What is self-esteem? It is the ability to have a realistic opinion of one’s self worth and the ability to evaluate one’s own abilities as compared to others. In other words, it is your own personal “self.”
Self-esteem plays an important role in all human interaction. Self-evaluation determines how we will interpret and handle various situations. Self-evaluation determines how we will perceive and handle various events and situations. As we have noted, self-evaluation plays an important role in the process of navigating life. For instance, if you had an early morning appointment with a very important business partner, the chances are good that you will not feel very excited about your upcoming meeting. However, if you are enthusiastic about your upcoming business meeting, then you can effectively navigate life’s situations and challenges.
Self-evaluation is not something that we are born with. It must be taught and learned. Teaching self-worth begins with establishing an overall positive sense of self and developing healthy ways to identify and create a positive self-image and self-esteem.
In order to change the environment and people around us, we must first understand ourselves and our behavior. Self-awareness allows us to make changes that will improve our self-relationships and also improve our relationships with others. One’s behavior is often referred to as the “blind area.” The blind area refers to a certain area of one’s behavior that is not easily seen or heard by others. For example, when an individual talks on the telephone they are using the “blind area” of their brain.
Developing self-confidence and self-efficacy begin with improving one’s self-image. When an individual feels better about themselves they typically exhibit improved self-relationships with others. As an individual improves their relationships with others, their self-confidence and self-efficacy increases. Individuals who believe they have a positive self-image and who are self-efficient always perform better than those individuals who are not as self-efficient and who do not feel good about themselves. Thus, improving our self-relationships and our overall sense of self improves our self-image and self-efficacy.
When we are faced with a situation in which we have to rely on external sources to understand and deal with a challenge, we may experience a strong desire to focus on our failures alone. In situations like these, a person who lacks self-confidence in their ability will typically focus on their shortcomings and failures rather than their successes. This can have a negative affect on our self-esteem and can cause it to decrease. When we are the focus of our concerns and the focus is based solely on our failures rather than our successes, this can also decrease our self-esteem. In these circumstances, it is important to remember that healthy self-esteem is dependent upon the balance of a healthy self-concern and healthy self-belief.
The last factor that is related to the quality of our self-esteem and self-worth is our level of self-respect. Self-respect is closely related to self-confidence and self-efficacy. The greater our self-respect, the greater our self-confidence and self-efficacy. The better our self-respect and the more self-respect we have for ourselves, the more likely we are to feel good about ourselves and the more motivated we become to strive for our overall sense of self-worth.
It may be interesting to note that the situations that can negatively affect self-esteem and self-beliefs are usually not the ones that are most related to our actual life experiences. However, the negative experiences do little to affect our self-image and esteem and those negative experiences usually have lasting effects. Conversely, the positive events that occur in our lives and the positive experiences that reinforce our self-image and self-beliefs rarely have lasting consequences. Thus, it is usually the overbearing criticism and judgment of others that can have lasting impacts on our self-image and self-beliefs. When we are criticized harshly, we usually feel inferior and are impacted by the criticism of others, which can greatly impact our self-esteem, self-respect, self-confidence and self-efficacy.