Lăcramioara Mocanu1, Alexandra Ioana Spanache2
Abstract: Self-esteem is the way we evaluate ourselves in relation to our own expectations and those of others and is directly proportional to our awareness of our value. Every human being is unique and has a value that deserves to be respected. Self-esteem is a part of fulfilled relationships, happiness, and personal fulfillment. What we can do is to educate ourselves to respect ourselves and to consider the fact that each of us has value, beauty, uniqueness. And relationships with others can only be wonderful if we are in a harmonious relationship with ourselves. Everyone has the ability to have high self-esteem. We are not born with it, we have to build it along the way. Achieving high self-esteem is a personal journey. An important part of the journey is to be happy with yourself, and to feel that you are able to do the important things for yourself. Self-esteem helps us to be ourselves, to face adversity, and to believe that we will succeed, despite all obstacles.
Keywords: self-esteem; self-image; self-esteem; self-awareness; human being; self-knowledge; personality
What is Self-Esteem?
How does a positive self-image manifest? What about a negative self-image? What are the consequences of a positive/negative self-image? What are the factors that promote the development of self-esteem? Is self-esteem worth it or should it be earned? How do you build self-confidence? Self-esteem is how we evaluate ourselves in relation to our own expectations and others and is directly proportional to our awareness of our value. Every human being is unique and has a value that deserves to be respected.
The value of a human being is given by the sum of its past, present and future behaviors, actions and potentials. The ability of the human being to project itself into the future, to become aware, want and anticipate by referring to past experiences and successes and to believe in its own effectiveness contributes to the strengthening of self-esteem. A lot of parents say, “You’re not doing well, let me do that I know better” or “You’re too young, you can’t do this.” Such phrases can diminish self-confidence. In order to protect them from suffering and failure in life, many parents overprotect their children by keeping them dependent and thus preventing them from developing their self-confidence.
Self-esteem is a part of fulfilled relationships, happiness and personal achievement. What we can do is educate our self-respect for ourselves and consider the fact that each of us has value, beauty, uniqueness. And relationships with others can only be wonderful if we are in a harmonious relationship with ourselves.
Self-respect is the acceptance of the qualities, but also of the defects of one’s own person. It conditions the trust that each person has in himself. Based on the image that everyone has of their person, self-esteem becomes an important coordination of our existence, a coordination that radically influences our decisions.
Everyone has the ability to have a high self-respect. We’re not born with it, we have to build it along the way. Reaching high self-esteem is a personal journey. An important part of the journey is also being happy with yourself, and feeling that you are succeeding in doing the things that are important to you. Self-esteem helps us to be ourselves, to deal with adversity and to believe that we will succeed, despite all obstacles.
First of all, the family is of great importance in the development of self-esteem. The school climate also plays an important role, and children with high self-esteem are less likely to behave destructively. In these uncertain times, it takes people with high self-esteem to make their own decisions, take risks, follow their ideas, take the initiative and communicate with those around them.
We have all met people with extremely high self-esteem, who feel that they are the most wonderful beings, although their flaws are visible to those around them. But I’ve also seen people with extremely low self-esteem who feel like they’re no good, unaware of their true worth. The latter usually mis-focus those around them, seeing only their qualities. In order not to fall into this extreme, we must understand that we do not need to be perfect in order to feel good about ourselves. Low self-esteem, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. It brings self-doubt, and a general feeling that you’re not good enough to face life’s challenges. If you have low self-esteem, you may think that you are not able to achieve your goals and you may even come to believe that you need to stop dreaming at all. In fact, low self-esteem can lead to mental problems and can be associated with negative emotions, anxiety, sadness, hostility, shame, loneliness, feeling of inadequacy and lack of spontaneity. Self-esteem is learned when parents begin to manifest themselves towards us, towards our personality, our qualities and aspirations. If parents’ value and treat us with respect, we tend to adopt this attitude with ourselves. Those around us will behave in the way each of us treats each other. Each is responsible for continuing his personal development throughout his or her life, and this responsibility includes the possibility of correcting most of the educational gaps. Regardless of the behavior of the parents, we deserve to have respect for ourselves. Some think parents are responsible for their lack of trust. We cannot blame them in no effect, because their reactions were also created by this lack of trust. But we can do something: educate our self-respect and that each of us has value, beauty, uniqueness. And relationships with others can only be wonderful if we are in a harmonious relationship with ourselves.
According to the opinion expressed by Robinson and Shaver (1991) “cognitions about me” (contained in the content of the concept of self) may or may not influence self-esteem. For example, the belief of being a great singer can be found in the conceptual about himself without having any tangency with the sentimental value of the self. When someone is depressed on the grounds that they don’t have an extraordinary voice, they involve the impact of self-esteem, as does the ability to jump from the height of an 18-story block to end the humiliation caused by such a flaw”.
Weiner (1986), through the proposed theoretical models, tries to integrate attitudes and affectivity to provide an insight into the evolution of self-esteem determined by cognitive processes. In the authors’ view, first we think about whether or not we are in a certain way (we issue assessments or judgments like “I’m attractive/repulsive” or “I’m smart/head-free”), then such thoughts trigger a negative or positive affective reaction. To the extent that such reflections end up covering a good part of personal attributes, it is the concept of “self-esteem” that fits to capture their affective outcome. Over time, the consistency of such moments of self-reflection results in a positive or negative affective background that is easily accessed - already in the absence of the judgments that generated it - whenever the subject’s attention is directed - from the outside or from the inside - to his own self. Such concepts as “self-confidence” or “physical evaluation” (body-esteem) are also evaluative aspects, but the first is predominantly cognitive while the second refers to a specific self-esteem.
After W. James (1998), self-esteem is the result of the relationship between the success of actions and the aspirations of the individual with regard to the undertaking of that action. “If we reduce aspirations to zero we’ll have the universe at our feet. “A person will have a high self-esteem to the extent that his successes are equal to or superior to his aspirations. And conversely, if aspirations exceed success, self-esteem will be low. W. James also defines self-esteem as self-awareness. “We are in control of our inner satisfaction and minimize what does not depend on us”. He considers self-esteem to be self-awareness with affective valences of average intensity/tonality. We can be satisfied with the way we are or annoyed by ourselves. Feelings of contentment or self-loathing are normally caused by successes, fulfilled desires, good position or recognition that we have in society.
After Albu G. (2002) self-esteem refers to confidence in one’s ability to think, inability to cope with the fundamental challenges of life and to trust in our right and the ability to be successful, to be happy, to sentimental that we are entitled to affirm our needs and desires, to fulfill our values and to enjoy the results of our efforts. Self-esteem correlates significantly with rationality, creativity and the ability to manage change, with the willingness to recognize and correct possible errors. The overall level of a particular person’s self-esteem greatly influences the choices he makes in life and his existential style. In this context, high self-esteem is associated with strategies for seeking personal development and accepting risks, errors, while a consistently low self-esteem involves rather defense and risk avoidance strategies and failures.
After Savin-Williams and Demo (1983) self-esteem is a constant affective reporting that includes valuing, accepting and evaluating myself. According to this definition self-esteem is no longer related to assessment on certain dimensions, but reflects a certain general relationship with personal selves that may be positive, balanced or negative as appropriate.
In psychoanalysis self-esteem is considered to develop through the interiorization of parental images and identification with them, it is often associated with the feeling of culpability. The defense mechanisms presented in psychoanalytic theory are considered to be aimed at avoiding the exaggerated loss/decrease of self-esteem and the emergence of traumatic panic. Self-esteem navigates between “The upper me” (interiorized society) and self-deranged self-esteem to protect itself.
Glenn R. Schiraldi (2019). The Handbook of Self-Esteem. Bucharest: Publishing House Curtea Veche.
Nathaniel Branden (2008). The Six Pillars of Self-Confidence. Bucharest: Amsta Publishing Publishing House.
1 Senior Lecturer, PhD, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, Specialization Psychology, Danubius University of Galati, Romania, Address: 3 Galati Blvd., 800654 Galati, Romania, Tel: +40372361102, Fax: +40372361290; Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 “Sanity” Sanitary School Bacau, Romania, Address: Str. Mihai Eminescu nr. 33, Bacau 600258, Romania, E-mail: email@example.com.
New Trends in Psychology, Vol. 3, no 1/2021, pp. 45-49