Have you heard of the phrase ‘self-image’? This simply refers to characteristics, such as:
-physical appearance (“I have dark hair.”)
-nationality (“I am British.”)
-psychological qualities (“I am funny”).
They are used to describe us, not evaluate us.
Thus, self-esteem adds an evaluating component, attributing a sense of worth and value. It can be in a positive or negative light. It is our overall opinion of ourselves, e.g. “I am good” or “I am unworthy”.
What about self-confidence?
Self-confidence is different. It is more about how well we can do something to a decent standard, and tends to refer to specific skills, e.g. “I am a good singer”.
Spectrum of self-esteem
Self-esteem is a spectrum from low to high, with healthy self-esteem nestled in the middle. When we have a healthy self-esteem, we can be compassionate, empathic, respectful and accepting of ourselves and others.
If our self-esteem is too low, we may neglect ourselves, self-sacrifice a lot, people please and have a general lack of self-worth. We’ll tend to use negative words to evaluate ourselves, e.g. “I am useless”, “I am unlovable”, “I am rubbish at xyz”.
On the flip side, if we had a very high self-esteem, we might be narcissistic, grandiose or selfish. We might think you are better than everyone else.
Therefore, it’s important we have a healthy, balanced self-esteem that sits in the middle.
Take a moment and ask yourself: where is your self-esteem at?
Read on to see how low self esteem develops….