• Laura Curta

Self- esteem: why self- esteem is not enough

This post is inspired by an Ahaaa! moment while taking an online class on life coaching. I have to share it with you. I will also share a valuable resource which will guide you on your way to self-discovery.

You have 4 Self's

Let’s begin! As human beings, we experience the Self in 4 different ways, namely through self-worth, self-esteem, self-concept and self-image.

I assume that if I were to ask most of you to define all these 4 concepts, you could talk about self-esteem for a day. Since we are young, we are thought about self-esteem and how crucial it is to have high self-esteem. I remember that when I was a teenager everything was regarded as a matter of self-esteem and everything you did, say, wear, etc. was giving away how much you value yourself. Fair enough… until you grow up and you learn and know better. There is something far more important and more significant than our self-esteem. I am talking about the root of the self-esteem: the self-worth.

There are 4 expressions of Self and keeping an eye on each of them and understanding them will help you in your process of bettering yourself, building a balanced life:

  • self- esteem

  • self- worth

  • self- image

  • self- concept

Self-esteem is the subject of many personal- development book, many blog posts and the centre of attention we grow up. When we talk about self-esteem, we talk about how do we regard ourselves, how we feel about ourselves in any given moment in time.

Self-worth is what gives birth to self-esteem. Our self worth is determined by how we understand and appreciate who we actually are, by how we value what we have to offer as individuals (how we evaluate our intrinsic values). Unfortunately, most of us are a bit off when it comes to appreciating correctly and realistically who we are at the core. Why? Because how we regard ourselves and the value we place upon ourselves is determined by how we were brought up. Those brought up by people who constantly encouraged them will place much more value on themselves than those who were belittled and put down constantly. Self-worth has a role to play in how we behave, too. Our behavior is influenced by how we relate to ourselves and by the labels that we put on ourselves. Talking about negative labels, I assume that we are all familiar with the moments when we end up saying to ourselves that we are stupid, clumsy and other rather unfavorable labels… Well, doing so it is normal. We all do it, but once these labels are embraced, adopted and accepted as true, we fill ourselves with negativity. In this way, we end up thinking less of us, and the self-esteem suffers too.

Self-concept is the image we see when we picture ourselves in the future. Having a clear vision about what do you want to be, where and what will you do in the future gives you a reason, is the motivation that pushes you to dare and take challenges, get out of your comfort zone.

Self-image is how we picture ourselves today based on past experiences. Your self-image can impact self-esteem too. If the way you define yourself as being today conflicts and excludes the ability you could have to fulfill your self-concept, your self-esteem will be low. Having a well-defined vision of yourself in the future and believing that we all can change is a great source of hope. Because yes, today you might be in a situation that is not fruitful and causes you distress, you might feel discouraged by your past failures, but you have the power to change the way you will live from now on. Challenging yourself to be more self-aware, to understand your emotions, your actions and your beliefs will empower you to take better decisions in life, to form stronger relationships with those around you and all will lead to a better outcome of your actions.

Some questions for your Self...

What do you think? For me, learning about this helped me understand better how my past influences the present but if I accept the challenge of change the past will only stay in the past and I will get the upper hand when it comes to writing my future. Now, granted that understanding these parts of Self requires some reflexion, I will share with you some questions which will help you better understand how do you see yourself now and in the future, how much do you value yourself as an individual and how do you feel about yourself.

Self-worth: ••What do you believe is your intrinsic value, what do you have to offer as an individual? ••How do you evaluate your value? ••Do you believe you are of great, or low value? If you regard yourself as worthless, can you identify why you feel this way? ••Write down all the positive traits that make you a person of value. ••Can you make any improvements in your life or about yourself which will add to your self-value? ••What changes can you make to influence your self-worth? ••Can you identify times you felt worthless; what was happening in your life at that time which may have constituted to you feeling this way? ••Are there things about yourself that make you feel worthless? Are these things you can change, or are these wrongly misvalued by yourself? ••How do you value other people? Do you value yourself in the same way, or are you more critical? ••How can you change to start adding value to other people’s lives?

Self-esteem: ••How do you feel about yourself right now? ••How have you felt about yourself in the past? ••Has your self-esteem improved or decreased since then? ••Would you consider yourself as having high or low self-esteem? ••Can you recall when your self-esteem was at its highest and lowest; what you were doing during those times? ••If you could describe yourself in just five words, what would they be? Are they positive or negative? ••Do you feel your self-esteem doesn’t match up with other people’s perceptions of you? Have you ever been told your self-esteem doesn’t reflect who you are as a person? ••Write down five compliments others have given you; would you feel comfortable saying them to yourself? ••Do you rely entirely on external validation for positive self-esteem?

Self-concept ••Who do you want to be in life? ••Where would you like your life to go? ••Define who it is you’re willing to become for the rest of your life? ••Who are you no longer willing to be? ••What are your personal goals in life, both professional and personal? ••What do you see yourself doing in five years time? ••What do you have hoped to have accomplished in five, ten and twenty years time? ••What negative behaviours or aspects in life do you want to have overcome? ••Where do you want to be in five years time? Do you know what paths you want and/or need to take? ••In your ideal state, what are you like? Is your personality different, or are you doing something different with your life?

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