Self Esteem Definition: Can Self Esteem Make Us Happy?

It is not difficult to find a self esteem definition either in a dictionary or the internet, but in many cases these short definitions will not tell you all that you need to know.  For example, my dictionary defines ‘esteem’ as ‘favorable opinion, regard, respect’. So it would follow that ‘self esteem’ means having a favorable opinion or regard or respect for oneself.

But what does it actually mean to have a good opinion of ourselves? Does it mean that we have to think we are better than other people? Not at all. To understand why, we have to look more closely and come up with a self esteem definition that goes beyond what you would find in a dictionary.

Self esteem is a term used in psychology to assess somebody’s evaluation of their own worth. The self esteem definition used in psychology does not assume that self esteem is always favorable. It may be either positive or negative.

Positive self esteem is healthy: this is the favorable opinion of oneself or self respect that the dictionary talked about.  Negative or low self esteem is not psychologically healthy and usually has a bad impact on our lives.  A person with low self esteem is not usually very happy, even when living in circumstances that they feel ought to make them happy. This is because happiness depends as much on how we feel about ourselves as it does on any external circumstances.

Self esteem also impacts on how we feel about other people. People with healthy self esteem usually find it easier to forgive others for hurting them or doing other bad things, because their happiness is less dependent on the actions and opinions of other people.  For the same reason, they are more able to identify, state and seek to satisfy their own needs and wishes in a positive way. So developing healthy self esteem is an important step in being able to find our own path in life.

Self esteem is not quite the same as self confidence. Confidence is more about our performance in a situation, while esteem is a general opinion about ourselves.  So people can be self-confident (sure that they are able to do certain things) while still not respecting themselves. However, some definitions of self esteem include self confidence and it may be tested in self esteem evaluations or questionnaires.

If you are looking for a self esteem definition, then perhaps you are suffering from low self esteem – or somebody close to you may have this problem. Be careful not to make it worse by feeling bad (or criticizing the other person) for having low self esteem. That easily turns into a vicious cycle.

Positive self esteem does not involve comparing ourselves with other people, but having an intrinsic sense that we are significant and worthwhile – that we have a right to be here. There are many ways to boost self esteem and in many cases, this has the power to make us happier. The psychologist Abraham Maslow included a self esteem definition in his list of basic human needs.

Similar Posts:

Previous post:

Next post: