What is Self-Esteem and why should we care about it?

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What is Self-Esteem and why should we care about it?

What is self-esteem? Why do we need it? Why is it so important that countless of books have been written about how one can improve one’s self-esteem?

Self-esteem has a lot of complex definitions in psychological textbooks, and they are convoluted and confusing enough to make you doubt your own abilities in comprehending what should be just a simple fact.  But that’s exactly how complex self-esteem is.  It is so simple, yet it covers a lot of gray areas in one’s behavior.

Self-esteem in the simplest terms is how much value to put to yourself. It encompasses your idea of self-worth, self-importance, self-concept and self-perception. How much you value yourself, how high you think about yourself and your capabilities creates your self-esteem, and your self-esteem feeds those self-perceptions as well.

Let’s take a look at two very familiar children, people who you constantly see every day at the street, in school, and in camps..

Raymond, an awesome kid who draws attention to himself by simply just standing there doing nothing and everything at the same time. He’s confident, knows what to do, and believes that he can do anything he puts his mind into.  As a result, he’s the favorite of everyone: teachers find him easy to deal with, other children simply must be friends with him.

On the other side you see Dawn. Timid and shy, every move that she makes is painfully awkward. She’s confused over what she’s feeling and thinking, causing her to say and do things that continually puzzle, irritate, and put-off her friends and family. She cannot move the way she wants to because she fears the kind of reception she’ll be getting from people around her. She’s sullen, sulks in a corner, and refuses to give a direct and even honest answer for fear of ridicule and criticism.

You see the difference between these two kids?  If you put them side by side, both of their characteristics will be increasingly and startlingly obvious.  Dawn can either pull on your heartstrings and make you want to come to her and offer support, or you can look at her in frustration and annoyance because of her gloomy and pensive attitude.



staff contributor



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