What is Self Esteem?
And Why Do You Need It?

by May Bleeker, 7 Apr 2015 (updated 26 June 2020)

Self esteem is more than just a word to describe how you value yourself.

Just as wisdom is knowledge put into practice. I believe that self esteem is the act of valuing yourself.

If self esteem is not demonstrated in your thoughts, words and actions, it isn't there.

photo credit: May Bleeker-Phelan 9 Jan 2013, spring heart easel, copyright www.doorway-to-self-esteem.com 2008-2020, What is self esteem?

So What Is Self Esteem, Exactly?

This is how I define self esteem:

  • Its how you value yourself as a human being. Positive or negative.
  • Its how capable you feel and how happy you are with yourself.
  • Its your trust in your ability to think for yourself and take the right actions.
  • Its your confidence in your ability to learn what needs to be learnt and do what needs to be done to be effective in any situation you face.
  • Its the degree to which you trust and respect yourself.
  • And most importantly, it is all these attitudes expressed through your thoughts, words and actions.
  • Survival Value

    Self esteem helps you with the basics in life. That's why the experts say it has 'survival' value. It helps you survive and thrive in the world. Wherever you go, your sense of self worth goes too.

    Whether it is getting food, shelter, income, family, friends or finding a career or work that you love - it helps you do what needs to be done to get where you want to be. Or when you don't have any, it doesn't.

    How can you tell if your self esteem is ok or not?

    Spend a little time thinking about these self esteem assessment questions. Or do the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale questionnaire.

    Although they are not exactly the same, self esteem is closely linked to your self concept / self image, self confidence, and body image.

    How do you know the self esteem you have is real self esteem and not pseudo self esteem?

    What is self esteem? Still not sure? Check out the wiki definition.

    Since self esteem is all about how you value yourself, this can be reflected in how well you look after your own well being. Check out these basics of self care to see whether there are any areas where you may not be supporting and caring for yourself enough.

    If you want more in-depth information on the subject you may want to read Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. This book provides a very thorough definition and will probably answer a couple of questions you didn't even know you had!

    It provides rich, in-depth information and I found it very useful, but also quite conceptual and hard-reading in places. Its worth the effort if you are willing to take your time and work through it. 

    Humans are complex creatures and it can be difficult to define self esteem. What is your definition?

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