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University Life Café

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Self Esteem

This resource highlights the importance of self-esteem and self-respect. 

**Preview Points**

  • Self-esteem refers to a person’s self-value and self-acceptance (of both strengths and weaknesses).  
  • Self-esteem affects beliefs about the self:  “I am…”  (thinking)
  • It affects emotions:  “I feel..”   (feeling)
  • It affects behavior and choices:  “I will…” and “I can…”   (acting)  
  • Self-esteem involves self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-trust.  

### Contents

Self-esteem is an important part of a person’s life because it affects a person’s thinking, feelings, and decision-making.  Those with low self-esteem may try to seek approval from others; they may pursue addictive ways to fill that sense of emptiness inside themselves.

Those with low self-esteem may have low regard for themselves based on a variety of factors, including the following:  overly critical parents, significant childhood loss, parental (or guardian) abuse, parental alcoholism or drug abuse, parental neglect, parental rejection, parental over-protectiveness, and parental over indulgence (Bourne, 2000, pp. 301 – 302).  Making decisions that are not aligned with a person’s personality or values may also lead to a decline in self-esteem; such decisions may be demoralizing.  

Professionals talk about the need to overcome negative attitudes toward the “inner child” or this deeply personal sense of self developed over the years.  There are suggestions on how to swap positive self-assessments for negative ones.  Also, there are ways to nurture the self and to relax, in order maintain a balanced sense of self-value.  

There are ways to develop and maintain self-esteem.  Experiencing personal wellness and a healthy body image is an important part of self-esteem.  Emotional self-expression may enhance a person’s sense of value.  Affirming self-talk and self-encouragement may enhance self-esteem.  Having achievable personal goals may also promote a sense of accomplishment.  Having supportive friends in a healthy social life may enhance self-esteem.  

Not all agree with the idea of the importance of self-esteem as a social construct.  

### Concluding Points

  • Value yourself.  
  • Nurture your own “inner child.”  
  • Build your sense of self-confidence in a conscious way.  
  • Make choices that will align with your self and your values.  
  • Respect yourself as you respect others.  

### References

Bourne, E.J. (2000).  The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.  3rd Ed.  Oakland:  New Harbinger Publications.  301 – 302.  

Self Esteem (pdf)