Amazing how we are bound to each other. Our daily activities with the people in our lives affect our outlook on our own individuality. In the beginning, we already have a sense-of-self, of what we are capable of and what we can do. As we progress with this knowledge, our relations with other people tends to affect our self-esteem.
Self-esteem is based on our self-evaluation. Our decisions depend on the choices we make and this is affected by our judgment. All these add up in how we perceive ourselves. We critique and regard ourselves to a certain extent until we come to a concept of who we are. This is self-esteem. This is how we know ourselves.
Psychologist Nathaniel Branden said that self-esteem includes two components: self-confidence and self-respect.
No man is an island. Whenever he goes out of his home, he deals with others. A person’s confidence is affected by his society. Those who are confident know who they are, even among a number of strangers. However, there are those who easily become insecure when they compare themselves to others. A person must learn how to stand on his (or her) own and stand tall at the same time. As long as he is not doing anybody harm, then there is no reason for him to feel inferior to his fellows. Dealing with society cannot be generalized because people have all their own ways of handling confidence and insecurity.
It is important that parents teach confidence to their children at a young age. Take note that it must be the right amount of confidence. Too much can mold arrogant children who think they are superior to everyone. Too little can result to children who are bullied. It is the parent’s task to instill in their children’s mind that confidence comes from within and is an attitude to others. It is the perfect mix of not letting yourself get stepped on and at the same time not stepping on other people as well.
When self-confidence is achieved, self-esteem follows. The person then figures out that he is a worthy human person and will not bend for others to let them have it their way. He knows when to compromise and when to fight for what he thinks is right. With a confidence based on the solid belief, self-esteem is pumped up.
Do not mistake self-esteem for the approval of others. Insecure individuals have to be commended by their friends in order for them to know who they are. This is not self-esteem but a sign of weakness. Self-esteem, like self-confidence, must also come from within.
Too much self-esteem is also a problem because the person will be narcissistic and self-centered. He will insist on always having his way. Again, a balance must be achieved. One must know his worth simultaneously as he knows the other’s worth. In philosophy, this is depicted by the Self and the Other. The Self is in constant relation with the Other and their actions affect one another. Self-esteem is good for the Self because it helps him to become a confident individual who is ready to face life’s challenges. However, if he is too much into himself, then he will hurt the Other.
We need self-esteem because it impacts various aspects of our lives. Our emotions, desires, values, choices and goals are rooted in our self-esteem. People who have low self-esteem tend to have psychological problems.
by Jeff Cohen