What is a definition of self-esteem? In psychology, one can study self-esteem from different perspectives. Personality psychologists focus on knowing the content of the identity, creating typologies in relation to it. On the other hand, social psychology is concerned with the reasons that identity affects the relationships we have with others or how it conditions us to have the relationships we actually have.
But for the majority of psychologists: the construction of self-esteem takes its roots from the earliest childhood, with what Jacques Salome (psycho-sociologist and French writer born May 20, 1935) called the bottle relational. In other words, how is the transmission of messages between the child and his parents? As with self-confidence, the father and mother play a key role in developing self-esteem. If it is consolidated over the life experiences, it is reinforced if you grow in a stable environment, where you feel safe, where you are approved. The weight of another’s gaze is a powerful factor in good or bad self-esteem. It is at the base of the construction of the personality.
From the beginnings of childhood to the end of our lives, we spend our time assessing ourselves, through the eyes of others but also through the representation we have of ourselves.
Each person is a social being who develops in contact with others. The perception he has of himself is forged in his first years of life. As a child, what his parents, his friends will say, the ways in which they will act with him will have a direct influence on his perception of himself, his self-esteem. The teenager, his environment and the image he has of himself will also feed his esteem, his sense of value or not …
In adulthood, the environment still plays an important role in self-esteem in addition to past events (success, mistakes, failures, etc.). However, true self-esteem is based on our view of ourselves and what we have done. Our talent, our beauty, our fortune, etc. have nothing to do with our value. Self-esteem is our acceptance and appreciation of ourselves as we are.
Estimate of Self and Childhood
Early childhood is the most important moment in building self-esteem. However, the basics of this esteem are sometimes called into question in adolescence. The teenager tries to break away from the parental imprint, sometimes aggressively, and that is where the importance of the peer’s eye comes in, even if it remains filtered by that of our parents.
The image of oneself is not innate, it takes its source in our child’s life. It’s the result of our various experiences.
The Inner Attitude and the Estimate of Self
Indeed, esteem depends on our inner attitude. Our self-esteem is built according to our inner attitude.
The person who has little self-esteem is worthless. Often, she will have difficulty succeeding anything. Constantly, she reproaches herself internally. She says that she is unable to perform such a task and feels inferior to others, she often depreciates without even realizing it! It evaluates itself from its past, according to the criticism of others. His impression of being worth nothing comes first and foremost from his inner dialogue, which is often almost exclusively negative.
The way we think plays a determining role in our self-esteem. We are what we think! If our inner speech about our value is negative, our self-esteem will be weak … or nonexistent.
Self-esteem is an inner attitude, it is important to know ourselves, to love ourselves as we are. Learning to accept oneself, to appreciate oneself, to know one’s tastes, needs, abilities, and limits help us to increase our self-esteem. In order to increase our self-esteem, we need to change our attitude, have a vision of life and ourselves that is positive and realistic.
Where does it come from having good or bad self-esteem? The psychoanalyst Serge Hefez (Serge-Samuel Hefez is a French psychiatrist and psychoanalyst born in Alexandria, Egypt, on February 11, 1955) answers this question about the origin of good or bad self-esteem:
“Self-esteem is built at the same time that person is built and depends on many factors. The first is the one our parents carry with us. A child who will be regularly supported, encouraged and congratulated by his parents will have a higher self-esteem than a child who is constantly harmed, who receives only criticism from his parents.
The learning of the personality also goes through all the events of life: the experiences at school, whether they are pleasant or traumatic, the skills developed … A person with great skills (academic success, good sports results, abilities artistic …) will, therefore, have a higher self-esteem than a person who has experienced failures and disappointments. ”
The Three Components of the Self
This inner attitude of telling ourselves that we have value, that we are unique and important, is a fundamental piece of personality. It is at the crossroads of the three essential components of the self:
– behavioral: it influences our abilities to act and strengthens in return for the successes we encounter,
– cognitive: it depends on the way we look at ourselves, but it also modifies it upwards or downwards,
– emotional: Indeed, self-esteem remains to a large extent a highly effective dimension of our person: it depends on our basic mood, which it strongly influences in return. Similarly, good self-esteem facilitates commitment to action, is linked to more reliable and accurate self-evaluation, and provides greater emotional stability.
Positive Attitude and Estimate of Self
By developing an attitude, a positive thought about ourselves, we increase our esteem.
An easy way is to learn to have fun. Get spoiled! Pleasure is a source of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It is a positive emotion, a feeling of being alive, of being good in one’s body, good in one’s skin, well in one’s deepest being.
For many people, saying that it is important to spoil oneself and have fun can seem selfish; we must learn to change this negative perception and this is done at any age. Pleasure is the beginning of a positive attitude toward oneself. When we have fun, we have a positive attitude towards ourselves, we recognize our value.
Learning to recognize our good qualities, to consider our goodwill, to discover the aspects that are interested in us and to be able to identify what we like: increase our esteem. The recognition of our own worth is a good start to increase our self-esteem.
We all have value, not just for what we have done but for what we are now. This is why knowledge of our strengths and limitations is essential for the development of self-esteem. When you know each other well, you have more self-confidence and you can assert yourself more easily.
Conclusion on Definition of Self-Esteem
What is a definition of self-esteem? We learn to see and evaluate ourselves first and foremost through the eyes of people who are important to us: parents, siblings, teachers and finally, friends. Indeed, it is the behavior of parents and friends and what they say that influences the perception of the child himself. Through all the valuations that parents send to their child: congratulations on the first acquisitions …, the child is strengthened in his capacity to act and to be recognized. This positive self-image is indispensable for “moving forward” to progress. Indeed, it is thanks to this valorization and this positive image given by the others that the child learns to assume and to bear his limits and his failures … to be able one day to exceed them.
It is not a question of making him a ” child king ” but of fostering a positive self-image in him so that he becomes a curious child, eager to learn and a child capable of trusting others.
As a teenager, the environment and the image he has of himself nourish his esteem and the feeling of having some value.
Adult, the environment still influences self-esteem in addition to the successes, mistakes, and failures of the past.
Real self-esteem is the acceptance and appreciation we have of ourselves, from all of this.