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Self-esteem

It is vital for each of us to feel that we are appreciable persons and of some value, esteemed and considered by the people around us.

In fact, the self-esteem of a person does not stem exclusively from individual internal factors, but they also have a certain influence on the so-called comparisons that the individual does, consciously or not, with the environment in which he lives.

To constitute the process of formation of self-esteem there are two components: the real self and the ideal self.
The real self is nothing but an objective vision of one’s own abilities; said in simpler terms corresponds to what we really are.
The ideal self corresponds to how the individual would like to be.

The presence of an ideal self can be a stimulus to growth, as it induces to formulate objectives to be achieved, but can generate dissatisfaction and other negative emotions if it is felt very distant from the real one.

The greater the discrepancy between what one is and what one would like to be, the less will it be to estimate ourselves.

Self-esteem includes: self-satisfaction, intimate awareness of one’s worth and confidence in one’s ability to perform a certain task. To esteem ourselves that means not to question our importance and, consequently, to be able to assume responsibility towards others.

Respect for ourselves, for our needs, emotions, potentiality, helps to enter into a constructive relationship with others. If this respect is lacking (low self-esteem), also the relationship with others is deeply conditioned.

Self-esteem is an assessment that the person gives of himself.
The  assessment that varies between two extremes: one positive and one negative.

Having high self-esteem is the result of a limited difference between the real self and the ideal self. It means being able to recognize in a realistic way to have both qualities and defects, to work to improve their weaknesses, appreciating their strengths. All this emphasizes greater openness to the environment, greater autonomy and greater confidence in one’s abilities.

People with high self-esteem show greater perseverance in succeeding in an activity that thrills them or in achieving a goal they care about and are instead less determined in an area where they have invested little.

These are people more likely to relativize a failure and to engage in new businesses that help them to forget.

On the contrary, low self-esteem can lead to reduced participation and lack of enthusiasm, which take the form of situations of demotivation in which disengagement and disinterest are predominant.

Only their own weaknesses are recognized, while their strengths are neglected. Often their  tend to evade even the most banal situations for fear of rejection by others. Their are more vulnerable and less autonomous.

People with low self-esteem give up much more easily when it comes to achieving a goal, especially if they encounter some difficulty or feel an opinion contrary to what they think.

These are people who are struggling to abandon the feelings of disappointment and bitterness associated with experiencing a failure. Moreover, faced with criticism, they are very sensitive to the intensity and duration of the inconvenience caused.

Those with low self-esteem experience: a lack of confidence in themselves and in the world; a difficulty in listening to and identifying realistic goals that are coherent with one’s own aspirations; the tendency to depend on others as regards the definition of value as a person and skills; a continuous search for the consent of others, a lack of initiative and a lack of willingness to risk; the tendency to react on impulse; the lack of a personal life project; a vulnerability to anxiety disorders; a passive behavioral style.
All these elements can contribute to maintaining a low level of self-esteem.

On the other hand, those who have excessive self-esteem are shown to be a proud, extremely stubborn and self-confident person and, as a consequence, unable to see their mistakes and possible alternative behaviors; in this case we are talking about hypertrophic self-esteem.
In extreme cases it becomes presumption, contempt for the other, superiority; all characteristics of the narcissistic personality disorder.

It should be noted, however, that sometimes low self-esteem is just disguised (in an attempt to compensate) by contemptuous, haughty and arrogant attitudes. The personality structure of people with low self-esteem is however often problematic affective dependence, insecurity, indecision, but also real symptoms of eating disorders, mood or anxiety are very frequent.
In the most extreme cases of low self-esteem, one often has to deal with real personality disorders, such as the dependent disorder.

In general, the improvement of self-esteem is a fundamental premise for the psycho-social well-being of the person.


Self-esteem rests on our emotional roots and must always be cultivated, every day. We often do not realize it, but most of the behaviors we take, especially when we are in a state of malaise, are ultimately aimed at supporting our self-esteem.

Feeling that our self-esteem is in danger is one of the psychologically worst threats to our human mind. How to improve it then?

To understand how to improve self-esteem, it is first of all the place where it comes from. Self-esteem is a psychological construct that indicates the internal perception that each of us has about our value as a person.

Self-esteem develops gradually in the child from early childhood, ever since he begins to perceive the expectations and judgments that others have about him.

Feeling authentically and realistically appreciated and mirrored by parents in their abilities as well as in their physical characteristics are basic prerequisites for developing good self-esteem.

If at this stage the child does not receive sufficient mirroring or is falsely flattered, due to the qualities he does not authentically possess he will run the risk of not internalizing a sufficiently stable self-esteem.

Feeling fundamentally good and appreciable people allows to evaluate and react realistically to any errors or failures, while if you have a big basic insecurity every stumbling block, every little failure can be perceived as the confirmation of your personal ineptitude.

It is vital for each of us to feel that we are appreciable persons and of some value, esteemed and considered by the people around us.

In fact, the self-esteem of a person does not stem exclusively from individual internal factors, but they also have a certain influence on the so-called comparisons that the individual does, consciously or not, with the environment in which he lives.

To constitute the process of formation of self-esteem there are two components: the real self and the ideal self.
The real self is nothing but an objective vision of one’s own abilities; said in simpler terms corresponds to what we really are.
The ideal self corresponds to how the individual would like to be.

The presence of an ideal self can be a stimulus to growth, as it induces to formulate objectives to be achieved, but can generate dissatisfaction and other negative emotions if it is felt very distant from the real one.
The greater the discrepancy between what one is and what one would like to be, the less will it be to estimate ourselves.

Self-esteem includes: self-satisfaction, intimate awareness of one’s worth and confidence in one’s ability to perform a certain task. To esteem ourselves means not to question our importance and, consequently, to be able to assume responsibility towards others. Respect for ourselves, for our needs, emotions, potentiality, helps to enter into a constructive relationship with others. If this respect is lacking (low self-esteem), also the relationship with others is deeply conditioned.

Self-esteem is an assessment that the person gives of himself.
The  assessment that varies between two extremes: one positive and one negative.

Those with low self-esteem experience: a lack of confidence in themselves and in the world; a difficulty in listening to and identifying realistic goals that are coherent with one’s own aspirations; the tendency to depend on others as regards the definition of value as a person and skills; a continuous search for the consent of others, a lack of initiative and a lack of willingness to risk; the tendency to react on impulse; the lack of a personal life project; a vulnerability to anxiety disorders; a passive behavioral style.
All these elements can contribute to maintaining a low level of self-esteem.

On the other hand, those who have excessive self-esteem are shown to be a proud, extremely stubborn and self-confident person and, as a consequence, unable to see their mistakes and possible alternative behaviors; in this case we are talking about hypertrophic self-esteem.
In extreme cases it becomes presumption, contempt for the other, superiority; all characteristics of the narcissistic personality disorder.

It should be noted, however, that sometimes low self-esteem is just disguised (in an attempt to compensate) by contemptuous, haughty and arrogant attitudes.

The personality structure of people with low self-esteem is however often problematic, affective dependence, insecurity, indecision, but also real symptoms of eating disorders, mood or anxiety are very frequent.
In the most extreme cases of low self-esteem, one often has to deal with real personality disorders, such as the dependent disorder.

In general, the improvement of self-esteem is a fundamental premise for the psycho-social well-being of the person.

Lower the level of self-esteem and negatively affect one’s relationship style that becomes passive.

With the passage of time, the accumulation of dissatisfaction and frustration for the failure to achieve the desired goals, which fuels low self-esteem, can lead to an impulsive rage manifestation with an aggressive relationship. Both these behaviors turn out to be dysfunctional with respect to the objective of developing clear, assertive and functional relationships to achieve the objectives.

The main work  should to be done on the obstacles that contribute to the development and maintenance of a good level of self-esteem: irrational fears, dysfunctional thoughts and ineffective communication style.

Self-esteem rests on our emotional roots and must always be cultivated, every day. We often do not realize it, but most of the behaviors we take, especially when we are in a state of malaise, are ultimately aimed at supporting our self-esteem.

Feeling that our self-esteem is in danger is one of the psychologically worst threats to our human mind. How to improve it then?

To understand how to improve self-esteem, it is first of all to find out the place where it comes from. Self-esteem is a psychological construct that indicates the internal perception that each of us has about our value as a person.

Self-esteem develops gradually in the child from early childhood, ever since he begins to perceive the expectations and judgments that others have about him.

Feeling authentically and realistically appreciated and mirrored by parents in their abilities as well as in their physical characteristics are basic prerequisites for developing good self-esteem.

If at this stage the child does not receive sufficient mirroring or is falsely flattered, due to the qualities he does not authentically possess he will run the risk of not internalizing a sufficiently stable self-esteem.

Feeling fundamentally good and appreciable people allows to evaluate and react realistically to any errors or failures, while if you have a big basic insecurity every stumbling block, every little failure can be perceived as the confirmation of your personal ineptitude.

What makes the difference is therefore not “quantity” (a lot of self-esteem / little self-esteem, etc.) but more precisely stability: if we possess a sufficiently firm conviction of our value as people or if it vacillates with every adversity of life.Often to improve one’s self-esteem, it is of fundamental importance to learn to recognize the type of attribution that we operate when we evaluate our behavior.

As human beings we need to give an explanation of what happens to us, in the face of our success or failure we can operate two different types of attribution.

We can attribute them to the action of others or external contingencies (external attribution) or to ourselves (internal attribution). If you recognize yourself more inclined to attribute to yourself the guilt of a failure and to attribute your successes to external circumstances (chance, fortune), then perhaps you have something to balance out better about your real responsibilities in the events that happen to you.

But it does not end here, compared to our direct responsibility in the outcome of an event (internal attribution) there are two other cognitive mechanisms that we can alternatively implement: a specific or global attribution.

In the first case we evaluate the outcome of one of our actions as appreciable or unsuccessful (for example, the failure of a first date) without however affecting our perception of ourselves.

In the second case (global attribution) instead we interpret the incident (most often a failure or an error) as something so serious as to question our personal value.

This is what happens with a too fragile self-esteem: just a rejection to an examination, a criticism received or a mistake made to make us feel that it is not only our conduct to have been bankruptcy, but we are consequently ourselves globally as people.

This cognitive confusion between what one does, the individual actions, and what one is, the global personality, is one of the greatest self-esteem traps.

Yes, self-perception has a huge impact on the world in which others consider us. But it is very important to remember that the foundations of self-esteem reside in ourselves and do not depend on opinions, nor on the opinions of those around us.

Only we know fully our strengths and our limitations if we really know and are sincere with ourselves. We know how much is our really value even if sometimes we do not recognize it.

It can happen that evaluating oneself in a negative way is simply an excuse not to act, to avoid making an important decision or to change one’s life. And yet only by relying first of all on ourselves can we evolve.

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