High Self-Esteem Empowers, Energizes

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 28, 1996 | Go to article overview
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High Self-Esteem Empowers, Energizes


Byline: Dianna Hubay

What is self-esteem?

This is a complicated question.

On an intuitive level, we can say that high self-esteem means that we appreciate ourselves and view ourselves as having worth. However, specifically, it means we have a positive attitude; we compare ourselves favorably with others; we are convinced of our abilities; and view ourselves as competent, powerful and in-control of our lives. Poor self-esteem would mean, in an opposite way, that we feel helpless, powerless and often make statements that are self-deprecating. (Mecca, Smelser and Vasconcellos, 1989).

The three components of self-esteem are:

- A cognitive element - or thinking of oneself in descriptive terms, i.e.: powerful, confident.

- An affective element - the degree of positiveness or negativeness (high self-esteem or low self-esteem).

- An evaluative element - related to an ideal standard, i.e.: a high school graduate and what a high school graduate should be able to do.

Self-esteem is important to normal psychological development. In other words, to adequately cope with the challenges of growing up we need to believe that we have the capacity to achieve what we want to achieve, and that we deserve to be happy.

A lacking in either of these two areas may produce someone who is productive in an external sense, but probably less creative and satisfied than they would be if they had a greater sense of self-esteem.

For a person to make a nontraditional career choice (a female going into engineering, or go against family wishes) requires one to have a strong belief in his/her own abilities to succeed. A high sense of self-esteem energizes, motivates and empowers us.

It has been suggested that high self-esteem provides a kind of immunity to the low points in life, such as rejections, disappointments, failures that are a daily part of life for everyone. A person with high self-esteem seems able to look beyond the immediate disappointment and set his sights on future successes.

These types of people are described in current management literature as people who can take risks, make independent decisions, pursue untested ideas and act on their own initiative.

There seems a number of generalizations that can be made about the importance of self-esteem with youth and adults:

- The family of origin is important to the development of self-esteem in the young child.

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