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

Self-Esteem and Your Inner Biker

The news pumps up the biker “shootout” in Waco. The psychology of abandon cuts through the hype and examines how biker gangs mirror the struggle for self-esteem that shapes all of us—even you and me. Gun your engines.

Three Simple Steps to Heal Conflict and Strengthen Love

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on May 23, 2015 in Finding Love
This simple technique is designed to deepen all of your intimate relationships, including your relationship with yourself. Each of its three steps leads to a deeper state of authenticity, a gentle, skillful “overthrow” of the inner and outer voices which hold us back from deeper love.

A Relationship Advisor Talks About How To Be Single

By Donna Flagg on May 21, 2015 in Honestly
A chat with Tamsen Fadal about her new guide to empowerment after a big life change such as a breakup or divorce.

3 Reasons Why Intuition is a Sacred Gift

Give your intuition a chance and you'll give yourself the biggest gift of your life.

Have You Ever Been Told You Were Needy?

Oftentimes, needy is about reacting to the other—feeling neither heard nor understood.

Turn Your “If Only” Into "As If"

As much as individuals like to lament how life might be "if only" things had been different, it is much more empowering to live your life "as if" you were the person you know you are meant to be!

Have You Told You Lately That You Love You?

By Hal Mathew on May 15, 2015 in Unagoraphobic
"Let's vase it, you're really a lovable person and so are you."

Relationship Roadblock? Define Your Values

It's easy for couples to hit roadblocks that turn into power struggles and reactions to control. Side-step it by talking about your values and what's really important to you

Break the Self-Betrayal Habit

By Kimberly Key on May 12, 2015 in Counseling Keys
People generally fear the disapproval of others—society, family, a first crush, bullies, or fear being different and alone. To compensate, sometimes people will work harder to acquire money and possessions, sex, love, food, alcohol, drugs, constant relocating and starting over, and/or isolating. Here is what you can do to identify and heal the source so many bad habits.

5 Tweaks to CBT

Psychotherapy depends on clients messing up the therapy like they mess up their other relationships.

A Workover: A High Performer Feels Inadequate

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 11, 2015 in How To Do Life
Advice I gave to a caller to my NPR-San Francisco radio program.

Low Self-Esteem? You're Likely to Stay In a Bad Relationship

Research finds that people with low self-esteem avoid dealing with conflicts in their relationships, fearing rejection. This can lead to a worsening relationship, in which they remain frozen.

Is Narcissistic Rage Real?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 07, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
Narcissists are people who feed off the energy of others. They draw from people around them to boost their self-esteem. As a result, they are extraordinarily self-centered. If you have a narcissist for a boss, that can be very difficult. Narcissists are reluctant to share credit with others.

Subverting the Trap of Perfection This Mother's Day

Just in time for the Mother of all holidays, a book that applauds the imperfections of getting older. Finally.

Imagining an Authentic Life

Stop trying to be true to yourself, because there's no self to be true to. You are a character in a fiction of your own making, constantly revising your narrative to adapt to your circumstances. If you don't like your life, change your story.

5 Reasons Fairy-Tale Romances Almost Always Go Wrong

The cultural roots of the warrior/hunter man and the feminine/passive-gatherer woman are reflected in the princess and knight in shining armor mentality promoted today. Although compelling, fairy tale expectations set many men and women up for eventual romantic defeat. Here are five reasons why fairy tale dreams often lead to misery in romance.

If You Tend to Get Scattered, Check for Adult ADD/ADHD

Children with attention deficits tend to be recognized by parents, pediatricians and teachers. Adult ADD sufferers by contrast often go undiagnosed. Yet adult ADD can destroy relationships at home and at work.

Three Strong Steps To Combat Anxiety And Insecurity

Do you feel tangled up in anxiety and insecurity? Learn a simple technique to break free.

Curious Criticism? Or do you get defensive?

Don't lose opportunities to grow.

Winning the Battle with Inner Criticism

Does inner criticism shake your confidence, make you feel that you are not beautiful, intelligent, powerful, or even worthy? Here's how to make a real difference in your struggle to love yourself.

The Real Reason Some Women Put Themselves Down

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in Good Thinking
Women usually respond to compliments by putting themselves down. Research shows that the reason for this is not low self-esteem or self-hatred. Instead, it is something far more subtle, strategic...and powerful.

The Horrors of Self-Esteem

Our predecessors thought that self-esteem was a horrible notion. They were right.

Developmental Dislike of Parents During Early Adolescence

One function of adolescence is to grow parent and adolescent apart. Dislike of parents is part of what allows this social separation to occur. Most important for parents to remember is that this loss of liking for parents does not mean any lessening of of adolescent love.

Subliminal Messages Can Fortify Inner Strength

Subliminal messages have the power to fortify your inner strength and self-confidence on and off the court.

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.

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.