When delivering an assertiveness workshop, two aspects seemed to hit home with the participants. One was around comfort zones and the other self-esteem.
Individuals had most difficulty in accepting their own responsibility and choice about self-esteem.
What is self esteem?
OK, before going any further, what do you or your clients understand 'self-esteem' to be? Self-esteem typically refers to the way you think and feel about yourself. It combines both your evaluation of personal competence as well as your evaluation of basic worth as a human being.
What impacts self esteem?
The way we view and feel about ourselves has a profound effect on how we live our lives. These opinions are shaped by experiences in the family, at school, from friendships and in wider society.
Most very young children don't really think about self-esteem. They are usually valued and feel valued just as they are - without comparisons or judgments about how accomplished and/or lovable they are. Somewhere as we grow most of us lose that innocence. Beliefs and needs start to impact on our view of ourselves.
The interaction between the environment in which you live and work, and the environment you develop within yourself influences your self esteem.
Types of self esteem
I would categorise three main types, or levels, of self-esteem along a continuum:
Low self esteem healthy self esteem high self esteem
Self esteem is rarely consistent. So when reading the following descriptions, you will probably recognise one or two characteristics from the two that are least like your client. You will probably find one that is most like your client and still not all the descriptions will fit.
1. Low self esteem
The more frequent, intense and lasting negative thoughts and feelings a person has about themselves, the lower their overall self esteem is likely to be. Some of the effects low self esteem can have on an individual's beliefs and behaviours are:
It is possible to have an apparently high level of self esteem but it is not necessarily based on reality. Some of the characteristics are:
As for healthy self esteem, here are some characteristics: