What exactly is self-esteem? In simplest terms, it s “the value we place on ourselves. ” While everyone has self-esteem only a small percentage have high self-esteem. In Maximum Self-Esteem: The Handbook for Reclaiming Your Sense of Self-Worth it states that there are three aspects of self-esteem.
With high self-esteem we accept ourselves unconditionally exactly as we are; we appreciate our values as a human being. Those who have high self-esteem accept themselves and feel good about themselves. They like their uniqueness, although they may not be able to hit a home run or slam a basketball. They forgive themselves and are liked by themselves, even if other people don t like them.
With low self-esteem we believe we have little intrinsic worth. We believe our personal value is in direct proportion to the value of our accomplishments. Some examples of people who have low self-esteem are those who try too hard and become very competitive and over-achievers. They have few actual feelings of “self-worth” and try to show that they are someone by their successes and achievements. For example, a man who has low self-esteem may go out and buy a 1999 Corvette (fully loaded) and show it off to everyone he knows, just to hear them say how nice it is or to ask how much it was and to be able to say, “Around $60,000.” Because of the desire for perfection, they set unreachable goals and are upset if they do not meet them. Or if they meet a goal, it s never good enough.
Aspect Two: Our feelings about life
When we have high self-esteem, we accept responsibility for, and have a feeling of control over every part of our lives. Those with high self-esteem have a grasp on reality. They do not blame it for their problems. They believe that anything that happens to them, ultimately is because of choices they made, not outside factors. They know that they have power of their lives and know that they can change them how they want. Although, those with high self-esteem are willing to consider suggestions on how to change their conduct from other people, know they have the “final authority.”
When we have low self-esteem, our life and what goes on in it often seem out of control. Those with low self-esteem don t have that much of a grasp on reality. They ignore some parts and make a big thing of others. Sometimes they ignore the what s around them because it doesn t seem as real as the world that they ve created in their mind. Some people don t like to face reality and dangerously place a barrier between them and reality with behavior like over-eating, drug or alcohol abuse, excessive smoking, or when push comes to shove, suicide. Instead of turning their thoughts to the world around them, they egotistically think about themselves. They often feel powerless and weak, unable to deal with even the smallest of challenges in life. Because they feel so inferior and unworthy people with low self-esteem often try to cover up their feelings by appearing conceded and arrogant.
Aspect Three: Our relationships
With high self-esteem, we have a tolerance of and respect for all people, along with the belief that they are entitled to the same rights we wish for ourselves. People with high self-esteem are comfortable with themselves and respect the rights that other people have as long as the other person is willing to do the same. They don t try to force their beliefs on anyone because they don t need anyone else s approval to make them feel better.
When we have low self-esteem, we lack basic respect for others. We are intolerant of people and believe they should live the way we want them to. People with low self-esteem want others to behave like them. Even if others behavior has nothing to do with them they take offense to it because it does not go with their rules or moral standards. Because they need a reason for everything, those with low self-esteem complain, moralize, become angry, and intolerant. They are often concerned so much with themselves that they have little time to think about anyone else. When they do think about people, it s usually about what that person thinks about them. Unsure of themselves, they often feel insecure around other people. Instead of being friendly, they seem shy and defensive. Believing they deserve no better, they put themselves into relationships where they may be treated badly. Since they place a low value on themselves, their partner does too. Some let themselves get abused verbally or physically. Since, they believe that they are bad by nature, they deserve the punishment they are getting.