Self-esteem is a term used in sociology and psychology to reflect a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. It is molded by thoughts, experiences, and relationships. While many still disagree on the definition, there are a few commonalities about self-esteem.
There is not one kind of self-esteem. Self-esteem stems from how you feel about yourself and how you feel about yourself when you are in specific life situations such as parenting or working.
Self-esteem is a moving scale. Ever had a bad hair day that led to a terrible morning? Ever worn your favorite outfit and felt you were on top of the world? It’s common to think you have good or bad self-esteem when it is really a sliding scale based on internal and external signals we receive.
High, stable self-esteem is best. Ideally, your self-esteem should be high, but not too high. Narcissists tend to have high feelings of worth, but see their worth crumble with a small insult. That is why those with good and stable self-esteem tend to be far healthier (psychologically) than people with very high, but volatile self-esteem.
Self-esteem is not related to one’s beauty. Imagine two equally attractive people—the person who feels better about themselves, dresses more attractively, and is more confident will most certainly leave a better impression than the person who dresses plainly and is insecure and unconfident. Confidence comes from within and is felt by those around you.
People with low self-esteem find it hard to accept compliments. Ever had a bad morning and received praise for a project, but were unable to internally except the praise? Having low self-esteem makes you resistant to compliments and positive feedback that could improve your feelings of self-worth. When you are low, you feel unworthy of praise; you may become stressed out by the heightened expectations you believe the praise will bring.
Sometimes you are your own worst enemy to self-esteem. Do you respond to rejection and failure by listing your faults and by saying to yourself you deserved it? Do you feel like you are kicking yourself when you are already down? Eliminating self-criticism is one way to do wonders for your self-esteem.