham Maslow and Calvin Klein, who explored the link between self-esteem and performance in two famous studies. In the first, they had participants choose a bucket of either soda or a favorite fruit juice. Those with low self-esteem were less likely to select the bucket, but those with high self-esteem selected the fruit. The researchers concluded that the positive emotional connections that we have with our most valuable relationships, and the esteem we have for ourselves, have an important impact on our achievement both in our personal lives and in our professional lives.