What is Self-Esteem?

Possessing little self-regard can lead people to become depressed, to fall short of their potential, or to tolerate abusive situations and relationships. Too much self-love, on the other hand, results in an off-putting sense of entitlement and an inability to learn from failures. (It can also be a sign of clinical narcissism.) Perhaps no other self-help topic has spawned so much advice and so many (often conflicting) theories. Here are our best insights on how to strike a balance between accurate self-knowledge and respect for who you are.

Recent Posts on Self-Esteem

A Psychologist’s Guide to People Watching

The art of people watching most likely dates back to earliest civilization. Putting psychology’s knowledge about nonverbal behavior to use can help you become a pro at this basic human pastime.

Meaningfully Salient Parenting

Meaningfully salient parenting can be spoken about, but, in essence, it is a deeply heartfelt and intimate engagement between parent and child, mother and father, and all within the family system.

When Your Personal, Private Choices Enrage Others

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 18, 2015 in Living Single
Why do perfect strangers react to some of our most personal choices with anger and attempts to stigmatize us for them? "Otherhood" author Melanie Notkin, historian Elaine Tyler May, environmentalist Bill McKibben, "Childless by Choice" project director Laura S. Scott, and I share our thoughts about the matter.

What Your Facebook Use Reveals About Your Personality

Research shows the way you interact on social media says a lot about your personality and your self-esteem.

The Upside of Jealousy

Simply put, jealousy is motivated by fear. When fear is driving your behaviors, it is essential to tune into the cognitive components that accompany the fear to help you break it down and make it containable.

Cyberbullying? There’s an App for That

In the 2004 teen comedy “Mean Girls,” a central plot point is a notebook filled with vicious rumors and gossip — the “Burn Book,” it is called. Now the concept has been taken into the social media age with the “Burnbook” app.

How The Politics of Memory Affects Us All

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Listen Up!
How our society remembers history affects our sense of identity and well-being. The current controversy about remembering the Vietnam War trickles through families up to the present day, and shapes what kind of future our children will encounter.

Body Punishment

By The Book Brigade on April 16, 2015 in The Author Speaks
Obsessive-compulsive disorder takes many forms, but all of them involve repetitive behaviors that often create vicious cycles of anxiety and shame. Maggie Lamond Simone punished herself to maintain a public face—until the same disorder was diagnosed in her child. Only then did the healing begin.

Smartphones for Dummies—and Young People

You've hemmed and you've hawed, but finally you've given in and bought your child a smartphone. Now, the challenge begins: how do you ensure that he or she uses it wisely? Here are 10 guidelines to promote respectful, responsible use of your child’s new gadget.

All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism

In an exclusive interview, authors Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer discuss their acclaimed book, "All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism." Not just any children's book, it includes a reading guide about the challenges and strengths of individuals on the autism spectrum, along with tips and support information for parents and caregivers.

What to Do When Your Life Takes an Unexpected Turn

As you make your way through life, you are guided by both the long- and short-term goals you’ve set for yourself. However, your plans may take an unexpected turn. From research on “career shocks,” you can learn to manage the unexpectedly good and bad that life throws your way whether in your career or your relationships.

How Much Should Parents Protect Their Children?

A legitimate question about how much risk parents should allow their children to take, and how protective of their children parents should be has been all but drowned out by extreme emotion.

Breaking Good

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in All About Addiction
Coming face to face with your own shame and emotion about the past can be hard. This is me trying to do it in public.

5 Questions We Often Ask Ourselves After Microaggressions

Society’s awareness of microaggressions and its many expressions have increased over the past few years. The internal dialogues and psychological struggles that microaggressions cause marginalized people, however, are rarely discussed and remain largely “Unseen and Unheard” by the general public. I hope this helps.

When a Sociopath Is Hell Bent on Destroying You

By Carrie Barron M.D. on April 13, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Sociopaths (anti-social personality, psychopath) can decimate a life. The mental, emotional or physical trauma can be stunning. The aftermath of sociopathic is unique because the assault instills a dim world view, a shaky sense of safety and a feeling that one has been visited by evil. Here are 16 points of focus to begin recovery.

The Emotional "Trials" of Trial Independence (ages 18 - 23)

For many last stage adolescents (18 - 23) independence can prove too much of a good thing when they flounder in so much freedom, become stressed out, and experience emotional crisis as a result. At this juncture, parents can be of help.

7 Secrets to Hitting Your Reset Button

Dr. Michael Roizen, co-author with Dr. Oz on the best-selling YOU series, has just published a new book, “This is Your Do-Over.” The book provides 7 secrets to better physical health. Fortunately, these same secrets are the pathway to positive mental health, happiness, and well-being.

Business As Unusual

Bring it or blow it. Can you stand the feeling of intimacy and closeness in a new business relationship? Does this throw you off your game and make you back off, or blow it? In this entry we address how it is that irrelationship can trigger old, and familiar anxieties, kick up old song-and-dance routines, and ultimately, cause you to fail in your entrepreneurial efforts.

10 Things To Do Instead of Cheating On Your Diet

By Gregg McBride on April 11, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
We all do it: Eat something we really didn’t want to avoid boredom, avoid stress or to get through a difficult moment. Next time you hit a food mood that really isn’t about hunger, try one of these 10 food substitutes to get through the angst, calorie-free.

Happinesses

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in One Among Many
I found 26 blog posts on happiness in my blog archive. Here’s a list of them with a brief statement of contents for each. Peace and happiness!

The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Passion

By Gregg Levoy on April 10, 2015 in Passion!
Passion can be either beneficial or detrimental, life-giving or life-denying. And it can share a border with mania. Here’s how to tell whether your passion for work and life is healthy or not.

The Best of Times or the Worst of Times for Marriage?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in Living Single
Fewer people are marrying than ever before, as claims about the power of marriage—for adults, for children, and for society—intensify. How accurate are those claims? What are the implications of offering more incentives to people to get married and more benefits and protections once they do?

Workplace Bullying: A Real Issue That Needs a Real Solution

By Shimi Kang M.D. on April 09, 2015 in The Dolphin Way
Although school-based bullying in children and youth has achieved much attention over the years, adults bully all the time and in surprising places. Universities, hospitals, schools, corporations, and even the police force are all settings where the real, common, and shockingly increasing problem of workplace bullying is occurring.

Bullying: A Case Study Revisited

They delighted in their own cleverness, and in their ability to get many uninvolved bystanders to sing a chorus as they waited in the food line. In other words, the humiliation of one girl became a popular bonding experience, and ad-libbing new lyrics was a way to get positive peer attention.

Are Your Pressure Habits Helping You Or Hurting You?

By Hendrie Weisinger on April 08, 2015 in Thicken Your Skin
Pressure Habits---they can either make or break your life so you better have good ones!

Being the DUFF

What role do you play in your relationships?

The Epidemic of Insecurity

The stressors in your life adversely impact your self-esteem and trigger insecurities. Because you cannot avoid them, learn how to negate them. These steps will help you combat your insecurities and strengthen your confidence in you own worth and abilities.

Evidence? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Evidence!

By Alfie Kohn on April 07, 2015 in The Homework Myth
It's possible to prove that rewards and punishments aren't effective in the long run. But what if defenses of these practices are rooted more in ideology than psychology?

Lessening Alzheimer’s Discordance: Five Recommendations

Dealing with the differing views of the illness held by the person with Alzheimer's disease and the care partner is a challenging but critical task. Lessening this discordance enormously reduces care partner stress, and is valuable for the person with the disease, as well.

Can a Narcissist Ever Change?

We tend to associate narcissism with psychological problems that impact a variety of everyday behaviors and relationships. However, according to a new theory of narcissism, one of the three basic types has the chance to grow up psychologically healthy.