Trinity Valley Community College

   

Guidance Services

Athens Campus
Linda Daniel
Director of Guidance 

Services

100 Cardinal Drive
Athens, TX 75751
(903) 675-6350

Palestine Campus
Dr. Jeffrey Watson
Provost
Vicki Dossett, LPC
Counselor
2970 N. St. Hwy 19
P.O. Box 2530
Palestine, TX 75802
(903) 723-7046

Terrell Campus
Dr. Algia Allen
Provost
Luanne Bourland
Counselor
1200 E. I-20
P.O. Box 668
Terrell, TX 75160
(972) 563-4904

Health Science Center
Dr. Helen Reid
Provost
Jeffrey Ballom, NCC
Counselor
800 Ed. Hall Drive
Kaufman, TX 75142
(972) 932-4309

Self Esteem
   
Posted: 1/20/2012 9:03:39 AM
Self-esteem is a term in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent", "I am worthy") and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame some would distinguish how the self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, the positive or negative evaluation of the self, is how we feel about it.


What is Self-Esteem?

Most people's feelings and thoughts about themselves fluctuate somewhat based on their daily experiences. The grade you get on an exam, how your friends treat you, ups and downs in a
romantic relationship-all can have a temporary impact on your wellbeing.
Your self-esteem, however, is something more fundamental than the normal "ups and downs" associated with situational changes. For people with good basic self-esteem, normal "ups and downs" may lead to temporary fluctuations in how they feel about themselves, but only to a limited extent. In contrast, for people with poor basic self-esteem, these "ups and downs" may make all the difference in the world.

Take a look at the following information to get you on the road to better self-esteem.


 

Poor Self-Esteem vs. Healthy Self-Esteem

People with poor self-esteem often rely on how they are doing in the present to determine how they feel about themselves. They need positive external experiences to counteract the negative feelings and thoughts that constantly plague them. Even then, the good feeling (from a good grade, etc.) can be temporary.
Healthy self-esteem is based on our ability to assess ourselves accurately (know ourselves) and still be able to accept and to value ourselves unconditionally. This means being able to realistically acknowledge our strengths and limitations (which is part of being human) and at the same time accepting ourselves as worthy and worthwhile without conditions or reservations.

Stationary Art


Where Does Self-Esteem Come From?

Our self-esteem develops and evolves throughout our lives as we build an image of ourselves through our experiences with different people and activities. Experiences during our childhood play a particularly large role in the shaping of our basic self-esteem. When we were growing up, our successes (and failures) and how we were treated by the members of our immediate family, by our teachers, coaches, religious authorities, and by our peers, all contributed to the creation of our basic self-esteem.

Self-esteem is largely developed during childhood.

Healthy Self-Esteem

Childhood experiences that lead to healthy self-esteem include-

  • being praised

  • being listened to
  • being spoken to respectfully
  • getting attention and hugs
  • experiencing success in sports or school
  • having trustworthy friends

Low Self-Esteem

Childhood experiences that lead to low self-esteem include-

  • being harshly criticized
  • being yelled at, or beaten
  • being ignored, ridiculed or teased
  • being expected to be "perfect" all the time
  • experiencing failures in sports or school
People with low self-esteem were often given messages that failed experiences (losing a game, getting a poor grade, etc.) were failures of their whole self.
What Does Your "Inner Voice" Say?

Our past experiences, even the things we don't usually think about, are all alive and active in our daily life in the form of an Inner Voice. Although most people do not "hear" this voice in the same way they would a spoken one, in many ways it acts in a similar way, constantly repeating those original messages to us.
For people with healthy self-esteem the messages of the inner voice are positive and reassuring. For people with low self-esteem, the inner voice becomes a harsh inner critic, constantly criticizing, punishing, and belittling their accomplishments.


 

THREE Faces of Low Self-Esteem

Most of us have an image of what low self-esteem looks like, but it is not always so easy to recognize. Here are three common faces that low self-esteem may wear:

The Impostor: acts happy and successful, but is really terrified of failure. Lives with the constant fear that she or he will be "found out." Needs continuous successes to maintain the mask of positive self-esteem, which may lead to problems with perfectionism, procrastination, competition, and burn-out.

 

The Rebel: acts like the opinions or good will of others - especially people who are important or powerful - don't matter. Lives with constant anger about not feeling "good enough." Continuously needs to prove that others' judgments and criticisms don't hurt, which may lead to problems like blaming others excessively, breaking rules or laws, or fighting authority.


The Loser: acts helpless and unable to cope with the world and waits for someone to come to the rescue. Uses self-pity or indifference as a shield against fear of taking responsibility for changing his or her life. Looks constantly to others for guidance, which can lead to such problems as lacking assertiveness skills, under-achievement, and excessive reliance on others in relationships.


Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem can have devastating consequences.

  • It can create anxiety, stress, loneliness and increased likelihood for depression.
  • It can cause problems with friendships and relationships.
  • It can seriously impair academic and job performance.
  • It can lead to underachievement and increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse.

Worst of all, these negative consequences themselves reinforce the negative self-image and can take a person into a downward spiral of lower and lower self-esteem and increasingly non-productive or even actively self-destructive behavior.