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

What Would YOU Have Done in Milgram’s Experiment?

When Stanley Milgram studied the nature of human obedience, he shocked the world. Most people today say that they personally would never have obeyed an authority figure to the point of danger. But what they say may bear little resemblance to what they would actually do.

Understanding the Internal World of Psychosis

By Ann Olson Psy.D. on September 02, 2015 in Theory and Psychopathology
For the psychotic individual to be understood, empathy regarding his emotional experience might make a significant difference in his psychopathology and his relationship with the world. It is possible to understand his emotion and his fear, his cognition—to an extent—and his obvious alienation. Ways to address this individual in therapy are discussed in this article.

Bounce Back From ADHD

By Lara Honos-Webb Ph.D. on September 01, 2015 in The Gift of ADHD
People with ADHD may fail more than inhibited people because inhibition is in the service of avoiding failure

Personality Challenges, Perfectionism, and Self-Compassion

By Dan Mager MSW on August 31, 2015 in Some Assembly Required
Having compassion for oneself means that we can honor our humanness by accepting ourselves—even during those times when we inevitably come up against our limitations and fall short of our ideals.

Are You a Feeler, Doer, or Thinker?

By Leon Pomeroy Ph.D. on August 29, 2015 in Beyond Good and Evil
What no other words can tell me so clearly

How Parents Can Help Their Child Build Self-Confidence

by Dona Matthews & Joanne Foster. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is self-confidence. Help her understand her unique ability profile, show him that all learning happens in small steps, support her in developing her interests, be available as needed especially in times of change, and help him welcome setbacks as learning opportunities.

Women Initiate Divorce Much More Than Men, Here's Why

By Douglas LaBier Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 in The New Resilience
Women are much more likely than men to initiate divorce, according to survey of over 2000 heterosexual couples. The reasons point to unfulfilled desire for intimacy and emotional connection with their husbands during the course of marriage; while men report contentment with the way things are.

The Sin of Being Perfect

Voltaire wrote perfect is the enemy of good. Perfect is also the enemy of the authentic.

How To Need Less Affirmation

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
We all need ego-strokes, but how many? Here are five ideas for going on an affirmation diet, without starving.

Why Narcissists Try to Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

It’s never pleasant to be the target of an insult. However, before you let an insulting remark get the better of you, stop and consider who’s doing the insulting. It’s likely that it’s just a narcissist, trying to feel better by making you feel bad.

8 Simple Truths About Raising Happy, Successful Kids

By Suzanne Gelb Ph.D., J.D. on August 24, 2015 in All Grown Up
Parenting doesn't have to be “mysterious” or “complicated." As I’ve found through my work as a psychologist, coach, and family law attorney, supporting families over the past 28 years — raising awesome kids comes down to some “simple truths.” Live these “simple truths” as consistently as you can, and you — and your kids — are likely to be on the right track.

This Is Your Brain On College Football

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 in Obesely Speaking
Beyond Social Tribalism, BIRGing, CORFing, and Tailgating - the brain needs its football.

One Simple Way to Protect Yourself from Narcissists

By Craig Malkin PhD on August 19, 2015 in Romance Redux
Narcissistic family members may make you want to run for the hills, but sometimes leaving isn't an option or just causes more problems. Here's an easy alternative.

Look to Your Own Life

By Saul Levine M.D. on August 19, 2015 in Our Emotional Footprint
You Don't Need the Kardashians!

Make Envy Your Friend—and Keep Your Friends

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 17, 2015 in Open Gently
Envy is normal but dangerous if it combines with anger.

It’s Not Easy Being a Grown-Up

In many ways, as we get older life gets more complicated. When life throws you a painful curve it makes sense that the need for soothing dramatically increases. Being grown up doesn't mean that you’ve outgrown the right to get support!

The Right Way to React to Risky Moments in Your Relationship

By Erica B Slotter Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 in Me, You, & Us
How do you react when your partner does something that makes you feel hurt or rejected? In these situations, you can either protect yourself or seek connection with your partner. Read on to find out which behavioral option is best for your relationship and which strategy you may be more likely to choose.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 in In Excess
Over the last few years, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) has become the focus of increasing media attention. BDD is a distressing, handicapping, and/or impairing preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in body appearance that the sufferer perceives to be ugly, unattractive, and/or deformed. But what does the psychological literature tell us?

On Being an Instrument

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on August 12, 2015 in Jacob's Staff
Are you creating dissonance (conflict) or harmony in your life? How are you expressing your energies when you interact with others? How does your energy define who you are and how others perceive the value you bring? Can you describe yourself as "an instrument of intimacy"? How might that change your relationships?

Nurture vs. Nature? As a Practical Matter, It’s Nurture

By Anthony Biglan Ph.D. on August 12, 2015 in The Nurture Effect
Beyond Nature v. Nurture: If you want a society full of productive, caring people, then focus on nurturing.

Getting Out Of The Abusive Relationship

It is possible to live a happy, healthy life after abuse

10 Uncommon Tips For Addressing The Self-Esteem Paradox

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 11, 2015 in Ambigamy
10 off-the-beaten-path tips for beating your path to sustainable calmfidence--calm confidence in your personal worth.

To Love Someone, Do You Really Need to Love Yourself First?

It’s become commonplace to proclaim that truly loving another depends on first loving yourself. But just how warranted is this maxim? Is it backed by science or academic research? Or is it little more than folk wisdom—or maybe, pseudo-wisdom? I’ve sought to track down any authoritative studies on this so-intriguing topic and . . .

Beauty Matters Part 3: Evolving Beauty

By Eva Ritvo M.D. on August 09, 2015 in On Vitality
Every woman is beautiful, and it’s up to her to see it and nourish it in herself. She must use her evolved beauty sensors to love the woman she is. When she has achieved this goal, others will certainly see her as beautiful.

"Pro-Ana" Websites Encourage Anorexia

Websites advance the idea of anorexia nervosa as a lifestyle rather than a mental illness.

Shortcut to Understanding Others

Speed Dating With Speed Testing

6 Ways to Stop (Mentally) Beating Yourself Up

How to stop being your own worst bully.

6 Affirmations for Postpartum Self-Esteem

It’s just that your pretense is not as well developed and you are not as good at faking it as they are.

Serving Your Self-Interest for Good

By Kathy Cramer Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in Lead Positive
Find out from renowned women's success coach why navigating the politics of an organization is critical to getting promoted.

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem? Try Hitting the Weight Room

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 in Social Instincts
New research shows that physically stronger men have higher self-esteem.