One of the central themes on which our personality is constituted, our way of relating and communicating with the world, is self-esteem . This concept has great value, closely influencing our way of thinking, making decisions and acting .
A good personal appraisal and an understanding self-perception can help us overcome many of the bumps that arise in our lives. Although the concept of self-esteem is widely used in various areas, a deeper analysis can be carried out from the psychological level , on what self-esteem consists of, how it influences us and what we can do to keep it afloat without collapsing.
Many of our actions are attributed to a lack of self-esteem. When someone is unmotivated, they do not dare to continue with their projects, they become paralyzed in the face of difficulties, or they simply lack the confidence to fulfill their dreams; then it is said that he is someone with a lack of self-esteem. The truth is that this concept has many definitions and meanings , throughout this article we will see what all these ways of seeing self-esteem have in common, and the relevance it has in our lives.
Various authors have offered a definition of self-esteem. Relevant authors from the world of psychology, who after their experience have contributed to a richer and broader concept of self-esteem; Either from a humanistic, cognitive-behavioral or psychoanalytic perspective , from all aspects it is possible to understand self-esteem as something fundamental in the quality of life of every human being.
What is self esteem?
The National Association for Self-Esteem defines this concept as: “the experience of having the capacity to face life’s challenges and being worthy of happiness. People who have authentic and healthy self-esteem see themselves as positive, responsible, constructive and trustworthy human beings. ”
Under this concept, self-esteem is presented as a capacity, and as a capacity it is possible to develop it. That is why something that prevails in all definitions is that self-esteem is flexible and we ourselves have the capacity both to maintain it and to increase and decrease it.
Taking into account the knowledge that we have today. We know that self-esteem, globally, we can see it as the perception we have about ourselves. We make an assessment in relation to the various aspects to which we attach importance. We understand that self-esteem depends on ourselves , and on the ability we have to understand, value, love and respect ourselves. It is something that can be in constant change or remain balanced. As long as we make our self-esteem something that does not depend directly on the circumstances, or what other people may think about us. But rather of something of our own that depends on how we have learned to value ourselves despite the difficulties and failures that may arise.
Quotes from relevant authors about self-esteem
Many reflections about self-esteem come from famous quotes by relevant authors, who have contributed their impressions and experience about this concept that we have heard so much about.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, it will spend its life thinking it is stupid. ” – Albert Einstein
“Self-esteem is not as vile a sin as self-esteem.” – William Shakespeare
“Loving yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde
“A person cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain
“You yourself, as well as anyone else in the entire universe, deserve their love and affection.” – Buddha
“There is nothing noble about being superior to other men. True nobility is being superior to your previous self. ” – Hindu proverb
“Because if you believe in yourself, you don’t try to convince others. Because if you are happy with yourself, you do not need the approval of others. Because if you accept yourself, the whole world accepts it too. ” – Lao-Tzu
What do we call low self-esteem?
In relation to a series of attitudes, we say that someone has low self-esteem, when we perceive that they have difficulty feeling valuable. It can be seen that a person with low self-esteem does not feel worthy of being loved by others . What behaviors does a person with low self-esteem have? The behaviors that characterize a person with low self-esteem are the following:
- Constant search for approval and recognition from others.
Because they do not recognize or approve of themselves, they are constantly looking outside for what they cannot offer themselves. They need ongoing approval to feel valued. This is why they create bonds of great affective dependence .
- They stop being themselves to please or feel loved and appreciated.
Not feeling worthy of admiration, affection and respect, when they are treated in this way they think that they are cheating and that if they really knew them then they would reject them.
- They don’t know how to say NO to something that bothers them or they prefer not to, without feeling bad about it.
They feel great guilt when they express what they need. They try not to offend or reject others, although to do so they have to stop expressing their opinion and their own criteria. They show low assertiveness.
- Anxiety is triggered by emotional and intimate situations.
When they feel insecure, situations of affection and intimacy are uncomfortable for them, since they do not believe they are worthy of that affection. They enter into contradiction due to what they think of themselves, and as a defense mechanism what they do is protect themselves and close themselves off from others , since they distrust.
- They show fear of criticism or rejection, trying to avoid it at all costs.
In such a way that they isolate themselves and have difficulties to establish relationships , and it is also difficult for them to enjoy the ones they have. They have an excessive concern about the image that others have of them, since they always feel observed and criticized.
Due to the lack of personal relationships, they lose the possibility that their erroneous beliefs are questioned, and they can thus re-learn them.
Consequences of having low self-esteem
Low self-esteem implies a series of consequences, which can be very limiting in our lives. Faced with low self-esteem, the imbalance and mental instability is greater , so we are more exposed to suffering from a multitude of difficulties that diminish our physical and mental health. These with some of the consequences of having low self-esteem:
Encourage Bad Decisions and Poor Execution – Negative thoughts about worthlessness are common. This influences our decisions and our actions. Through a reality that is distorted, the decisions that are made do not correspond to what we are capable of doing, and the actions that we undertake are limited, resulting in poor execution.
Negative emotions are triggered : The person with low self-esteem thinks that he is not useful and that he is unable to achieve the challenges that are presented to him. In this way, he generates a series of negative emotions, such as insecurity, sadness, disappointment and demotivation, which make him experience greater anxiety and unnecessary suffering in the face of a multitude of experiences.
Avoidance : defense mechanisms are used to avoid criticism and negative judgments from others. In this way you avoid doing everything that can be subject to evaluation. Over time, the person ends up realizing that avoiding all these types of situations only means stopping trying everything they like, which also means not testing their worth to learn and gradually surpassing themselves.
They are introverted, shy and insecure people , who avoid risks for fear of being harmed and tend to preserve their mental state by fleeing from any situation that is risky for them. The stress and difficult events, such as illness or bereavement, can fluctuate a person self – esteem. Although according to experts, the type of self-esteem that a subject presents comes from childhood.
Low self-esteem can lead to depression, anxiety, eating, and attention deficit disorders. Sometimes it can lead them to have self – confidence problems , tolerate abusive situations and violent relationships, in which they feel guilty and worthy of what happened.
Within low self-esteem, two ways in which people choose to handle themselves are more commonly seen according to how they feel about themselves. One of the forms is depressive low self-esteem, in which the individual enters a dark tunnel of depression, taking his life as something negative, a mistake.
Another way that some people tend to use to manage their low self-esteem is aggression; these people often feel attacked by others, and because their self-esteem is so low they feel inferior. In turn, they are afraid that other people see them as they see themselves, therefore they use verbal or physical aggressiveness and pride as a defense mechanism, so that other people do not see them as they really see themselves. .
Low self-esteem and bullying in children
Children with low self-esteem are usually more likely to suffer from school bullying . School bullying or bullying is a serious problem that affects more than 20% of children in most schools. This is defined as a negative and unwanted behavior that is repeated over time, it is carried out by an individual or by a group against a person. Such intimidating behavior can be verbal, psychological, or physical.
Children with low self-esteem can often allow themselves to be mistreated and have difficulty defending themselves , they are self-critical and very hard on themselves, they feel insecure, or not as good as other children, they focus on their failures rather than their triumphs, not they have self-confidence, feel inferior, and doubt their ability to do things well.
Seeing them helpless and submissive, their perpetrators tend to take advantage of them and blackmail them by telling them that if they talk to someone about what is happening they will retaliate. Studies have shown that as young people get older, they are less likely to tell someone what is happening. This is serious! They become more and more isolated, experiencing antisocial behaviors or avoidance behaviors , also depression and, in extreme cases, they can try to hurt themselves to end their torment.
What is called high self-esteem?
All people can develop high self-esteem, which benefits us in our day to day. However, you have to be consistent and work at it . Since it is not something that comes from circumstances or just from our own character. These are some of the characteristics that people with high self-esteem have:
- They feel good about themselves.
- They are not afraid of challenges, rather they seek them.
- They like to share intimacy and their feelings with other people.
- They take responsibility for their actions.
- They are assertive and express their opinion to others.
- They trust in their possibilities and encourage themselves in the face of adversity.
- They love each other, they accept each other, and they respect each other.
- They listen and attend to your needs.
- They are interested in others, offering their help, and not making negative reviews.
- They are not afraid to ask, they always ask when they do not know something.
- They are natural leaders.
- They are not afraid of the unknown and are involved in new activities.
Those who have this type of self-esteem are generally people who know their goals, know where they stand and where they want to go, but without ceasing to live in the present . They do not attract the past, nor do they focus on the future, they are simply focused on the here and now.
Benefits of having high self-esteem
As we have said previously, anyone can strengthen their self-esteem and achieve high self-esteem. It is worth the effort because when we learn to value and love ourselves as we are, we reinforce our mental stability .
Good self-esteem benefits us in the sense that we feel more secure and worthy of being loved and respected. In this way we become more assertive, express our opinions and create our own criteria. We thus strengthen security and confidence in ourselves. This is essential to feel prepared for the challenges and adversities that arise in our day-to-day life .
Having a good self-esteem that remains in balance, means improving our psychological well-being. In this way we will be stronger to avoid many of the mental disorders that are related to anxiety, such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or various phobias; to name a few.
As we can see, the various authors relate self-esteem to loving oneself , valuing oneself , and having a positive attitude, achieving personal approval and acceptance. In these sentences we have some of the most important keys to the concept of what self-esteem represents.
It is the type of self-esteem that is most found in people. We can say that it is a type of balanced and healthy self-esteem.
Average self-esteem depends on many factors and can vary according to different circumstances, for example: if you have a good day or a bad day at work, in your social environment or according to personal circumstances.
Those who have this type of self-esteem tend to feel changes in it very often ; Sometimes they can go from feeling accurate to wrong or from feeling fit to incompetent, therefore they fluctuate when going from having a medium self-esteem to a high or low one according to the factors that intervene.
How is self-esteem reinforced?
Many people wonder if it is possible to improve their self-esteem. As we have been indicating throughout the article. Self-esteem is something that can be learned and therefore can be increased and reinforced .
We cannot expect it to be something simple, since as we have seen, a multitude of factors are present under this concept. When someone has low self-esteem, it is very difficult for them to undertake these efforts, so it is recommended to go to a psychology professional who will guide them throughout their process. Each of the aspects and behaviors that are maintaining low self-esteem should be worked on, although there are certain keys that can help you .
What is sought at work to improve self-esteem is to be able to see yourself in a more objective and realistic way . We must bear in mind that all people have skills, values and attitudes that make us unique. That is why you do not have to compare yourself with anyone other than yourself, to see your own evolution.
It is also important to change the language we use towards ourselves. Our thoughts are rooted in how we treat ourselves, so we must make an effort to modify it. To do this, you have to start talking to each other well, not be too harsh in the face of mistakes and cheer yourself up in the face of new challenges, knowing that what you don’t get is learning more. The results are not related to our personal worth . It is necessary to increase the number of pleasant activities that make us feel good and provide us with pleasant sensations that we are good and capable.
How to improve self-esteem in children?
Self-esteem is the result of experiences that help a child feel capable, effective, and accepted. To help increase a child’s self-esteem, we must let them do things for themselves, so that they feel proud of what they can do and feel capable.
As with adults, children feel effective when they see that good things come from their efforts, that encourages them to move forward and gives them self-confidence. Their good feelings toward themselves multiply as parents or caregivers praise their good behaviors; Therefore, if we want to increase a child’s self-esteem, let us not hesitate to recognize his achievements and his good actions from day to day, in this way we will strengthen his self-esteem.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.