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 We Mean When We Talk About Entitlement

By Jane Adams Ph.D. on January 15, 2018 in Between the Lines
Can a little bit of entitlement help you think out of the box? New data suggests it spurs creative problem-solving.

Five New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Mental Health

This time of year is marked by the making of (and breaking of) resolutions. Set yourself up for success this year.

The 2 Ways to Become the Cool Person You Always Wanted to Be

The two factors that control your being seen as truly cool come under scrutiny in a new study of the personality traits of those we want to emulate.

Obsessive Selfie-Taking

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on January 12, 2018 in In Excess
The taking of selfies has become hugely popular but recent research suggests that some individuals have what has been termed selfitis, the obsessive taking of selfies.

Tips for Sexual Wellness in 2018

By Caitlin Cantor LCSW, CST on January 11, 2018 in Modern Sex
What will you do to cultivate more sexual wellness this year?

Shut Down the Bully In Your Mind With Positive Self-Talk

By John-Manuel Andriote on January 09, 2018 in Stonewall Strong
Even bullies' barbs and stones can't bring you down when you heed your own positive self-talk.

Tears and Perfume

How can you overcome the sense of hopelessness that comes from feeling ashamed of yourself

Constructing Modern Selves 1: Dangers of the Class System

How do less wealthy people maintain a worthy self-concept in a class-based society, a place where people are encouraged to think of themselves as equal to anyone else?

Attachment Style, Adult Well-Being, and Childhood Trauma

Research spanning decades looks at how maltreatment of children plays out in adulthood.

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on January 06, 2018 in Talking Apes
Belief in conspiracy theories can satisfy important psychological needs for some people. We need to understand this first before confronting a believer with facts.

Why I Envy Yeezy, Diddy, Ozzy, Fergie, Sting, and Flea

By Anneli Rufus on January 05, 2018 in Stuck
Nicknames are gifts you can't give yourself.

Resources Within Reach: The Merits of Speaking Up!

By Rick Miller LICSW on January 04, 2018 in Unwrapped
Were you bullied as a kid? Echoes of those messages often remain: “We deserve to be treated unfairly.” But those echoes will fade in the face of your superpower: Resilience!

Do You Have What It Takes to Be Your Own Boss?

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on January 04, 2018 in Motivate!
New year, new job! If you want to start a business, work for yourself, or be your own boss you must also embrace these skills to be successful.

How Vulnerable Should You Let Yourself Be?

The impulse, self-protectively, to ward off whatever feels threatening is only natural. But you also have to consider the costs of such cautiousness.

The Problem with "No Problem": A Discourse on Discourse

"Thank you" and "You're welcome" can have real meaning.

The #1 Life-Changing New Year’s Resolution

This is the best resolution for 2018, in a word — well, two words.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Unipolar Mania

Unipolar mania (mania without depression) is currently diagnosed as bipolar I disorder. But scientific evidence suggests that it may be a subtype of ADHD.

A Body of One's Own

By Karin Arndt, Ph.D. on December 29, 2017 in A Hut of Her Own
On the importance of naming the problem of self-objectification and finding a pathway out.
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Where Do You Get Stuck Running Your Life?

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on December 29, 2017 in Fixing Families
What can't you do? Where do you get stuck effectively running your life? the 5 common emotional obstacles and tips on how to overcome them

The Open Book: What Your Reading Choices Say About You

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on December 27, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
You are what you read. Your choice in plot and complexity speaks volumes about who you are and how you think.
Katy Salermo/Pexels

How the 3 Types of Narcissists Act on a First Date

This article will help you recognize and understand the three basic types of Narcissistic disorders and how they are likely to treat you if you get involved with them romantically.

Our Illusions of Role Models, Heroes, and Idols

By Saul Levine M.D. on December 22, 2017 in Our Emotional Footprint
Our role models (action heroes, movie stars, great minds, artists or world leaders), have been attributed wonderful qualities, but they're ordinary people, both worthy and flawed.

Toxic Masculinity as a Mask for Anxiety

By Ruth C. White Ph.D. on December 22, 2017 in Culture in Mind
Our social expectations of boys are for them to be tough, aggressive and stoic. Deviation from these norms can result in ostracism and bullying, which may cause anxiety.

Ask For What You Need and Get What You Deserve

By Loren Soeiro, Ph.D. ABPP on December 21, 2017 in I Hear You
What's the best way to get your needs recognized by others—both at work and at home?

"Sexual Self-Concept" and Attachment in Couples and Singles

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on December 20, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Sexual self-concept helps us understand how our attachment style affects satisfaction whether we are single or partnered.

Why Do We Struggle With Love?

Is love a choice? What does our perception of self-worth have to do with love?

The Biggest Red Flag That Your Partner Is Not "The One"

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on December 16, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
Infatuation Alert: You have feelings of anticipation and excitement whenever you think about your new love interest. But is your emotional intoxication healthy or harmful?

Good Mood, Bad Mood? Blame the Bacteria You Eat

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on December 15, 2017 in The Fallible Mind
The bacteria in our gut—one’s so-called microbiome—play a huge role in shaping our emotions. The brain in our head is in constant contact with the one in our guts.

How Acting Perfect Undermines Your Ability to Lead

By James Bailey Ph.D. on December 13, 2017 in At the Helm
We like our leaders flawed, just like we like ourselves