What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is a part of our self-concept. It’s how a person feels about his or her identity. Self-esteem is how we value ourselves and our contribution to the world. It involves feeling worthy of happiness, and feeling competent to cope with life’s challenges. There are two main components of self-esteem: self-efficacy and a sense of personal worth. According to Albert Bandura’s social learning theory, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” In other words, does the individual believe that they will be successful in a particular situation? Beliefs about self-efficacy influences behaviors, thoughts and feelings.
Another theory of self-esteem involves an examination of how close the ideal self is to real or perceived self, in other words the self that one presently sees oneself as. This is called discrepancy theory. The wider the gap is between the ideal and perceived self, the lower the self-esteem. So if we have perfectionistic tendencies and set up unreasonable expectations for ourselves, self-esteem ends up suffering.
What Aspects of Life Does Self-Esteem Influence?
Self-esteem affects our work, our personal lives, our level of trust, essentially all aspects of our lives. In order for self-esteem to increase, challenges must be embraced.
Having high self-esteem can:
* make us more successful because we are not afraid to take initiative, to take risks that can lead to great payoffs.
*People who have high self-esteem are not afraid to speak their minds and make decisions.
*Having high self-esteem can help a person take control of their lives, rather than giving others the control.
* High self-esteem allows us to realize that we are not perfect, and that’s ok.
*People with high self- esteem are able to grow from mistakes made, without fearing future mistakes or rejections.
Signs of high self-esteem include:
feeling comfortable with a wide range of emotions, behavior that is non-blaming, having the ability to say “no,” practicing good self-care, understanding personal limitations, having a sense of direction, knowing what strengths or abilities are possessed and being confident in those abilities, trusting others, having an optimistic attitude towards life, being able to solve problems and being independent yet knowing how to connect with others and cooperate with them.
Author: Dr. Masha Godkin,Psy.D, MFT is a professor of counseling psychology, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Ca. with an Online Therapy Practice, as well as a former child actor. One of her specialties is in addictive behavior and counseling those in the performing art professions. Visit http://www.onlinetherapywith-dr-masha.com to learn about the Online Therapy service options that are available.