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

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.

4 Healthy Mind Games to Play With Yourself

Our minds are incredibly malleable, and are influenced by the world around us. We can also choose to consciously influence our minds through thoughtful “mind-games” that ultimately can change our lives for the better.

The Yin and Yang of Aging

Resolving the inverse relationship between the decline of one’s physical being and the evolution of one’s psyche (barring the onset of a debilitating cognitive disease, of course) seems to me to be one of life’s most daunting challenges, but certainly one worth taking on.

Wilderness Therapy

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on July 27, 2015 in Minority Report
Why getting outdoors may be the best medicine for your psychological health. It can not only free you from your daily world of connection but also test you psychologically as you push yourself in your various pursuits.

6 Things You Can Say to Support Someone Who's Depressed

By Jean Kim M.D. on July 27, 2015 in Culture Shrink
How can well-meaning people provide support to someone with depression, aside from avoiding tendencies towards judgment? How can one head towards greater understanding and connect with someone who is suffering?

Do You Want More Respect and Recognition for Your Work?

By Allison Carmen on July 23, 2015 in The Gift of Maybe
The desire for appreciation and respect from others often stems from a fear that things are not all right. We are afraid that we're not who we should be or we're not accomplishing enough with our lives. Yet the trap is that we can’t always get from others what we are looking for and must look within in order to find any semblance of stability and freedom.

Why Lisa Lampanelli is a ‘Spiritual Gangster’

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on July 23, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Lisa Lampanelli shares how helping others can help develop a strong self-concept.

Why Changing My Name Was & Wasn't the Worst Thing I Ever Did

By Anneli Rufus on July 21, 2015 in Stuck
I changed my name, regretted it for decades, then did something about it.

Teenage Insecurities

To ensure peace of mind and safety of their children during adolescence, parents need to take early preemptive action. Help teenagers improve their self-esteem during adolescence, and also strengthen and maintain a positive relationship, by taking advantage of these five pieces of advice.

What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Masculinity

By Rick Miller LICSW on July 15, 2015 in Unwrapped
The "new masculinity" includes strengthening a whole new set of muscles.

How Zoning Out Benefits Your Present and Your Future

By Josh Davis Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 in Your Mental Toolkit
Contrary to what we've always been told, we don't mind-wander enough. Research shows a number of benefits to mind-wandering in the realms of creative problem solving, planning, and holding out for something better in the future. With our devices pouring information into us constantly, we block out the important background processing that occurs when we mind-wander.

The Difference Between Rationalization and Rationality

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 13, 2015 in Ambigamy
Thinking fast; thinking slow is a hot topic these days, but it may be two topics confused with each other.

The Psychology of Sports Fandom

Sports fan allegiances illustrate basic properties of the self, including bolstering our self-esteem, improving our belongingness with others, and justifying our belief systems. These processes reflect broader human motives that can explain a considerable amount of behavior, ranging from nationalism to vigorously defending economic and religious systems.

Is it OK Not to Come Out?

“Is it ok NOT to come out?” In short, depending on the circumstances, the answer is sometimes yes.

Facebook-Self vs. True-Self: Presenting Contrived Happiness

By Jamie Krenn Ph.D. on July 10, 2015 in Screen Time
The need to have the false-self visible on a digital platform in an unusual trend in parents that has taken shape over the last several years.

“That Thing is Huge!”

By Deborah Carr Ph.D. on July 08, 2015 in Bouncing Back
The surprising ways we're hurting our friends and family who struggle with their weight.

Shame and Depression

Low on energy = low on activity. That is a sure fire path to feeling blue. How does a person deal with what seems like an inevitable failure of motivation and activity?

Women’s World Cup Win: Contributions to Tween Self-Esteem

Each of these players tells a unique story. What bonds them all together is their love of soccer and their desire to be the best. Role models such as the USA Women’s National Soccer team are important for our tweens and teens. Their accomplishments as individuals, and of course, their victory as a team model important lessons.

Difficult Choices Following Bipolar Destabilization

Medical withdrawal from enrollment can be a painful but necessary choice sometimes encountered by university students with bipolar disorder. This blog post discuses the importance of carefully managing ones recovery during the time away from school in order to maximize chances of success upon return to the university environment.

What Can You Learn About People from Facebook?

As anyone who uses Facebook knows, different people post updates about different things: Your high school friend sharing photos of her kids, your colleague opining on politics, your friend posting funny animal videos. But what drives people to post what they do? A new study examines how our personality relates to the type of content we present on Facebook.

"Bullying Fiction" Top Picks

Adolescence. At times synonymous with daily dramas…. until she takes her own life or he brings a gun to school—and uses it. This blog contains a list of books, fictional and/or autobiographical, that speak to these tragic scenarios, as well as to dysfunctional behaviors (including cutting and eating disorders) that are often linked to bullying.

4 Steps to Leave a Narcissist

By Judith Orloff M.D. on June 30, 2015 in Emotional Freedom
On the surface narcissists can seem charming, intelligent, caring—knowing how to entice and lure their way back into your life. But once they reel you back then they revert to their egotistical selves.

Is This a Portrait of a Narcissist?

By Donna Barstow on June 30, 2015 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Maybe you shouldn't say no - to anything - until you know yourself a little better.

Is High Self-Esteem Bad for You?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on June 28, 2015 in A Sideways View
Research suggests that the belief that bolstering self-esteem leads to many positive psychological and behavioural consequences may be misguided. Indeed it could have seriously unintended consequences and make matters worse

The Avatar Theory of Consciousness

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 27, 2015 in Memory Medic
Evolution made us smart enough to be effective killers and hopefully wise enough to be more humane.

Three Vital Differences Between Pride and Dignity

While maintaining a delicate sense of pride for our achievements in not necessarily a bad thing, it can easily solidify into an arrogant pride that distances us from others. We might do well to get clearer about what we're really wanting. Differentiating pride from dignity can help orient us toward what really nourishes and sustains us.

Reflections on Pixar's "Inside-Out" and the Neglect of Shame

Distinguishing whether you are depressed because you have experienced a prolonged state of sadness, or because you have experienced a prolonged state of shame, is critically important.