A short blog this week because I am in the middle of running an NLP Practitioner programme. We have a wonderful group with lots of people making new discoveries about themselves!
What is self esteem?
This seems like a simple question but maybe there is more than appears on the surface. One definition we could consider is that our self esteem reflects on how we feel about and what we believe about ourselves.
In academia self esteem can be “global” or domain specific. Global self esteem is our overall sense of worth. Domain self esteem relates to specific areas of your life. For example we can have low self esteem in one area of life and high in another.
For now we will consider global self esteem.
Low self esteem could be described as feelings of low self worth and a lack of confidence. There may also be a lack of self belief, perhaps negative belief about our perception of self.
I sometimes hear people with low self esteem say very negative things about themselves such as;
“I’m needy and I use people”
If challenged people will often defend their statements by coming up with “proof”! They fight to maintain their negative view of themselves and may even become angry at any suggestion that they have value.
These same people when offered a compliment are likely to disregard it or even argue against it.
There are other people with low self esteem who do not follow this pattern. On the surface they appear confident and may even give an impression of high self value. Such people are sometimes perceived as arrogant although not always. They are essentially faking it either consciously or unconsciously. They live in fear of being found out! They are still experiencing low self esteem.
Self esteem for other people sits in a middle position, generally the person feels good about themselves however they may be vulnerable to external events. When things in life go wrong they will experience a dip in self esteem. The long term impact of that dip depends on their resilience. Resilience is the bounce back factor, how quickly does it take for our self esteem to return to our normal level.
The healthier our self esteem the more resilient we tend to be. It is appropriate to be effected by crisis, trauma and disaster. Lack of reaction would be a sign of mental imbalance. We can however improve our resilience.
Next week I will discuss what healthy self esteem looks like and how it is formed.