What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is a concept in psychology that refers to someone's personal evaluation of self-esteem. Someone with high self-esteem tends to be very confident, and he or she feels good and has a lot of personal pride. People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, think they are worthless and fight with confidence and pride. From a very young age, people are establishing their self-esteem, and there are a number of factors that can influence someone's sense of self-worth.

Social and cultural factors play a very important role. For example, a child who is regularly praised by parents and teachers is more likely to feel safe and valuable, while a child who is frequently criticized or lives in an unstable home may feel worthless. Peer approval can also be an important factor in self-esteem; popular people tend to feel better about themselves, while people who are marginalized and ignored by their peers feel less confident and proud of themselves.

Low self-esteem can contribute to the development of depression and antisocial behavior. It's also often undeserved, because it's a reflection of personal opinion, not someone's actual worth and abilities. Everyone has unique talents and abilities, including people with low self-esteem, and people are sometimes surprised to learn that people who lack self-confidence can have hidden facets to their personalities, such as an amazing talent for music. or excellent writing skills. .

Because the development of self-esteem is highly dependent on social factors, parents and teachers are often encouraged to use praise and other positive techniques to increase confidence in the minds of their charges. When a child becomes desperate because an art project isn't going well, for example, an instructor might point out that the use of color is interesting, or ask if the child wants to work in another medium to explore other possibilities. By positively reinforcing children and reminding them that they are valuable, people can make sure those children feel good about themselves.

Adults can be influenced in the same way, and can also work on self-esteem building exercises designed to increase confidence. A salaried worker at the bottom of the totem pole might, for example, go home and make a list of her positive skills and traits, as a reminder that lackluster performance at work doesn't make someone useless. Some people also find that their self-esteem improves when they get active, get involved in community activities, or do something simple like get a haircut or buy a nice pair of shoes.

Low self-esteem is difficult to quantify. When people seek help from a mental health professional because they feel bad about themselves, the professional may administer a self-report test designed to assess someone's feelings. By examining the answers to the test questions, and by observing how the patient interacts with people and behaves, the therapist can learn the patient's level of trust and provide treatment accordingly.

Go up