What is self esteem? A look at definitions.

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”

 “I’m stupid”

 I’m selfish”


 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.

About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
This entry was posted in Emotional Awareness, Life in General, NLP, NLP Practitioner, Personal Development, Self Esteem and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to What is self esteem? A look at definitions.

  1. wartica says:

    I totally agree: if you have a positive self-esteem, you will go through life with your chin – way up:)) Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

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  10. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a
    blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m
    not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Thanks for your message and I’m happy to answer off topic. This type of blog is fairly inexpensive to set up. I just pay to control ads which is a small fee. Look at wordpress.com for info. I also used the book “wordpress for dummies” to get started. It was very easy.

      Good luck and let me know how you get on.



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