Self esteem revisited

Woman representing high self esteem leaping confidently into a new day, the image of sky and clouds in the background
What is self esteem?

What is self esteem?

Self esteem has been defined as ‘an unfavourable global evaluation of yourself’ (Baumeister, 1996). This is a one-dimensional view which is problematic, as it doesn’t allow for error and is very unforgiving of any mistakes we might make. It views it as a trait that is fixed. Once you have it doesn’t leave you, it is there to stay and affects everything you do. Not true!

We have moved on in our way of thinking about self esteem. It is seen multidimensional concept that is more open to change. We can impact on it by the things we do and how we thing about ourselves.

It also has a number of facets whereby we may esteem ourselves for our efforts in different areas of our lives, whilst acknowledging that not parts are as healthy as we might wish them to be. Our self-appraisals are generally favourable and whilst we care about what others may think of us, it does not define us.

The Problem

Our self esteem contains our beliefs about ourselves how we think others see us. The resulting problem is that we often have a distorted view of who we are and are not able to really know how others see us.

“It’s sometimes not easy to walk around with a constant voice in your head telling you you’re not good at anything you do. You constantly compare yourself to others. They all have good lives, good friends, a great relationship, and a great job. They must look at me and think “What a loser”.

What do you imagine is the impact of this way of thinking on your self esteem? How does this style of self-talk confirm this view of the self, others and the world? We are unlikely to activate any change in our situation if we do not believe in our ability to successfully make those changes. Sometimes we need help to do this.

How counselling can help

Counselling can help build self esteem and confidence by transforming negative self-talk and learning to manage the steps towards change. Developing a more optimistic attitude and builds self confidence, which can repair our self esteem.

The benefits of building self esteem are a more optimistic outlook on life and a realistic view of our abilities, as well as better health, sleep and mood, better performance at work or on a task, enhanced relationships, healthier coping strategies, personal growth and development. It is within your power to esteem yourself for all that you are and can be.

Read more about how to build self esteem.

Contact Linda Magson, Sydney counsellor