This articles discusses why self-esteem is important in our daily lives and how it influences how we go through life.
You may have heard the expression: “To feel good with others, you have to feel good with yourself.” This feeling can simply be defined as self-esteem.
Good self-esteem allows us to feel good about ourselves, be confident, live better in society, and have a sense of self-worth. It also allows us to resist pressures and manipulations imposed on us through our past or by society and assert our own values and ideas to others.
While there are days when we love ourselves and other days when we hate ourselves, having fluctuating levels of self-esteem is entirely natural.
Read on to understand the basics of self-esteem and its importance in everyday life.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why self-esteem is important: Introduction
- 2 What is self-esteem?
- 3 How to express self-esteem in everyday life?
- 4 Self-esteem is a natural thing
- 5 Self-esteem will influence the way we are
- 6 Self-esteem is more necessary than ever in our lives
- 7 If we don’t have self-esteem, our whole personality will remain under the influence
- 8 Why self-esteem is important: Conclusion
Why self-esteem is important: Introduction
If you have good self-esteem, you will naturally be convinced that you are entitled to happiness or can enjoy the good things in life.
When you have good self-esteem, you can act to succeed, develop your abilities, and progress in your personal and social life.
However, having and developing confidence in oneself and good self-esteem is often not easy.
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem could be defined as follows:
- what I think about myself
- how I feel with these thoughts
- what am I doing with my life with all this?
In summary, we could say that self-esteem is a mixture of looks and judgments I will make about myself. Indeed, no look is neutral and especially on oneself.
But self-esteem is also influenced by how other people judge us.
Indeed, self-esteem only makes sense in the context of social relationships, both with ourselves and others.
How to express self-esteem in everyday life?
It is possible to perceive self-esteem through different daily manifestations.
- First of all, we can express it through our emotions. Indeed, self-esteem weighs on our inner well-being, peace of mind, and worries.
- Then, we will also express it through our behaviors. Whether it is spontaneity or blockages, they are also under its influence in our social relations or in our material actions.
- Self-esteem can also manifest through our thoughts, focusing our gaze on the lacks and threats in our life or other parts of our life, good or bad.
In summary, we can describe self-esteem as the result of all this, i.e., the way we look at ourselves, the emotions this leads to, and the behaviors this induces.
This intimate relationship we have with ourselves is mainly automatic, secret, and uncontrollable.
Self-esteem is a natural thing
Some people who cannot love themselves try to forget and not think about themselves anymore. Self-esteem is as natural to us as breathing, hunger, or sleep: it is inherent to human nature.
Every human being is self-conscious about his value in his own eyes and in the eyes of others. But why?
Firstly, self-esteem is inseparable from self-awareness. Indeed, we can all reflect on ourselves and observe ourselves in action as if we were observers in the corner of the room.
This kind of “reflexive self-awareness” allows us to step back, observe, and analyze ourselves. As a result, we can change, adapt, and improve ourselves.
However, it can also be used to hate, despise and criticize each other, even if it makes life impossible and uncomfortable. Sometimes, it can also be sterile because these aggressions towards oneself can paralyze any form of action.
Secondly, it is essential to know that self-esteem is linked to our status as social animals. Humans have evolved to live and exist in a group for survival reasons.
Even now, though we no longer depend on each other for survival, our lives are still very interconnected with others. As such, we can only exist amid and in close relationships with our fellow human beings.
As a result, we live in worry and sometimes apprehension about what they think and feel about us.
Humans are naturally endowed with a “sense of the other” to decode their needs. Being able to assume and imagine what the other is thinking is an opportunity. This allows us to see that we are accepted and adapt if we are not.
However, this can also be a curse, especially if this detection function becomes a function of imagination. Indeed, one might start assuming the wrong things instead of observing them, dreading more than waiting to see what happens.
Self-esteem will influence the way we are
When we doubt ourselves, it can lead to a change in our way of being. Indeed, the information that self-esteem gives us is precious: to take pleasure when everything is going well, to activate oneself in the opposite case.
A functioning ego is a valuable tool for survival and quality of life.
Self-esteem is also a kind of dashboard of ourselves that will influence our behavioral style (such as fragile high self-esteem behavior which could trigger emotional stress). Just like a car dashboard, its role is to indicate everything that works and does not work in our “psychic engine.”
For example, there is a gas gauge on your car’s dashboard, a light that indicates the battery charge, etc.
Self-esteem will work in the same way, indicating if our fundamental needs are satisfied, if our reservoirs of affection or success are full, or running low.
The factors influencing self-esteem can be divided into two categories:
- Social recognition signs are all the manifestations of affection, love, sympathy, admiration, or esteem received from other people.
- Signs of performance include all our successes and successful actions.
But let’s not forget that on a car dashboard, warning lights also inform us of problems such as when the engine temperature is too high or when there is a lack of oil, etc.
The self-esteem scorecard is the same: problems can appear in several areas, but self-esteem is especially sensitive to rejections and failures.
And finally, in a car, one of the missions of the dashboard is to facilitate driving.
Indeed, we consider the information it gives us to adjust our way of driving: are we driving at the right speed, do we need to stop for gas, etc.?
Self-esteem works like a dashboard. It is essential to our personality and influences our psycho-behavioral “style of conduct.”
It makes us bold or fearful, pushing us to reveal ourselves or to retract.
Self-esteem is more necessary than ever in our lives
In the past, people didn’t choose their own partner or job. It was the family that did it for them. People had no choice over their destiny because they already had a place in society and were expected to fulfill that role.
However, today we live in individualistic and competitive societies where we have to be motivated and capable to get a job or find love.
Nowadays, it is possible to have no place at all in society: no job, no lover, no friends… It is possible to reach “relational nothingness” in a relative indifference from other people.
Therefore, self-construction has become indispensable in our times, based on autonomy and individual performance.
However, it should be noted that in ancient societies, the individual was overwhelmingly subservient to the group and self-esteem depended on conformity to norms.
So, basically, it meant staying in your seat without being able to say or think anything.
The task might seem more straightforward, but it came at the cost of submitting to more pronounced and more rigid rules than those we are currently subject to.
Nowadays, we cannot do without self-esteem to survive. Suppose we do not care for ourselves or have a minimum of esteem and respect for ourselves. In that case, we will not act at all, or at least less well and with less clarity and serenity.
If we don’t have self-esteem, our whole personality will remain under the influence
Self-esteem is the tool of our freedom but also of our psychological autonomy. It allows us to resist pressures and manipulations.
Without it, we would only be the limited and predictable product of two large families of influences:
Influence of our past
Without good self-esteem, we would be driven by a kind of autopilot, resulting from what we learned during our childhood:
- by example: how our relatives behaved and treated themselves, or
- by speech: how we were treated.
If we are not careful and suspicious, this autopilot, resulting from past learning, could influence:
- our judgments about ourselves: “I’m not worth much, I don’t deserve much,” or
- our judgments about others: “everything the other person does is bad.”
Self-esteem allows us to make the most of our past’s influences and free ourselves from them to become ourselves.
Without self-esteem, one would have to follow others on everything one must do, buy, or even be to earn one’s place and recognition. Society would influence how we dress, think, and even live.
This is why it is essential to have good self-esteem to avoid being a victim of social influences.
Why self-esteem is important: Conclusion
Self-esteem is natural to everyone, like breathing, hunger, or thirst.
Good self-esteem consists of having confidence in oneself, in what one is worth and what one is.
It is essential to have good self-esteem to live better in society and assert one’s values or ideas to others.