What Is Self Esteem?

What is self esteem, exactly? Self esteem is defined as the confidence and satisfaction we feel about ourselves. It reflects what our subconscious believes is true about how worthy, valuable, lovable, and capable we are. When we have positive self esteem, we see ourselves as competent and worthy, and we feel good about ourselves.

Self esteem is typically formed as a result of our lifetime of experiences (and especially those experiences that happened early in our lives).

Because the subconscious accepts words and emotions to be facts and does not distinguish between what is real and what we experience only in our minds (see Subconscious Mind for further details), our self esteem is continually being built and modified by what we see in the verbal and non-verbal messages of those around us.




There are three main components to the levels of our self esteem.


Our Sense of Internal Control

Having a feeling of control about ourselves and our circumstances. This happens when we feel that our destiny is in our own control, rather than feeling like things happen to us without our power, or simply as a series of accidents.

Our sense of internal control comes from realizing that our actions result in consequences, seeing cause and effect associated to success and failure, and being given power and control with an expectation of using that power and control conscientiously.


A Sense of Belonging

Having a sense of belonging and acceptance. When we feel accepted and acceptable, we are able to more freely express ourselves and act authentically.

Our sense of belonging comes from accepting messages from others as well as ourselves (self-talk), practicing a positive approach and attitude, experiencing emotional safety, and the ability to separate our performance from who we are.


Our Sense of Competence

Our sense of competence relates to our self-worth, and how good at things we think we are. Our subconscious is continuously receiving and interpreting information related to our relative level of competence. When we interpret our experience as success, we become more confident, and we then tend to take risks and create more opportunities for ourselves.

Our sense of competence comes from achievement. Taking risks that pay off, having special talents, recognition of those talents and constructive feedback from others.


See the Improving Low Self Esteem page to learn methods you can use for building your self esteem.

Test your level of self esteem with the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale.

Read some valuable Self Esteem Articles here.

You can read the enlightening Self Esteem Quotes we have compiled here.




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