Self-esteem tends to fluctuate over time, depending on your circumstances. It’s normal to go through times when you feel down — or especially good — about yourself. Generally, however, self-esteem stays in a range that reflects how you feel about yourself overall. Overly high self-esteem. If you regard yourself more highly than others do, you might have an unrealistically positive view of yourself. When you have an inflated sense of self-esteem, you often feel superior to those around you. Such feelings can lead you to become arrogant or self-indulgent and believe that you deserve special privileges. Low self-esteem. When you have low or negative self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You focus on your perceived weaknesses and faults and give scant credit to your skills and assets. You believe that others are more capable or successful. You might be unable to accept compliments or positive feedback. You might fear failure, which can hold you back from succeeding at work or school. Healthy self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem lies between these two extremes. It means you have a balanced, accurate view of yourself. For instance, you have a good opinion of your abilities but recognize your flaws. When you understand your own worth, you invite the respect of others. Self-esteem affects virtually every facet of your life. Maintaining a healthy, realistic view of yourself isn’t about blowing your own horn. It’s about learning to like and respect yourself — faults and all. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/self-esteem/MH00128
Too many people overvalue
what they are not and
undervalue what they are.
Malcolm S. Forbes
Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself — how you honestly feel about your abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You might constantly worry that you aren’t “good enough.” Self-esteem begins to form in early childhood. Factors that can influence self-esteem include:
* Your own thoughts and perceptions
* How other people react to you
* Experiences at school, work and in the community
* Illness, disability or injury
* Role and status in society
Relationships with those close to you — parents, siblings, peers, teachers and other important contacts — are especially important to your self-esteem. Many beliefs you hold about yourself today reflect messages you’ve received from these people over time. If your close relationships are strong and you receive generally positive feedback, you’re more likely to see yourself as worthwhile and have healthier self-esteem. If you receive mostly negative feedback and are often criticized, teased or devalued by others, you’re more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem. Still, your own thoughts have perhaps the biggest impact on self-esteem — and these thoughts are within your control. If you tend to focus on your weaknesses or flaws, you can learn to reframe negative thoughts and focus instead on your positive qualities. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/self-esteem/MH00128
The man who does not value himself,
cannot value anything or anyone.
Esteem most be generated from within and can then radiate outward. When we focus outwardly for approval, we are seeking it in the wrong place. And in so doing, we subordinate our authentic being in a vain attempt at happiness. Such fulfillment must be dependent and superficial and undermines our personal evolution. This process of external gratification is other-esteem. Self-esteem is not contingent upon others. When we set up this drama around approval, we create issues in regard to notions of rejection. The issue of rejection can be misleading. With a healthy self-esteem one doesn’t consider rejection. It is actually the rejecting of one’s self that inclines people to seek approval from others. In such cases, we’re not content with ourselves and so we solicit that acceptance from others. If that approval isn’t granted, we have a habit of claiming that we were rejected. In truth, we have rejected ourselves when we set others up as judge. The degree to which we are reactive to others opinions of us in likely inversely correlated to our level of self-esteem. Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shift-mind/201002/self-esteem-or-other-esteem
That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.
Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love,
you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretence.
It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is,
people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks.
They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are.
And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like
you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.
(Self Esteem) Authentic self-esteem is not dependent upon others or things external to us. Such self-esteem is a manifestation of our relationship with our self. The essence of self-esteem is that it flows from within. If we lay ourselves bare in our vulnerability and strip away our careers, our families, our friends, our possessions and achievements, what are we left with? And how does that feel? Beyond the obvious losses, do we like and respect who we are, irrespective of the markers of other-esteem? (Other Esteem) We modify and mold so much of our behavior and even more, our very personality to achieve other-esteem. We literally create personality masks in this endeavor, presenting to others the person we think they would approve of. In such circumstances we are abandoning our true self to derive approval or recognition from others. Not only is this a self-deprecating experience, it also sabotages our relationships, for they are far from authentic. When we act in this manner we are literally taking our well-being and serving it up to other people. It then becomes the other person’s to decide if we are worthy. This is not a healthy place to be and it is a soul-defeating exercise. We should never judge ourselves based upon who we think others see us. The simple truth is that others don’t judge us. They may have opinions of us. Yet, to elevate their opinion to the status of a judgment is simply ridiculous. No one can judge you unless you grant him or her the power of being your judge. Why would we put a judge’s robes on an ordinary person and confer such power upon them? The only person who you might grant such power to works in a courtroom; all others are people with opinions. With a healthier measure of self-esteem we might more easily tolerate others opinions without escalating them into counterfeit judgments. Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shift-mind/201002/self-esteem-or-other-esteem
The worst loneliness is to not
be comfortable with yourself.
A successful relationship is composed of two individuals each with a clearly defined sense of her or his own identity. Without our own understanding of self, of who we are and what makes us unique, it is difficult to engage in the process of an ongoing relationship in a way that is functional, and though not always smooth, is a safe environment that generally enhances each of the partners. We need a clear sense of self in order to clearly and unambiguously communicate our needs and desires to our partner. When we have a strong conception of our own identity, we do not feel threatened by the intimacy of the relationship and can appreciate and love those qualities in our partner that make him or her a unique person. When two people come together, each with a clear definition of her or his own individuality, the potential for intimacy and commitment can be astounding. The similarities between two people may bring them together, but in an ideal partnership, sometimes called interdependent, their differences are respected and contribute to the growth of their relationship which aids in the growth of the individuals in that relationship. Personal boundaries are the limits we set in relationships that allow us to protect our selves from being manipulated by, or enmeshed with, emotionally needy others. Such boundaries come from having a good sense of our own self-worth. John Stibbs http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/emotional_boundaries.html
We cannot think
of being acceptable to others
until we have first proven
acceptable to ourselves.
Leaders in the codependency movement have been unable to arrive at one mutually acceptable definition of codependency. Each person brings a slightly different understanding. They all would probably agree, however, that people with several of these patterns have a codependent lifestyle:
1. Excessive dependence on things or people outside oneself
2. Accepting responsibility for others’ feelings or actions
3. Constantly trying to please others
4. Letting others dominate or abuse you
5. Neglecting one’s own needs
6. Having difficulty knowing one’s own feelings and wishes
7. A weak sense of personal identity and loss of touch with one’s real self
8. Difficulty setting realistic personal boundaries
9. Difficulty admitting that you are in a dysfunctional relationship
10. Excessive efforts to control or change one’s environment or people in it
11. Frequently feeling resentful
12. Being very fearful of rejection, or being left alone
13. Relationship problems growing out of a weak sense of self, excessive dependency, and efforts to control, change, or please others.
Most of us struggle occasionally with our identity or with wanting to control others or with setting boundaries or trying to please. But codependents don’t just struggle with a couple of these occasionally. They consistently rely on a codependent style as their basic way of relating to themselves and others. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
No one magically becomes an adult
the day they turn eighteen.
Some people grow up sooner,
many grow up later.
Some never really do.
What defines codependence or codependency is the way that: 1) we place the needs of others first to the exclusion of our own; 2) our self-esteem is dependent on gaining the approval of others; 3) we worry excessively about how others may respond to our feelings, so we walk on eggshells or tiptoe around each other; and 4) how all of this makes it very difficult for us to feel like we can be free to be ourselves in relationship. Ask yourself if you truly have an individuated sense of yourself separate from your partner’s feelings, interpretation, or perception of you. Individuation is the innate tendency we have as humans to become individualized away from others (especially our parents), as well as to become conscious of our life purpose and know who and what we are and where we are going. Codependency on the other hand, keeps us locked in our emotionally immature patterns with one another and keeps us from maturing and growing as an individual on the planet. Excerpt #3 from “He Said, She said: Codependency vs. true love — how to tell them apart” By Hanalei Vierra, Ph.D. and M’Lissa Trent, Ph.D.
Having a low opinion of yourself
is not “modesty”. It’s self-destruction.
Holding your uniqueness in high regard
is not “egotism”. It’s a necessary
precondition to happiness and success.