What Is Self-Esteem? A Definition and Signs Of Strong Self-Esteem

Question: What is self-esteem? Here’s a definition and some explanations.

WHAT IS SELF-ESTEEM – Self-evaluation is crucial but here are some things to know about a person’s self-esteem and what it means from a psychologist’s perspective.

In a citation, Adler & Stewart, 2004, have defined self-esteem as a person’s overall sense of his or her value or worth or how much a person “values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself”.

What Is Self-Esteem
Photo lifted from Good Therapy

Morris Rosenberg, meanwhile, simply defined it as a person’s attitude towards himself either favorable or unfavorable attitude.

It is believed that certain factors can affect one’s self-esteem such as the following:

  • Genetics
  • Personality
  • Life experiences
  • Age
  • Health
  • Thoughts
  • Social circumstances
  • The reactions of others
  • Comparison of self to others

In a post from Positive Psychology, this is how self-esteem differs from these concepts:

SELF-CONCEPTThis is how we perceive ourselves, an answer to the question “Who am I?” It is how we know our tendencies, thoughts, preferences and habits, hobbies, skills, and areas of weakness.
SELF-IMAGEThis is similar to self-concept – it is how we see ourselves but far from the reality of life in it.
SELF-WORTHHibbert, 2013 says this is “the more global recognition that we are valuable human beings worthy of love”.
SELF-CONFIDENCEThis defines the trust you have in yourself and your belief in yourself in surpassing challenges or solving problems.
SELF-EFFICACYThis is your trust or belief in yourself that you can accomplish any task.
SELF-COMPASSIONThis describes how we relate ourselves to other people.

These are the signs of having strong self-esteem:

  1. being aware of the difference between being confident and being arrogant
  2. not afraid of hearing feedback
  3. not aiming to please other people
  4. not seeking approval from other people
  5. able to set boundaries
  6. not afraid of conflict
  7. not afraid to speak out opinions
  8. not pushy but assertive
  9. do not seek perfection
  10. not afraid to fail
  11. no feeling of being inferior
  12. acceptance of whoever they are


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