Table of Content for the article on self-esteem
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- What is self-esteem and why does it impact us?
- The impact of self-esteem on physical and mental health
- Origin and causes of low self esteem
- Theories that attempt to explain the impact of self-esteem
- The Maslow relation of self-esteem
- The self-esteem scale
- Techniques to improve self-esteem
- Self-help Strategies for boosting self-esteem
Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-brake on.Maxwell Maltz
What is self-esteem and why does it impact us?
Self-esteem is a subjective evaluation of our value and worth as people. It is impacted by a variety of things. For example, our experiences, connections, and accomplishments.
Self-esteem is an important factor in an individual’s mental and physical well-being. Low self-esteem can have serious implications for overall health and well-being. Moreover, it can lead to a range of physical and psychological issues. It’s crucial to have a positive sense of self since it influences our attitudes, feelings, and actions. Additionally, we are more likely to feel inspired to work towards our objectives when we have a high sense of self-worth.
The impact of self-esteem on physical and mental health
Research has found a strong correlation between self-esteem and mental and physical health (TC Antonucci & JS Jackson, 1983). Low self-esteem can cause an array of negative mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, it can lead to physical health issues including a weakened immune system and an increased risk of chronic illness. Moreover, when we lack self-esteem, we may experience negative sensations, a lack of confidence, and a sense of unworthiness. Further, low self-esteem can have an adverse effect on our relationships, general quality of life, and mental health.
Origin and causes of low self esteem
According to research by S Harter (1993), the origins and causes of low self-esteem are complex and multidimensional.
Harter suggests that various factors can influence the development of low self-esteem. These include environmental and socio-cultural factors as well as individual factor. Additionally, Harter notes that it is possible for self-esteem to decrease as a result of adverse life events.
Although the origins and causes of low self-esteem are complex, understanding them is important in order to properly address the issue. With the proper support and interventions, it is possible for individuals to improve their self-esteem and live a more fulfilling life.
Theories that attempt to explain the impact of self-esteem
There are many theories that talk about self-esteem in psychology, but the most common ones are the self-esteem theory, the self-concept theory, and the social-cognitive theory.
The self-esteem theory: It was developed by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg. It explains how people develop their self-concepts through interactions with others and their environment. This theory suggests that people develop a sense of who they are as they grow up. They highlighted that it takes place through experiences with peers, family members and teachers.
The self-concept theory: It was developed by Carl Rogers and David McClelland. It explains how people develop their sense of themselves through the way they think about themselves and their abilities. This theory suggests that people develop a positive view of themselves after experiencing positive feedback from others.
The social identity theory: It highlights that our sense of self-worth is influenced by our participation in and standing within various social groups.
The self-discrepancy theory: It states that differences between our real selves and our ideal selves. It states that ‘the people we wish to be’ and our ‘ideal selves’ have an impact on how we feel about ourselves.
The self-determination hypothesis: It states that our fundamental psychological requirements for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are all connected to our sense of self-worth.
The cognitive assessment hypothesis: It hightlights how we perceive and assess our actions and abilities has an impact on our sense of self-worth.
Theory of terror management: It postulates that our ability to see ourselves as worthwhile, significant beings acts as a psychological defense against the fear of dying.
The Maslow relation of self-esteem
Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who postulated a hierarchy of needs in the form of a pyramid. He placed physiological necessities at the bottom and self-actualization at the top. Maslow classified self-esteem as a fundamental human need in his theory. Additionally, he ranked it above physiological and safety needs but below love and belongingness needs.
Maslow felt that there are two sorts of self-esteem: one that is based on the need for respect from others, and one that is based on self-respect and self-actualization. Furthermore, he observed that self-esteem is inextricably linked to other characteristics of well-being such as motivation, creativity, and personal growth. Moreover, he stated that individuals who attain self-actualization have a high feeling of self-esteem and self-worth.
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The self-esteem scale
The self-esteem scale is a psychological tool used to assess an individual’s degree of self-esteem. It usually comprises of a series of statements or questions asking the respondent to rate their agreement or disagreement on a scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, and the Multidimensional Self-Esteem Inventory are some of the most extensively used self-esteem scales. These scales can measure several aspects of self-esteem, including self-worth, self-acceptance, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. The findings of a self-esteem scale can reveal information about an individual’s self-perception and general degree of self-esteem.
Techniques to improve self-esteem
Self-esteem is a valuable attribute to possess, as it can affect an individual’s quality of life. Fortunately, there are several strategies that can be used to improve self-esteem. According to M Borba (1989), these strategies can be divided into two main categories: behavioral and cognitive.
Behavioral strategies: It involves the individual engaging in activities that result in a sense of accomplishment and recognition. This could include taking on new challenges or learning a new skill.
Cognitive strategies: It involves the individual examining their thoughts and beliefs about themselves. Additionally, it involves adjusting them to be more positive and self-affirming (Borba, 1989).
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Both strategies can be used in combination to achieve the desired results of improved self-esteem, which is essential for increased self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life.
Self-help Strategies for boosting self-esteem
Here are a few self-help strategies which are derived from both cognitive and behavioral schools of thought:
- Practice self compassion: Self-compassion means being nice and supportive to yourself, rather than harsh self-criticism or negative self-talk.
- Concentrate on your strong points: Recognize your accomplishments and positive attributes and strive to improve on them.
- Set Targets: Set achievable goals that will challenge you but are also within your skills.
- Engage in self-care: Self-care entails taking care of one’s physical and mental health by getting adequate sleep, eating healthily, exercising, and participating in activities that one enjoys.
- Surround yourself with positive people: Spend time with those who encourage and support you, and avoid those who bring you down.
- Gain new skills: Push yourself to learn new skills or attempt new hobbies to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
- Practice mindfulness: Learn to be present in the moment and examine your thoughts and feelings without judgement.
- Seek help: If you’re battling with low self-esteem, don’t be reluctant to seek help from friends, family, or a mental health professional.
A crucial component of our mental and emotional health is self-esteem. It affects our perception of oneself and our capacity for overcoming obstacles in life. It takes time and work to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth, but the effort is well worth it. We may create a solid foundation for our self-esteem that will enable us to lead more fruitful and joyful lives by identifying our strengths and shortcomings, establishing attainable objectives, and engaging in self-compassion. Keep in mind that self-esteem is a journey that demands constant attention and care. We may create a strong feeling of self-worth and reach our full potential with perseverance and a positive outlook.
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