I am in the process of completing my book and seminar material for "Leadership & Management Best Practices & Techniques." Here is my view of self esteem.
All the best
Hilton Evens (Dr)
Durban, South Africa
Self-esteem is made up of three elements: -
· what you think of yourself
· what you think other people think of you
· what you think you should be like.
Self-esteem: the perception one has of ones own competence and the ability to cope with any situation that arises
1.1.1 How is self-esteem developed?
From the moment that babies take their first breath, they begin to experience feelings. Babies do not have the language to think conscious thoughts about it, so they experience feelings. Babies might experience a feeling of comfort and wellbeing, because their parents care for them by feeding them when they are hungry, wrapping them in a blanket when it is cold and holding and touching them lovingly to make them feel wanted. Or babies can feel neglected if they do not get fed on time or if they are left alone for long periods of time without being cared for or caressed lovingly.
The babies in the first situation will already have experienced their first positive feedback from others, which will foster a positive, healthy self-image. The babies in the second situation already feel that they are not worthy of other peoples love, and they start to develop a negative self-image.
For the rest of our lives, every experience contributes towards building our self esteem. When we experience something good we feel successful and our self-esteem grows. When something bad happens, we feel like a failure and our self-esteem takes a knock and spirals downward.
People with good self-esteem are: -
· willing to take risks
· not afraid of criticism
People with bad self-esteem are: -
· shy and lacking in confidence
· scared of risk
· nervous and uncertain
· react negatively to criticism
1.1.2 Is it possible to improve my self-esteem?
Yes, it is! It is not easy and might take some time, but such a change can turn your life around. You first need to understand all the dimensions of self-esteem before you can do anything to change it.
Self-esteem comprises five dimensions: -
i. dexterity or skill
i) My dexterity and skills
How good am I with my hands? Can I easily learn new skills like playing a musical instrument, or am I good with sewing or making things? If I tried sewing, for instance, when I was little and someone laughed at my efforts, I might get the idea that I will never be good at it. If I am able to learn to do something fairly easily, I will know that I am good at it. If something negative happens more than once. I will become convinced that I am hopeless. The opposite is also true.
ii) My intelligence
If my parents react positively to things I say and do, the idea that I am OK will be reinforced in my mind. If they say things like clever boy! or good girl!, I will start believing that I am clever. At school, this dimension of my self- esteem gets fed every day, because now I start comparing myself with my peers. If others constantly do better than me, I will believe that I am stupid, and if I do better than others, I will be convinced that I am clever.
iii) My psychological characteristics
Through experiences, I will either see myself as a well-balanced person, who knows what I want, or I will regard myself as a person who cannot make decisions, and will overcompensate in other things.
iv) My physical attributes
This is the dimension to which people pay most attention. This is about what you look like. Sometimes a persons perception of what others think about their appearance is very different from what others really think. Unfortunately, your appearance often determines how others treat you. Boys will pay more attention to a pretty, slender girl than to a plain, overweight girl, even if the second girl is a much nicer person. That is why the beauty and slimming industries are multi-billion Rand industries.
v) My gender dimension
This is influenced by the society in which I grow up. The traditional views and values of my community will determine the role that I am expected to fulfil as a man or a woman. This differs greatly from culture to culture, It is very important that each person assesses objectively what the priority is in his or her life, and then strives to reach those goals for himself or herself.
1.2.3 How can I improve my self-esteem?
i) Do not be afraid to change
Take control of your own life today, and fearlessly go for it! Make a conscious decision that you are going to stop cowering in your corner, and boldly make the changes necessary to improve your life.
ii) Accept yourself
Make a list of your positive attributes, and focus on them rather than attributes that you are not satisfied with. Also look at your negative attributes, and decide what needs to be done to improve on them.
iii) Be positive
Enjoy life! Be thankful for what you receive every day, and you will start feeling fortunate. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and you will see things starting to change for the better.
iv) Set realistic objectives
Just wishing you could be more beautiful or good at sports, will not make it so. You would have to pay more attention to your appearance, by dressing your best and having your hair cut professionally or diet to lose the extra weight to look better. You might also have to practise very long and hard to become a good golfer or athlete.
v) Accept others for what they are
Treat others as you would like to be treated. Look beyond appearances, and do not judge before you know a person.
Make two lists:
a. all your skills and attributes that you feel good about
b. things about yourself that you would like to change
On the list that you made in 1 b), write a goal for achieving each item.
Explain how you can help a staff member do what you did in No. 2, above.
Points to ponder. . .
v Do you think that an emotionally intelligent person has good self-esteem?
v Do you think that a good leader needs to have good self-esteem?
From South Africa , Johannesburg
I am a Soft Skills Trainer, based at Bangalore. I have worked with Business leaders and executives at various levels, besides some Govt. officials and NGOs.
Hilton has nicely brought out some aspects of "Self Esteem".
With my experience of over 18 years of working with 'People', I would like to add some more insight to this very important topic.
1. Self Esteem varies with circumstances and is greatly influenced by immediate surroundings, e.g. an average looking girl in the company of 'ugly ducklings!' may enjoy an elevated level of self esteem. Put her in the company of 'Beauties' and she will experience unusually low levels of self esteem. Duration of this kind of temporary phenomenon may be another variable factor.
2. In a society like ours, where the socio-economic-ethnological differences are vast and ever-dynamic, the very definition of 'Self Esteem' is fluid and ever-changing. I can say with certain level of certainty that people's upbringing has much lesser impact on their 'Self Esteem' (as adults) in our society vis-a-vis, say, more developed and stable societies e.g. Scandinavia, US, UK, Canada, SA etc.
3. In our society, Psycho-sociological development of a person seems to have a much greater impact on his 'Self Esteem', compared to other societies mentioned earlier. This has perhaps to do with a greater level of difficulties, struggles and adversities faced during growing up and in day to day life. Our ability to overcome greater odds in life (even for vary basic needs, which are taken for granted elsewhere), serves to build higher self esteems. On the flip side, though, fluctuations are also greater!
4. One’s ability or lack of it at work place, appearance etc. are transitional factors affecting self esteem. These are heavily dependent on the ‘Context’ and can be altered.
5. To achieve consistency in levels of ‘Self Esteem’, one needs to learn the art of detaching himself from the current context and immediate environment. Think of oneself as an independent, unique, self-sufficient and ‘eternal’ entity and start loving oneself. Not to get emotionally or sentimentally involved in events around you is the key to this goal. It does not mean, though, that you pay less attention to your ‘Role and Responsibilities’ in the organization, family and society! In fact these are crucial factors governing the ‘Level’ of Self Esteem.
6. Number of clinical cases of ‘Low Self Esteem’ are very low in India. Though, ignorance, non-reporting etc. may be prevalent in the society, it is my safe estimate that we as a society enjoy greater resilience among its members and enjoy higher average levels of ‘Self Esteem’ compared to many developed societies.
7. Seeking professional help and/ or advice to raise ‘Self Esteem’ of one’s team members is always a good idea in any Business organization.
From India , Bangalore
Brining up if brought up in affluent environment will build up positive image if brough up in a suffering environment will build up negative image.
Education has to give a self worth, understanding of reality, dignity correct education leads to positive self image if not leads to negative self image.
Two types of self esteem
Positive Self esteem: Leads to
a. Self worth
b. Self Respect
c. Self Confidence
d. Self acceptance
e. Self love
f. Self knowledge
g. Self discipline
Negative Self Esteem: Leads to
a. Self doubt
b. Self abuse
c. self denial
d. self centeredness
e. self deceit
f. self indulgence
g. self put down
Every one should develop positive self esteem but we have negative self esteem we must know the causes of it and try to reduce it.
Causes of Negative Self Esteem
Negative self Talk: We talk ourselves consciously or unconsciously which become negative remark for us positive self talk will be very useful self counselling.
Steps to Build Positive Self Esteem
1. Positive Self Assessment
Have a correct assessment of myself what is my capabilities and weakness
2. Set Goals to oneself
What I have to achieve. Goals are of 3 types
1. Short term goals
2. Medium term goals
3. Long term goals
Set goals in realistic manner work hard to achieve our goal should be possible to attain should be time bound
3. Accept Responsibility
Means owning up never blame others for something that happens to us not get excuse for anything good or bad If we miss a chance it wont come again chance has to be taken and should be utilised.
4. Learn to give and receive compliments
Refers to appreciation, recognition praise give and accept appreciation often, very difficult to give compliments important factor which makes us to grow in our life.
5. Practice Discipline
Discipline self imposed restriction on our behaviour an inner law maker learn to put rules to our self and practice without fail problems start innocently but turn to be bad habits.
6. Positive Auto Suggestions or Self counselling
Auto counselling talking with oneself ie., I am capable, friendly good etc. excellently good doctor often we go in search of counsellor talk with oneself is a excellent practice examination of conscience should not curse oneself.
7. Follow Good models
Associate with people of high calibre or quality not associate with people of negative image choose the right person
8. Turn scars into stars
- Often we have disappointments turn our disappointments, failures into stars. no life without suffering and failures belief in our life.
9. Become Internally Driven
- We need self start not become slaves to the plans, ideas and direction of others should not lead by others not give authority to others to rule us we should judge the good and bad things should protect oneself.
10. Learn Intelligent Ignorance
- We must accept our ignorance we dont know lot of things in world some think that they know more they act If we accept on ignorance we start learning good to say I dont know even if we know it gives room for learning.
11. Keep an open mind:
- It is a mind which I ready to accept anything new not a fixed mixed always makes you learn accept your mistake.
12. Experiment with new behaviour
- try to change behaviour secured with established behavious but, we never want to change must experiment with new behaviour may or may not successes but it is not wrong.
13. Build up Positive Attitude
Attitude is the way we see or look at things must always have positive attitude - give good interpretation to any happenings think what I have is what others also have.
14. Commit yourself to a cause
- Any work or ideology can be a cause commit ourself firmly in something commit something that is positive dedication to a cause or relationship.
15. Learn to live in the present
- Sound very ordinary important attitude in our life past is gone, future is uncertain, present is only under control dont constantly blame the past failures not boast the past achievement be prepared for the future
From India , Tiruchchirappalli