Personal Growth Goals
24 Examples of Self-Esteem
John Spacey, October 17, 2021
Self-esteem is the degree to which an individual has a positive self-image. This is considered a human need and a basic element of a person's character. The following are illustrative examples of self-esteem.
MotivationSelf-esteem is a foundational type of motivation. For example, an individual may direct effort into their career or studies as accomplishments in these areas boost their self-esteem.
Parenting StylesSelf-esteem is related to parenting styles whereby unconditional love may boost self-esteem. Likewise, self-esteem may benefit from a reasonable level of freedom in childhood such as the ability to participate in decision making, even if this means being allowed to make mistakes.
PerformanceHigh performance may boost self-esteem and poor performance may decrease it. For example, if a student must give a speech in front of the class, stumbling through in a nervous way may cause the student to feel bad about themselves, at least temporarily.
Self-ImprovementSelf-improvement is the process of looking at yourself in a realistic light and then working to improve what you see. This is a basic way to build up long term self-esteem whereby you improve over time and use this improvement to feel that you're on the right track.
ValidationPeople commonly seek validation of their self-worth from others. This can take many forms and explains a broad range of human behavior. It is often a good idea to validate your self-identity against reality once in a while. However, allowing the reactions of others to inflate or deflate your self-esteem is somewhat problematic as this can make you fragile and open to manipulation.
IdentitySelf-esteem can extend from identity. For example, an individual who is proud of what their nation or ancestors accomplished. For this reason, it is important to give children a positive view of their own identity such as their cultural heritage. As people mature, they move towards self-esteem based on their own traits and accomplishments.
RespectThe desire for respect from others. This can be an extremely powerful motivation whereby people may shape their entire lives to be respectable in one way or another.
Social StatusSocial status is a term for various types of respect that you can earn from others in a society. Common types of social status include physical appearance, youth, coolness, intelligence, wealth, popularity, authority and power.
Commoditization of Social StatusAs people strongly desire social status -- firms try to meet this need with products and services such as a handbag that makes you look wealthy, cool or intelligent. This allows people to essentially buy self-esteem and is an profitable business model. However, this is a fragile and artificial type of self-esteem that creates problems such as overspending and a generally superficial approach to life.
ResilienceResilience is the ability to bounce from failure to failure without a loss of self-esteem or enthusiasm. The ability to see that failures are usually temporary setbacks that are actually positive learning experiences is critical to robust self-esteem.
Self-ForgivenessThe ability to deal with feelings of shame in an appropriate way whereby you eventually heal and go on with your life. For example, apologizing to someone you have wronged and remembering that your worst moments do not completely define you.
ConfidenceConfidence is a realistic and positive view of your capabilities. This can be cultivated with self-discipline whereby you become good at something as use this to enjoy an authentic sense of accomplishment and potential.
HopeSelf-esteem is often based on hope for the future whereby you have confidence in a future version of yourself.
StoicismStoicism is a way of life that focuses on that which is in your control and not worrying about anything else. For example, a job candidate who focuses on doing their best who isn't emotionally influenced by criticism, praise, rejection or acceptance.
Self-AcceptanceSelf-acceptance is the ability to accept yourself in a realistic light whereby you can laugh at your shortcomings and gently appreciate your strengths.
UnaffectednessIndividuals who are unaffected have so much confidence that they seldom look for validation from others. These individuals can't be delighted with praise nor discouraged with criticism. The unaffected are indifferent to insults and are likely to take the high road whereby they are unwilling to try to match the poor behavior of others. This is rare such that people tend to view the unaffected with a sense of awe and respect.
TranscendenceTranscendence is the process by which an individual views themselves as one with the rest of life such that they are indifferent to self. People on a path to transcendence may no longer need self-esteem because they no longer operate at the level of the self.
DelusionHealthy self-esteem is based on a reasonably realistic view whereby you accept your faults and perhaps try to improve. It is common to use delusion to try to buildup self-esteem such as believing that you are something you are not. This would appear to be unhealthy as it skips the step of actually becoming what you want to be by simply pretending you're already there.
Win-Lose ThinkingViewing life as a win-lose competition whereby you must continually "win" to boost your self-esteem. This results in crashing self-esteem at each loss -- or perhaps a plunge into denial.
Self-CriticismSelf-criticism is often presented as being the root cause of low self-esteem. In this context, the term means irrational, delusional or excessive self-criticism. Healthy and realistic self-criticism is known by other terms such as self-awareness, introspection or self-improvement.
Inferiority ComplexThe unjustified belief that you're not as good as others. For example, an individual who overestimates the impact of some perceived physical defect such that it completely shatters their confidence. This can cause sadness, darkness and an aversion to competition. Inferiority complex is often confused with superiority complex (below).
Superiority ComplexFeelings of inferiority that drive high levels of competitiveness such that an individual typically achieves high performance but can't relax and enjoy it. Superiority complex generates relentless energy and may be quite common amongst people who achieve high status in a society such as authority or wealth.
AuthoritarianismAuthoritarianism is when an individual uses elements of authority such as laws, rules and processes to boost their self-esteem. For example, a government official who uses their position to exercise a sense of power over others.
NarcissismNarcissism is an inflated self-image that is strangely fragile such that it requires constant validation from others. This generates negative behavior whereby an individual will aggressively pursue admiration from others -- often in a self-destructive manner.
NotesSelf-esteem should not be confused with extroversion, aggressiveness, assertiveness, outspokenness, risk-taking or the ability to manage conflict. For example, someone who is reserved and thoughtful may have very high self-esteem.
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