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What's your definition of "self-esteem"?

SlightlyPerfect
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Posted by on Jul. 17, 2012 at 7:49 AM
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I've been reading a lot of replies in this group, and I sort of feel like we may have a variety of opinions on what self-esteem actually is.

So how do you define self-esteem?

I'm writing an article on self-esteem, and I found this image,


and I thought, That's not what self-esteem is. It's not "loving yourself" or repeating mantras like "I'm the best." And then I found this one, which I totally disagree with.


So I'm wondering as moms, when we say we want to raise our daughters with healthy self-esteem, what do we really mean by that? What are we actually talking about?

slightlyperfect

by on Jul. 17, 2012 at 7:49 AM
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SlightlyPerfect
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by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2012 at 7:51 AM

I settled on Branden's definition years ago.

Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think. By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change. It is also the experience that success, achievement, fulfillment—happiness—are right and natural for us. The survival-value of such confidence is obvious; so is the danger when it is missing.

Self-esteem is not the euphoria or buoyancy that may be temporarily induced by a drug, a compliment, or a love affair. It is not an illusion or hallucination. If it is not grounded in reality, if it is not built over time through the appropriate operation of mind, it is not self-esteem.

The root of our need for self-esteem is the need for a consciousness to learn to trust itself. And the root of the need to learn such trust is the fact that consciousness is volitional: we have the choice to think or not to think. We control the switch that turns consciousness brighter or dimmer. We are not rational—that is, reality-focused—automatically. This means that whether we learn to operate our mind in such a way as to make ourselves appropriate to life is ultimately a function of our choices. Do we strive for consciousness or for its opposite? For rationality or its opposite? For coherence and clarity or their opposite? For truth or its opposite?

But I feel a lot of people have a different definition.

slightlyperfect

AzariahsMother
by on Jul. 17, 2012 at 9:50 AM
To me it means feeling good/great about your inside and out. No matter what others say you stay true to you.
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SweetLuci
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

 I think self esteem means your opinion of yourself, what you feel your own value or worth is. Having high self esteem or low self esteem are the two ends of the spectrum.

SweetLuci
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

 Having a healthy self esteem is feeling comfortable with yourself. Having faith in your own abilities. Understanding that you don't always have to be the most beautiful or the smartest or the most talented in all areas to be a person worthy of love; that we each have our own beauty and   intelligence and talents. Understanding that a failure doesn't make you a failure if you learn from it, and that you have the abilities and strength to get through difficult situations.

SweetLuci
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

 Having a low self esteem would mean not being able to see our own strengths and abilities, even though they are there. Thinking that we aren't pretty, even though we each have beauty. I think low self esteem is more involved with the way a person thinks badly of themself rather than seeing the reality, and even if they're complimented, their self talk will over shadow that.

Kiwismommy19
by Wendy on Jul. 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I agree with all 3 of your replies.

Quoting SweetLuci:

 Having a low self esteem would mean not being able to see our own strengths and abilities, even though they are there. Thinking that we aren't pretty, even though we each have beauty. I think low self esteem is more involved with the way a person thinks badly of themself rather than seeing the reality, and even if they're complimented, their self talk will over shadow that.


Mrs.Andrews
by on Jul. 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM

I think self esteem is how you feel about yourself. To have a healthy self esteem, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to recognize the good things about yourself and be honest about them. Don't do the whole, I'm so fat! whine whine whine, when you know you aren't fat at all. (that's just an example). But it also means being honest with yourself about the things that need to be fixed. You can't go around throwing tantrums and treating people like crap because you feel like it, then tell yourself it's ok and you are a great person.

heather4511
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2012 at 9:20 PM
To me self esteem is feeling confident in yourself and knowing that you deserve the best. Also that you are the best "you" there is.
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SlightlyPerfect
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by Bronze Member on Jul. 18, 2012 at 8:09 AM

But what is "how you feel about yourself" based on? Where does that come from? How does one know one is a "great person"? What if one isn't? And how does one judge that?

I've seen plenty of delusional people think they're amazing or they avoid responsibility for their behavior. To me, even though they may "feel good about themselves," they're not that way in reality. See, I don't think "feeling" is adequate.

Quoting Mrs.Andrews:

I think self esteem is how you feel about yourself. To have a healthy self esteem, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to recognize the good things about yourself and be honest about them. Don't do the whole, I'm so fat! whine whine whine, when you know you aren't fat at all. (that's just an example). But it also means being honest with yourself about the things that need to be fixed. You can't go around throwing tantrums and treating people like crap because you feel like it, then tell yourself it's ok and you are a great person.


slightlyperfect

SlightlyPerfect
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by Bronze Member on Jul. 18, 2012 at 8:10 AM

How do you know you deserve "the best"? How do you determine what "the best" even is?

Quoting heather4511:

To me self esteem is feeling confident in yourself and knowing that you deserve the best. Also that you are the best "you" there is.


slightlyperfect

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