Self esteem is all about how you value yourself. Your self esteem levels are reflected in how you view yourself as an employee, husband or wife, friend, family member or simply a member of society. Basically, it is the image you have of yourself. If you have high levels of self esteem, it means that you regard yourself highly; if your levels are low, you perceive yourself as having little or no value to others and yourself.
People who have a good helping of self esteem tend to be confident, happy, content and successful at what they do. They do not brag about their possessions, talents or accomplishments - rather, they see themselves favorably during a general stock-taking of their lives.
Having healthy levels of self esteem is extremely important because it has a direct bearing on how successful you are in both your career and your personal life. The fact that you respect yourself invites the respect of others. This is because you will conduct yourself with correctness, dignity and conviction even if those around you do not. If you have high self esteem, you have a firm personal understanding of what is right or wrong, and this means that your thinking and actions are not influenced by others.
The amount of self esteem you have depends a lot on how you were treated as a child. If you received sufficient praise and encouragement from your family in your younger years, you are very apt to have high levels of self esteem in adulthood. There are exceptions, however - these are folks who had a lot of self respect during their formative years and then lost it because of certain life experiences.
For instance, a child who grew up with all the right kind of support would have a lot of self esteem, which may however be shattered if his or her parents underwent a divorce or separation. A child who was chubby in childhood may have been seen as cute by his or her immediate family, and thus received a lot of positive strokes. However, this chubbiness would become a matter of embarrassment and shame in adulthood, leading to reduced self esteem. Constant criticism in early childhood can also lead to low self esteem levels.
Low self esteem is curable, but the healing is an uphill task. It begins with avoiding those who reinforce a negative self image. This is important, because even people with high self respect can soon lose their confidence if they are not in constant contact with significant others who value them.