Self-Esteem Self-Esteem: Understanding the Concept Psychology 101 Self-Esteem: Understanding the Concept Whether people know it or not, everyone has a self-esteem, but some have better grasps on it than others do. Most people’s self-esteem judgments are based on what they value, their beliefs or interests, and the attitudes that they have (Beane, 1993, p. 6). Therefore it is impossible to escape the notion that someone doesn’t have a self-esteem. It is whatever they make it out to be, but not only do they choose their own self-esteem, but others have a big part in deciding it as well.
I have two friends who are totally different in every aspect, especially their self-esteem. My one friend Karis has a high self-esteem; she gets good grades, is the star of the volleyball team, and has loving parents. Davina on the other hand, has a low self-esteem. She’s not as bright a student as she wants to be, nor does she play any sports, or have loving parents. Her mother and father divorced a few years back, and Davina has been forgotten ever since. She lived at her best freinds house for a few years to finish schooling, as her father took off with her little sisters and her mother moved away to start a new family. Since her abandonment, Davina hasn’t been the same.
She is afraid to speak in class, always scared that others will make fun of her. Her grades used to be good, but now she has no confidence that she can pass the tests. Gym is a nightmare as Davina is reluctant to wear shorts, always professing that she is to fat. She will only sit with her friend! s at lunch, to frightened to go out of her way and make new friends, and she never smiles. Davina is convinced that everyone talks about her behind her back, and when a teacher asks her a question she slinks back in her chair, afraid of the snickers she’ll receive if she gives the wrong answer. Self-esteem involves an individual’s sense of self worth (Beane, 1984, p.
6), and Davina seems to have none. Self-evaluations of a person physical appearance are defiantly linked to self-esteem (Baumeister, 1993, p. 95), and Davina hates the way she looks. She’s a beautiful girl and she’d be so much prettier if she smiled once in awhile, but Davina doesn’t believe her peers. What a person thinks of himself or herself is going to show through their attitude and behavior (Beane, 1984, p.
26). It is also determined by what others think. Friends and relatives can have a great impact on what a person thinks of himself or herself. This can either be good or bad, and in Davina’s case, ! it’s awful. Since her parents walked out on her, she seems untrusting of everyone except her closest friends.
Even then it is hard to get through to her, I think she has given up on herself, making her self-esteem lower than is already is. Karis has nothing but warmth and love at home. Her parents help her study, commend her on her grades, and always brag to their friends about how well she is doing juggling both volleyball and school. On the refrigerator door her parents have put up all the carefully cut out newspaper clipping’s that show Karis playing volleyball, her place on the honor roll, and the pictures of her being inducted into the national honor society. This certainly brightens Karis’s spirits as she sees how proud her parents really are of her, and I believe that this is a big part of her self-esteem.
Having her parents there for her around the clock really helps. It is very obvious that her parents are proud of her. Karis always goes out of her way to make people feel at home and she has many friends because of it. In class she speaks loudly, projecting her voice, even if her answer is wrong. She doesn’t mind the snickers of her classmates; she just shrugs it off and smiles.
Karis doesn’t think down on herself at all, if anything, she may think to high of herself, but she at least has a well-rounded sense of her self worth. If a person sees themselves as competent in areas where they have set their goals, then they will have good self-esteem (Baumeister, 1984, p. 88). That is exactly what Karis has done. She is happy with her appearance, her grades, her volleyball achievements, and she really loves her parents.
Maybe Davina just suffers from an identity crisis, which most adolescence tend to struggle with, but I believe that the real problem is that her parents aren’t there for her. If Davina had the approval of her parents in the beginning, I don’t think she would be this way. I think that Davina feels that it’s her fault that her parents separated, and when neither wanted her, she lost all her self worth. She just couldn’t make the grades in school anymore, although she really wants too. If a person falls short of their goals and is unsuccessful, then they will have a low self-esteem (Baumeister, 1984, p. 88).
I think that is also part of the problem. Davina used to get good grades, in the back of her mind she knows she could do it again. Unfortunately she lost all confidence when her parents left her. Davina wanted approval from her parents and was dependent on them to be there for her, like Karis’s parents are, but Davina’s parents weren’t able to meet up with her stan! dards, and so her standard of self-support wasn’t available to herself (Beane, 1993, p. 104).
All Davina needed was her parents to tell her that she was doing good, that she wasn’t fat, and that they loved her, but instead they walked right out of her life. Rosenberg found that adolescents are mainly concerned with what their peers think of them, but those with low self-esteem tend to worry more about what others say, unlike those will high self esteem (Baumeister, 1984, p. 24). Just by looking at my two friends, it is obvious that Rosenberg was correct in his assumptions. Karis doesn’t care that much about what others think, but Davina is always questioning and wondering what people will say about her if she does this or that.
The teenage years are said to be the hardest. This is when teens go through many changes, and have an identity crisis (Beane, 1993, p. 23). They are always trying to find where they fit in, what their role is in life. Finding a good stable self-esteem is they key to a healthy life and a good self-esteem.
Bibliography Baumeister, Roy F. (Eds.). (1993). Self -Esteem, the puzzle of Self-Regard. New York: Plenum Press. Beane, James A.
(1984). Self-Concept, Self-Esteem, and the Curriculum. New York: Teachers College Press. Psychology Essays.