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SelfSelf-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think. By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change. It is also the experience that success, achievement, fulfillment³happiness³are right and natural for us. fulfillment³happiness³ SelfSelf-esteem is not the euphoria or buoyancy that may be temporarily induced by a drug, a compliment, or a love affair. It is not an illusion or hallucination. If it is not grounded in reality, if it is not built over time through the appropriate operation of mind, it is not self-esteem. self-
Building Self-Esteem SelfIn ´The Six Pillars of Self Esteem,µ I examine the six practices that I have found to be essential for the nurturing and sustaining of healthy selfselfesteem: the practice of living consciously, of self-acceptance, of selfselfselfresponsibility, of self-assertiveness, of purposefulness, and of integrity. I selfwill briefly define what each of these practices means:
The practice of living consciously: respect for facts; being present to what we are doing while are doing it; seeking and being eagerly open to any information, knowledge, or feedback that bears on our interests, values, goals, and projects; seeking to understand not only the world external to self but also our inner world, so that we do not out of self-blindness. self-
without evasion. feelings. we must offer values in exchange. and look at one·s actions without necessarily liking. or disowning³ disowning³and also without self-repudiation. experience. the virtue of realism applied to the self. and take selfresponsibility for our thoughts. The practice of self-responsibility: realizing that we are the author of our selfchoices and actions. endorsing. that each one us is responsible for life and well-being and for wellthe attainment of our goals. and actions. experience one·s emotions. denial. and that question is not ´Who·s to blame?µ but always ´What needs to be done?µ (´What do I need to do?µ) do?µ) . or condoning them. that if we need the cooperation of other people to achieve our goals. giving oneself permission to think selfone·s thoughts.Building Self-Esteem Self- The practice of self-acceptance: the willingness to own.
exemplifying in action the values we profess to admire. honoring our commitments. drawing- The practice of personal integrity: living with congruence between what we know. . what we profess. monitoring action to be sure we stay on track. selftreating our values and persons with decent respect in social contexts. and paying attention to outcome so as to recognize if and when we need to go back to the drawing-board. The practice of living purposefully: identifying our short-term and long-term goals or shortlongpurposes and the actions needed to attain them (formulating an action-plan). the willingness to stand up for ourselves and our ideas in appropriate ways in appropriate contexts. actionorganizing behavior in the service of those goals.Building Self-Esteem Self- The practice of self-assertiveness: being authentic in our dealings with others. telling the truth. and what we do. refusing to fake the reality of who we are or what we esteem in order to avoid disapproval.
thus reinforcing insecurity...SelfSelf-Esteem Branden·s description of self-esteem includes the following primary properties: self selfself-esteem as a basic human need. and to show these incongruities in behavior. to feel able and worthy. ". and has a value for survival. involving three main levels: self To have a high self-esteem is to feel confidently capable for life. feelings and actions. acting at times wisely. and at rashly others.e. or to feel right as a person. or to feeling selfwrong as a person. in Branden's selfwords. i. ". To have a low self-esteem corresponds to not feeling ready for life... to feel able and useless. ." selfselfself-esteem as an automatic and inevitable consequence of the sum of individuals' choices in using their consciousness something experienced as a part of.it makes an essential contribution to the life process".is indispensable to normal and healthy self-development. all of the individuals thoughts.. that selfis. or. or background to. right and wrong as a person. Branden's concept of self-esteem is graduated. To have a middle ground self-esteem is to waver between the two states above.
It contrasts with explicit selfselfesteem. Both explicit and selfimplicit self-esteem are constituents of self-esteem. Such indirect measures are designed to reduce awareness of. or unconscious manner. they feature selfstimuli designed to represent the self . selfselfselfImplicit self-esteem is assessed using indirect measures of Congnitive Processing. selfselfBoth explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem are subtypes of self-esteem proper. which entails more conscious and reflective self-evaluation.Implicit Self-Esteem Self- Implicit self-esteem refers to a person's disposition to evaluate themselves in a selfspontaneous. or control of. selfProcessing. automatic. esteem. When used to assess implicit self-esteem. the process of assessment.
remain distinct: self in terms of its constancy over time (stability) in terms of its independence of meeting particular conditions (non-contingency) (non in terms of its ingrained nature at a basic psychological level (implicitness or automatized) .Implicit Self-Esteem Self- Variations Level and quality of self-esteem. though correlated.
individual minds. concepts. it usually refers to an information processing view of an individual's psychological functions. groups. for example in psycholoy and congnitive science.Congnitive Processing Cognition is the scientific term for "the process of thought". . Usage of the term varies in different disciplines. and organizations. Other interpretations of the meaning of cognition link it to the development of concepts.
rather than inferior or superior. at least for those with whom he has a friendship. but live in the present intensely. are able to act according to what they think to be the best choice. take for granted that he is an interesting and valuable person for others. either positive or negative. feeling secure enough to modify them in light of experience. admits and accepts different internal feelings and drives. are sensitive to feelings and needs of others. personal prestige or financial standing. do not lose time worrying excessively about what happened in the past. They ask others for help when they need it. while accepting differences in certain talents. resist manipulation. consider themselves equal in dignity to others. collaborate with others only if it seems appropriate and convenient. revealing those drives to others only when they choose.Positive Indicators People with a healthy level of self-esteem selffirmly believe in certain values and principles. and not feeling guilty when others don't like their choice. . and claim no right or desire to prosper at others' expense. and are ready to defend them even when finding opposition. trusting their own judgement. are able to enjoy a great variety of activities. not hesitating after failures and difficulties. nor about what could happen in the future. They learn from the past and plan for the future. fully trusts in their capacity to solve problems. respect generally accepted social rules.
obstinate resentment against critics. Neurotic guilt: one is condemned for behaviors which not always are objectively bad.Negative Indicators A person with low self-esteem may show some of the following symptoms: selfHeavy self-criticism. Defensive tendencies. not so much because of lack of information. out of fear of displeasing the please: petitioner. . Floating hostility. self-criticism. and. never reaching full forgiveness. which can lead to frustration when perfection is not achieved. a general negative (one is pessimistic about everything: life. for unimportant things. always on the verge of exploding even hostility. tendencies. oneself) and a general lack of will to enjoy life. Perfectionism. exaggerated fear of making a mistake. future. above all. but from an indecision. Hypersensitivity to criticism. Excessive will to please: being unwilling to say "no". who is disappointed or unsatisfied with everything. tending to create a habitual state of dissatisfaction with oneself. or self-demand to do everything attempted "perfectly" without a single selfmistake. an attitude characteristic of somebody who feels bad about everything. guilt: exaggerates the magnitude of mistakes or offenses and complains about them indefinitely. Chronic indecision. irritability out in the open. which makes oneself feel easily attacked and experience criticism. Perfectionism.
without the selffulfillment of the self-esteem need. According to Maslow. grow and obtain self-actualization. and was believed to be more fragile and easily lost than inner self-esteem. and appreciation. Sociometer theory maintains that self-esteem evolved group. individuals will be driven to seek it and unable to selfself-actualization. He described two different forms of esteem: the need for respect from others and the need for self-respect.Theories Many early theories suggested that self-esteem is a basic human need or motivation. to check one's level of status and acceptance in ones' social group. Modern theories of self-esteem explore the reasons humans are motivated to maintain selfselfa high regard for themselves. included self-esteem in his Maslow. Respect from others selfselfentails recognition. self-esteem serves a protective function and reduces theory. selfAmerican psychologist Abraham Maslow. According to terror management theory. status. selfhierarchy of needs. selfanxiety about life and death. . acceptance. for example. or inner self-esteem.
Parental Influence Parental habits. whether positive or negative. . can influence the development of those same habits of self-perception in their selfchildren.
Indeed a good deal of the behavior we call ´neuroticµ can be best understood as a misguided effort to protect self-esteem by means which in fact are undermining. Sometimes this vision is our most closely guarded secret.Awareness of What Affects Our Self-Esteem Self SelfSelf-esteem reflects our deepest vision of our competence and worth. even from ourselves. self- . selfselfNothing is more common than the effort to protect self-esteem selfnot with consciousness but with unconsciousness³with denial unconsciousness³ and evasion³which only results in a further deterioration of evasion³ selfself-esteem. as when we try to compensate for our deficiencies with what I call pseudo-self-esteem³a pretense pseudo-self-esteem³ at a self-confidence and self-respect we do not actually feel.
Awareness of What Affects Our Self-Esteem Self- Whether or not we admit it. one way of masking one·s problems in this area is with the angry denial that self-esteem is significant self(or desirable). Evidence for this selfobservation is the defensiveness with which insecure people may respond when their errors are pointed out. there is a level at which all of us know that the issue of our self-esteem is of the most burning importance. In more recent times. Or the foolish and pathetic ways people sometimes try to prop up their egos by the wealth or prestige of their spouse. Or the extraordinary feats of avoidance and selfself-deception people can exhibit with regard to gross acts of unconsciousness and irresponsibility. as the subject of selfself-esteem has gained increasing attention. or the fame of their dress designer. . the make of their automobile. or by the exclusiveness of their golf club.
µ .Awareness of What Affects Our Self-Esteem Self- Not all the values with which people may attempt to support a pseudo-selfpseudo-selfesteem are foolish or irrational. Productive work. is certainly a value to be admired. but they are no substitutes for consciousness. and they are part of what it means to lead a moral life. self-responsibility. for instance. and selfintegrity³ integrity³and when this is not understood they are often used as disguised means to buy ´loveµ and perhaps even a sense of moral superiority: ´I·m more kind and compassionate than you·ll ever be and if I weren·t so humble I·d tell you so. but if one tries to compensate for a deficient self-esteem selfby becoming a workaholic one is in a battle one can never win³nothing will win³ ever feel like ´enough. independence.µ Kindness and compassion are undeniably virtues.
We may also notice that easy³ selfif and when we do the opposite. The reality selfmay be very different from our beliefs. or persevere even when persevering is not easy³our self-esteem rises. but then. . we may notice that the pleasant feeling fades rather quickly and that we seem to be insatiable and never fully satisfied³and this satisfied³ may direct us to wonder if we have thought deeply enough about the sources of genuine self-approval. or face a difficult truth with courage. self-esteem falls. or take responsibility for our actions. for example. Or we may notice that when we give our selfconscientious best to a task. get a very pleasant ´hitµ from someone·s compliment. or refuse to betray our convictions. But of course all such selfobservations imply that we have chosen to be conscious. if we are selfadequately conscious.Awareness of What Affects Our Self-Esteem Self- One of the great challenges to our practice of living consciously is to pay attention to what in fact nurtures our self-esteem or deteriorates it. We may. or speak up when we know that that is what the situation warrants. and we may tell ourselves that when we win people·s approval we have self-esteem.
and what it depends on. The purpose of school is to prepare young people for the challenges of adult life. They selfwill learn to distinguish between authentic self-esteem and pseudo-selfselfpseudo-selfesteem. or faster³ selfself-doubt. self´The world of the futureµ begins with this understanding. why it is important. neither teachers in general nor teachers of self-esteem in particular can do their jobs selfproperly³ properly³or communicate the importance of their work³until they work³ themselves understand the intimate linkage that exists between the six practices described above. They will need this understanding to be adaptive to an information age in which self-esteem has acquired such urgency. They will be guided to acquire this knowledge because it will have become apparent to virtually everyone that the ability to think (and to learn and to respond confidently to change) is our basic means of survival³and survival³ that it cannot be faked. children will be taught the basic dynamics of selfselfesteem and the power of living consciously and self-responsibly. passivity. and appropriate adaptation to reality.In the world of the future. In the language of business. However. . They will be selftaught what self-esteem is. low self-esteem and underdeveloped selfmindfulness puts one at a competitive disadvantage. In a selffiercely competitive global economy³with every kind of change happening economy³ faster and faster³there is little market for unconsciousness. self-esteem.
cognition. affect. The roots of the word shame are thought condition. emotion. covering oneself. as such. emotion. variously. to derive from an older word meaning to cover. is a natural expression of shame. . an affect. cover. or condition.Shame Shame is. cognition. state. literally or figuratively.
as are utterances like "Shame!" or "Shame on you!" Finally. in any situation of embarrassment. Emotions in Man and Animals. by others. regardless of the one's own experience or awareness. humiliation. . and lowered head. behave without such restraint (as with excessive pride or hubris). inadequacy. confusion of mind. disgrace. chagrin. "To shame" generally means to actively assign or communicate a state of shame to another. humility. deference) hubris). affect or. described shame affect as consisting of blushing. Animals. Such shame cognition may occur as a result of the experience of shame embarrassment. blushing. humiliation. and he noted observations of shame affect in human populations worldwide.Description Nineteenth century scientist Charles Darwin. slack posture. He also noted the sense of warmth or heat (associated with the vasodilation of the face and skin) occurring in intense shame. and deference) while to "have no shame" is to modesty. in his book The Expression of the Darwin. A condition or state of shame may also be assigned externally. Behaviors designed to "uncover" or "expose" others are sometimes used for this purpose. humility. downward cast eyes. more generally. dishonor. dishonor. A "sense of shame" is the consciousness or awareness of shame as a state or condition. to "have shame" means to maintain a sense of restraint against offending others (as with modesty. or chagrin.
Psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman concludes that "Shame is an acutely self-conscious state in which the self is 'split. Thus. in guilt the self is unified. the self is not the central object of negative evaluation." Following this line of reasoning. In guilt. Psychoanalyst Helen B. cultural or social values while guilt feelings arise from violations of one's internal values. Fossum and Mason say in their book Facing Shame that "While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one's actions. shame is a violation of Benedict. by contrast. guilt. Lewis argued that "The experience of shame is directly about the self. guilt. it is possible to feel ashamed of thought or behavior that no one knows about and to feel guilty about actions that gain the approval of others. guilt and embarrassment The location of the dividing line between the concepts of shame.Shame vs. but rather the thing done is the focus. which is the focus of evaluation. According to cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict." . shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person." Similarly. and embarrassment is not fully standardized.' imagining the self in selfthe eyes of the other.
. of exactly the same dynamic that blaming of. Kaufman saw that mechanisms such as blame or contempt may be used as a defending strategy against the experience of shame and that someone who has a pattern of applying them to himself may well attempt to defend against a shame experience by applying self-blame or self-contempt. others represents when it is applied interpersonally. with shame occurring selfconsequent to such behaviors making up a part of the overall experience of guilt. short-duration physiological reactions to stimulation. Here. self-blame and self-contempt mean the selfselfapplication. selfselfhowever.Shame vs. and contempt for. In shortthis view. towards (a part of) one's self. guilt and embarrassment Clinical psychologist Gershen Kaufman's view of shame is derived from that of Affect Theory. guilt is considered to be a learned behavior consisting contempt. self-reinforcing sequence of selfshame events for which Kaufman coined the term "shame spiral". can lead to an internalized. essentially of self-directed blame or contempt. instinctual. namely that shame is one of a set of Theory. This.
Bernard Williams and others have argued that shame can be autonomous. however. there is debate as to whether or not shame is a heteronomous emotion.e. . in particular). one can feel shame for an act known only to oneself but in order to be embarrassed one's actions must be revealed to others.Shame vs. In the field of ethics (moral psychology. Shame may carry the connotation of a response to something that is morally wrong whereas embarrassment is the response to something that is morally neutral but socially unacceptable. i. whether or not shame does involve recognition on the part of the ashamed that they have been judged negatively by others. Immanuel Kant and his followers held that shame is heteronomous. guilt and embarrassment One view of difference between shame and embarrassment says that shame does not necessarily involve public humiliation while embarrassment does. that is. Another view of shame and embarrassment says that the two emotions lie on a continuum and only differ in intensity.
. Individuals vary in their tendency to experience vicarious shame. Author and TV personality John Bradshaw calls shame the "emotion that lets us know we are finite". disgrace. in other words: shame on behalf of another person who is already feeling shame on behalf of a third party (or possibly on behalf of the individual proper). which refers to the experience of shame on behalf of another person. False shame: is associated with false condemnation as in the shame: doubledouble-bind form of false shaming.Subtypes Genuine shame: is associated with genuine dishonor. so causing ashamed people to keep their shame a secret. Vicarious shame: In the 1990s. psychologists introduced the shame: notion of vicarious shame. Secret shame: describes the idea of being ashamed to be shame: ashamed. which is related to neuroticism and to the tendency to experience personal shame. Extremely shameshameprone people might even experience vicarious shame even to an increased degree. "he brought what we did to him upon himself". or shame: condemnation.
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