AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Self Esteem Defined
What Is Self Esteem?
Self esteem forms an important part of our self concept. It is something we can build through our actions and by changing our beliefs about who we are.
“Self Esteem” has been defined as ‘an unfavourable global evaluation of yourself’ (Baumeister, 1996). When we make global evaluations of ourselves as being all one way or another in every dimension of our lives, it gives little room for change. We need to believe that change is possible and to know where to start. This is not a trait that is fixed. We can grow and develop it.
How It Has Changed
These days we have moved on in our way of thinking about our self image. It is more often viewed as a multidimensional concept that is permeable and open to change.
This means that we can enhance our self image through the actions we take and how we think about and value ourselves.
Whilst we care about what others may think of us, it does not define us. Our self concept is based on broader principles.
We often need to take a reality check of our strengths and weaknesses in different areas of our lives, and make some adjustments where needed. This will help us to feel better about ourselves and improve our self image.
From the diary of someone with low self esteem (with permission):
“I’m a failure. I always fail at everything I do. There’s no point in trying anything new. Everyone else is doing better than me at my age. They must look at me and see a loser or maybe they just see through me; I’m not important. I hold myself back; I’m my worse enemy ”
What do you imagine is the impact of this way of thinking about yourself? Is it likely that this person has failed at everything they have ever done in life? How does labelling ourselves a ‘failure’ help us to address the things we want to change?
This style of negative self-talk confirms this person’s view of themselves, others and the world.