My Students’ Blog

Self-Esteem

By Sean Picarello

Do you ever feel confident doing something, knowing that you can do it well? Do you feel secure in your abilities to carry out your responsibilities in life? No matter how you answer these questions, they pertain to your self-esteem. Self-esteem affects all of us and determines how we will act out in society. Whether you know it or not, it is important that we understand that thinking about ourselves in a certain way can change a lot in our lives.  Self-esteem lately has been a word ingrained in all our brains by specialists on TV and online. Because of all this coverage, it is important to have a more in depth knowledge of self-esteem. 

What is self-esteem? It is the concept about how much value you place onto yourself. Self-esteem is an interesting psychological construct that has been proven to predict people’s future decisions. It has influence on how people can act academically, ethically, and relationally. People with higher self-esteems tend to have it because they succeed academically, and/or in their chosen career fields. For example, imagine that you are a scientist and you know you are knowledgeable and valuable to society. This is an example of self-esteem because the scientist realizes his inherent value. The thing about self-esteem is that it is not just about confidence about yourself but also the lack of it. Interestingly enough, you can still predict people’s behavior when they have low self-esteem. People with lower self esteem have less confidence and believe they are less valued than others. People that have lower self esteems tend to not do well academically, may have trouble finding and having confidence in a career, and having a fulfilled life in general.                                                    

How does someone achieve higher self worth? Persistence after failure. Now this sounds simple, but in reality it can be challenging. The biggest reason people with higher self-esteem succeed is because they keep going after their goals, even when they fail. Inversely, if you have lower self-esteem, you are more likely to give up after failure and not do anything new. People with lower self-esteem also tend to not be as happy or productive as people with higher self-esteem because they don’t try new things as much, which means they don’t fail or succeed. This leaves people feeling like they have accomplished nothing, and it diminishes their self worth. Now one of the biggest things associated with self-esteem is happiness. It is proven scientifically that people with higher self-esteems test higher in levels of happiness than people with lower self-esteem. Self-esteem basically enhances your initiative and pleasant feelings. So, next time you are feeling down, maybe you should go out and try something. You might fail, but that is the point of being a human being, to go out and live your life and to have confidence that you will succeed through your failures.

So how do you manage self-esteem? One answer is in physical exercise, and there are benefits that you probably didn’t expect. Scientists had a study in 2003 about the correlation between health and self esteem. They took two groups of people; one followed their own routines and the others exercised and ate healthier. The test results showed that the intervention group tested higher in levels of self-esteem than the control group. The intervention became less interested in physical appearance, social acceptance, and athletic ability because they had made themselves strong and healthy, so they didn’t have to worry about it. The control group gained more weight and were more aware of their health and social situation, while the intervention group lost weight, accepted their health, and were less conscious of social acceptance. So eating healthy and maintaining your physical health is an amazing way to maintain and build your self-esteem.

Does self-esteem predict that people only do the right thing all the time? Not necessarily. Self-esteem is not just reserved for people that are righteous and law-abiding. Studies show that people that are narcissistic, conceited, and defensive also can have high self-esteem. Self-esteem levels also do not prevent drug use, and, in some cases, can be a motivator for drug use. A person may be so confident in themselves that they are willing to experiment in irresponsible ways. Self-esteem really does not have any correlation to potential drug use or violence, but to how the person feels about such activities.  Interesting enough, the highest and lowest rates of cheating and bullying are found in different subcategories of people with higher self-esteem .

How do others feel about self-esteem? According to Anthony Picarello, a resident in Mossyrock, self esteem is critical. He believes that self-esteem is, “Confidence in your abilities and being respectful to people and yourself at all times.” In the past, Anthony struggled with self-esteem issues but he says, “who doesn’t.” Anthony says that by maintaining a higher self esteem you will, ”try more things and follow your dreams because you’re not afraid to fail and learn from it. And a sure way to not be afraid is to do your best.” He uses reflection, meditation, insight, farsight, and love to help maintain good self-esteem. If someone out there is suffering from low self-esteem, he recommends you find a self help book that speaks out to you. His was, The Four Agreements which is inspired by ancient Toltec wisdom.

Self-esteem is a very important concept in the world today. In a world where the amount of money you have determines your class, education, and your future actions, it can be hard sometimes to believe you have value. But, believe me when I say this, you are priceless. No matter where you are in the world, no matter where you are on the socioeconomic ladder, remember you are a unique human perceiving the universe, and you can do anything you set your mind to. Schools do not tell kids often enough how special they are, because being unique makes you powerful. You only get one body, as far as we know, so you might as well love it and use it to the best of your ability. 

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