Using social comparisons, children assess whether they did better or worse than classmates in different activities. These comparisons play an important role in shaping the child's self-esteem and influence the positive or negative feelings they have about themselves. Adolescents make appraisals of themselves based on their relationships with close friends.
Social acceptance brings about confidence and produces high self-esteem, whereas rejection from peers and loneliness brings about self-doubts and produces low self-esteem. Adolescence shows an increase in self-esteem that continues to increase in young adulthood and middle age. High levels of mastery, low risk taking, and better health are ways to predict higher self-esteem. In terms of personality, emotionally stable, extroverted, and conscientious individuals experience higher self-esteem.
However, during old age, they experience a more rapid decline in self-esteem. Shame can be a contributor to those with problems of low self-esteem. A poor performance leads to higher responses of psychological states that indicate a threat to the social self namely a decrease in social self-esteem and an increase in shame. There are three levels of self-evaluation development in relation to the real self, ideal self, and the dreaded self. The real, ideal, and dreaded selves develop in children in a sequential pattern on cognitive levels. This development brings with it increasingly complicated and encompassing moral demands.
Level 3 is where individuals' self-esteem can suffer because they do not feel as though they are living up to certain expectations. This feeling will moderately effect one's self-esteem with an even larger effect seen when individuals believe they are becoming their Dreaded Self . People with a healthy level of self-esteem: . A person can have a high self-esteem and hold it confidently where they do not need reassurance from others to maintain their positive self view, whereas others with defensive high self-esteem may still report positive self-evaluations on the Rosenberg Scale, as all high self-esteem individuals do; however, their positive self-views are fragile and vulnerable to criticism.
Defensive high self-esteem individuals internalize subconscious self-doubts and insecurities, causing them to react very negatively to any criticism they may receive. There is a need for constant positive feedback from others for these individuals to maintain their feelings of self-worth. The necessity of repeated praise can be associated with boastful, arrogant behavior or sometimes even aggressive and hostile feelings toward anyone who questions the individual's self-worth, an example of threatened egotism.
Implicit self-esteem refers to a person's disposition to evaluate themselves positively or negatively in a spontaneous, automatic, or unconscious manner. It contrasts with explicit self-esteem , which entails more conscious and reflective self-evaluation. Both explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem are subtypes of self-esteem proper. Narcissism is a disposition people may have that represents an excessive love for one's self.
It is characterized by an inflated view of self-worth.
Individuals who score high on Narcissism measures, Robert Raskin's 40 Item True or False Test , would likely select true to such statements as "If I ruled the world, it would be a much better place. Threatened egotism is characterized as a response to criticism that threatens the ego of narcissists; they often react in a hostile and aggressive manner.
Low self-esteem can result from various factors, including genetic factors, physical appearance or weight, mental health issues, socioeconomic status, significant emotional experiences, peer pressure or bullying. A person with low self-esteem may show some of the following characteristics: . Individuals with low self-esteem tend to be critical of themselves. Some depend on the approval and praise of others when evaluating self-worth.
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Others may measure their likability in terms of successes: others will accept themselves if they succeed but will not if they fail. This classification proposed by Martin Ross  distinguishes three states of self-esteem compared to the "feats" triumphs , honors , virtues and the "anti-feats" defeats , embarrassment , shame , etc. The individual does not regard themselves as valuable or lovable. They may be overwhelmed by defeat, or shame, or see themselves as such, and they name their "anti-feat". For example, if they consider that being over a certain age is an anti-feat, they define themselves with the name of their anti-feat, and say, "I am old".
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They express actions and feelings such as pity, insulting themselves, and they may become paralyzed by their sadness. The individual has a generally positive self-image. However, their self-esteem is also vulnerable to the perceived risk of an imminent anti-feat such as defeat, embarrassment, shame, discredit , consequently they are often nervous and regularly use defense mechanisms. Although such individuals may outwardly exhibit great self-confidence, the underlying reality may be just the opposite: the apparent self-confidence is indicative of their heightened fear of anti-feats and the fragility of their self-esteem.
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They may employ defense mechanisms, including attempting to lose at games and other competitions in order to protect their self-image by publicly dissociating themselves from a 'need to win', and asserting an independence from social acceptance which they may deeply desire. In this deep fear of being unaccepted by an individual's peers, they make poor life choices by making risky choices. People with strong self-esteem have a positive self-image and enough strength so that anti-feats do not subdue their self-esteem.
They have less fear of failure. These individuals appear humble, cheerful, and this shows a certain strength not to boast about feats and not to be afraid of anti-feats.
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They can acknowledge their own mistakes precisely because their self-image is strong, and this acknowledgment will not impair or affect their self-image. A distinction is made between contingent or conditional  and non-contingent or unconditional  self-esteem. Contingent self-esteem is derived from external sources, such as a what others say, b one's success or failure, c one's competence,  or d relationship-contingent self-esteem.
Therefore, contingent self-esteem is marked by instability, unreliability, and vulnerability. Persons lacking a non-contingent self-esteem are "predisposed to an incessant pursuit of self-value. No one receives constant approval and disapproval often evokes depression. Furthermore, fear of disapproval inhibits activities in which failure is possible. Non-contingent self-esteem is described as true, stable, and solid. It is an acceptance given " in spite of our guilt , not because we have no guilt ". Harris translated Tillich's "acceptable" by the vernacular "OK", a term that means "acceptable".
A secure non-contingent self-esteem springs from the belief that one is ontologically acceptable and accepted. Abraham Maslow states that psychological health is not possible unless the essential core of the person is fundamentally accepted, loved and respected by others and by her or his self. Self-esteem allows people to face life with more confidence, benevolence and optimism, and thus easily reach their goals and self-actualize. Self-esteem may make people convinced they deserve happiness. On the contrary, an attitude of love toward themselves will be found in all those who are capable of loving others.
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Self-esteem allows creativity at the workplace, and is a specially critical condition for teaching professions. Bonet claims that this corresponds to Major depressive disorder. He has lost his self-respect". The Yogyakarta Principles , a document on international human rights law addresses the discriminatory attitude toward LGBT peoples that makes their self-esteem low to be subject to human rights violation including human trafficking.
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Other than increased happiness, higher self-esteem is also known to be correlated with a better ability to cope with stress and a higher likeliness that the individual takes on difficult tasks relative to those with low self-esteem. From the late s to the early s many Americans assumed as a matter of course that students' self-esteem acted as a critical factor in the grades that they earn in school, in their relationships with their peers, and in their later success in life. Under this assumption, some American groups created programs which aimed to increase the self-esteem of students.
Until the s little peer-reviewed and controlled research took place on this topic. Peer-reviewed research undertaken since then has not validated previous assumptions. Recent research indicates that inflating students' self-esteem in and of itself has no positive effect on grades. Roy Baumeister has shown that inflating self-esteem by itself can actually decrease grades. It simply means that high self-esteem may be accomplished as a result of high academic performance due to the other variables of social interactions and life events affecting this performance.
It is only when students engage in personally meaningful endeavors for which they can be justifiably proud that self-confidence grows, and it is this growing self-assurance that in turn triggers further achievement. High self-esteem has a high correlation to self-reported happiness; whether this is a causal relationship has not been established. Additionally, self-esteem has been found to be related to forgiveness in close relationships, in that people with high self-esteem will be more forgiving than people with low self-esteem.
High self-esteem does not prevent children from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, or engaging in early sex. In a research conducted by Robert S. Chavez and Todd F. Heatherton, it was found that self-esteem is related to the connectivity of the frontostriatal circuit. The frontostriatal pathway connects the medial prefrontal cortex , which deals with self-knowledge , to the ventral striatum , which deals with feelings of motivation and reward. Stronger anatomical pathways are correlated with higher long-term self-esteem, while stronger functional connectivity is correlated with higher short-term self-esteem.
The American psychologist Albert Ellis criticized on numerous occasions the concept of self-esteem as essentially self-defeating and ultimately destructive. Questioning the foundations and usefulness of generalized ego strength, he has claimed that self-esteem is based on arbitrary definitional premises , and over-generalized, perfectionistic and grandiose thinking. Here's how to help your child -- and yourself -- become more optimistic. EFT is a quick and effective way to release negative emotions and calm kids and yourself when they're upset. EFT uses the energy meridians from traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments, but instead of inserting needles, you simply tap the acupressure points with your fingertips.
There are no side effects.
It becomes more effective over time. Best yet, you can even teach your kids to use EFT to control their emotions. All small children seem to be fascinated by books about emotion.