Mostly it refers to our sense of self worth – how good we feel about ourselves and how we self-measure our value to society.
How we develop this sense of self worth is the story of psychological development.
Our feelings about ourselves come from our parents, friends, ourselves, teachers, life.
We see ourselves reflected in other people and other things – how we react to that assessment is the measure of our self-esteem.
If we see ourselves as less than others we are deemed to have low self-esteem.
If we have an internal sense of worth, not particularly tied to others, we are said to have good self-esteem.
The below quote from Einstein gives us a great thought about judging the development self-worth in ourselves or in others.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
For good or for bad – we are in control of our self-esteem. But we must, as Einstein suggests, use the “right” criteria for how we judge ourselves. And we are capable of changing those criteria.
As kids, we are more prone to the emotional clues and criteria awe get at home …. and that can be good for us or bad for us depending on our family and our culture.
As we age, we learn [or should learn] to develop our own self-worth criteria – and we can undo what we learned from our parents.
It is good – because too many people never develop a solid internal set of self-worth criteria and tie their self-esteem to externals such as:
As we age, these above external ties change or disappear….
What happens when the tie is loosened or the tie is totally broken or lost?
More on this topic coming…. stay tuned.