What affects self-esteem refers to the way in which you perceive yourself. Although your current level of self-esteem may have been raised by some recent life experiences, the truth is that it is largely a construct of your mind has made around your current situation and your past. You can change your perception of yourself at any time, if you are willing to take the time to examine what you know about yourself and how this knowledge is affecting your life now and moving forward.
The way you talk to yourself can affect self-esteem, just as much as what happens in your life outside of your head. It is likely that you have learned to speak positively to yourself about things that you consider to be positive, your strengths and weaknesses. This can have an effect on your self-esteem even when you are not aware of it, as you tend to talk to yourself in this way, encouraging yourself to keep up these positive traits. However, over time the negative talk can start to build up and begin to take on a life of its own. When you notice that your self-talk is starting to drive you in a different direction, you need to stop and think about why you are doing it.
New research from Dr. Doug Etter, PhD, and his team at the University of Minnesota reveals that your level of self-esteem does indeed depend on your level of general self-efficacy. The researchers found that, “the more ineffective a person was about facing challenges and managing performance issues, the lower his or her self-esteem and the more his or her self-efficacy had deteriorated.” In other words, those who were less effective at tackling situations that required strong responses and managing performance had a low level of self-esteem and poor self-efficacy.
According to Etter, “the good news is that the self-esteem that we have at the age we are at right now, right before we get to middle age, will be predictive of our level of general self-efficacy well into our senior years.” This suggests that those who are good at tackling daily challenges and managing performance issues as they develop over time will have a higher self-esteem than those who are less successful and have a low self-esteem. What affects self-esteem refers to the fact that once you become a mature adult, you need to have high self-esteem in order to cope with daily demands. It’s no wonder then that some adults have low self-esteem; they lack a sense of self worth.
Etter and his team conducted a study in which they asked a group of college students to complete surveys about various topics, one of which was physical appearance self-esteem. The results showed that those who were more concerned with their physical appearance were more confident in their ability to handle social situations and also tend to do better in academic settings. However, there was a clear pattern between the survey results and the specific domains of social and academic self-esteem. Those who were more concerned with physical appearance fell into the lowest category of self-esteem, while those who were not focused on this domain were in the top category. The researchers believe that people who are preoccupied with their appearance tend to invest too much time and energy on this area and fail to focus on other important domains.
Another domain that seems to affect self-esteem is social skills. In this case, people who were more socially competent were found to have higher self-esteem than those who were not. Those who had higher social skill levels were able to negotiate in social situations and had lower disagreements in academic settings. Overall, these findings suggest that people who are good at dealing with social situations and are good at navigating particular domains of their lives will have higher self-esteem levels than others.
The last set of domains, the researchers examined were related to physical appearance. People who were more physically attractive when they were younger had higher self-esteem than those who were not. This pattern was consistent across both genders. It is difficult to determine what causes this general self-esteem factor because physical attractiveness at younger ages is often influenced by genetic factors.
Other factors that affect self-esteem include age, which can be influenced by increasing age, early or late socialization and personality traits. The researchers believe that people learn to value themselves as they get older and this process continues as they enter early adulthood. People who are highly socially skilled also have higher self-esteem than others. These results suggest that these aspects of personality may be important in predicting how people will feel about themselves as they get older. In addition, older adults may have greater self-esteem due to the fact that they have already spent some time being successful in their occupations. Understanding what affects self-esteem may help individuals plan for success later in life.