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

Don’t Take Gifts from Narcissists

Even when narcissists give you gifts, they are really giving gifts to themselves.

The Roots of Shame

Do you sometimes think something is wrong with you? Do you know your own story and have compassion for your suffering? If not, shame may be limiting your healing.

Who Am I? Someone? Or Nobody?

By Tom Bunn L.C.S.W. on August 24, 2016 in Conquer Fear Of Flying
Celebrity is competitive. The outrageously competitive have no limits on what they do to get noticed. Winning often means being a bigger jerk than anyone else is willing to be.

Beyond Sobriety: Reclaiming Your Potential

By Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. on August 24, 2016 in A Shift of Mind
Can people move past the imprint of having been an addict? Does having to continue to see yourself through the snapshot of old behavior impede your personal growth?
Rob Bye/stocksnap.io

4 Myths About Mistakes (and How to Get Past Them)

Ever made a mistake? That's a GOOD thing.

It’s Better to Win Bronze

Measuring success by winning the Gold - or not.

Letter to Young Activists

This post is adapted from a talk recently given to young community organizers about self-care and well-being on the journey to a more compassionate and just society.

"Healthy Anger"

Let it all hang out? Really?
Antonioguillem / AdobeStock

7 Ways to Get Your Self-Esteem Back After Divorce

Is divorce taking a bite out of your self-esteem? Fight back by finding ways to rise to the emotional challenge, and impress the heck out of yourself (and your kids).
Pavlo Kolotenko/BigStock

Eight Traits of People With Healthy Self-Esteem

Heightened self-esteem comes about by continuing to take those baby steps, then making small decisions and seeing small results.

8 Keys to a Loving Relationship

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on August 16, 2016 in Emotional Fitness
Put these eight simple tools to work to improve your love life.

What Does Body Positivity Actually Mean?

What, exactly, does it mean to be body positive? And do efforts to market the concept miss the point?

How to Raise Your Kids With High—and Healthy—Self-Esteem

This post is about what, as a parent, you do to ensure that your children grow up with a more positive self-image than you yourself may have had when you were young.

How Men Feel About Their Bodies

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on August 10, 2016 in Cravings
Are you a man with concerns about your appearance? You're not alone!

The Most Important Element of Any Friendship

How do you measure your "social capital" in life?

What’s the Most Powerful Way to Raise Your Self-Esteem?

Most advice offered to raise self-esteem eventually falls flat. The truth is, to raise self-esteem, you must cope with what you now avoid.

The Pathological Narcissist

Have you been involved with a pathological narcissist? There is no hope for a relationship with someone incapable of love, empathy or enjoyment. Time to abandon ship!

Should I Call Myself Unemployed?

By Dawn R. Norris, Ph.D. on August 01, 2016 in The Next Step
Do you avoid calling yourself unemployed? That may be for good reason...

4 Ways to Set and Keep Your Personal Boundaries

Setting boundaries does not always come easily, but these four ways will help you draw healthy lines.
<a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_yuriisokolov'>yuriisokolov / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

This Is How to Rescue a Struggling Relationship

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on July 30, 2016 in Off the Couch
Do you fear that your marriage is in trouble? Try to improve it using this research-based solution.

Are You a Perfectionist? Take This Quiz

By Judith Orloff M.D. on July 29, 2016 in Emotional Freedom
If you're a perfectionist or inner slave driver you'll need to tame these in order to live a live a happy, balanced life.

What Are Your Options if Your Parent Has BPD Rages?

Parents' harsh anger can emotionally disable a son or daughter—child or adult.

Why I’m Giving Up My Job as an Undercover Muppet

By Kristen Lee Ed.D., LICSW on July 29, 2016 in Reset 24/7
Are you a perpetual people pleaser? Our performance driven culture can leave us depleted, requiring us to rethink our obsession with perfectionism in favor of self-compassion.

Sage Relationship Advice From the Movie Swingers

It’s been twenty years and I still think one of my favorite relationship movies is Swingers. It is a veritable storehouse of relationship advice, particularly about self-esteem.

5 Ways To Come Back From a Rough Breakup

Endless self-criticism will get you nowhere and will only intensify the hurt. Here are 5 ways to get over your ex with your self-esteem intact.

Fear of Inadequacy and What to Do About It

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 25, 2016 in Ambigamy
More than we notice, we're driven by fear of inadequacy. Here's the way to manage it.

Leslie Jones Is a Movie Star Who Makes Me Laugh and Cry

The more diversity of characters and actors we see on our stages and screens, the more opportunities we can create for identification and empathy between one another.
Pixaby

Does Your Partner Know the Real You?

Your tendency to self-enhance can ruin your shot at long-term love.

Self-Value Crowds Out Resentment

Couples in recovery have to learn that it’s not their “issues” that make them resentful. When partners feel valued in a negotiation, issues become far more easily manageable.
Quick and Dirty Tips

5 Surprising Tips for Taking the Sting out of Rejection

Your worse rejection story is probably not as terrible as you think.