What is self-esteem?

The judgements we make about our own worth and the feelings associated with those judgements. According to Morris Rosenberg (1979), “a person with high self –esteem is fundamentally satisfied with the type of person he is, yet he may acknowledge his faults hoping to overcome them”

High self-esteem implies a realistic evaluation of the self’s characteristics and competencies, coupled with an attitude of self-acceptance and self-respect. Self-esteem ranks among the most important aspects of self-development, since evaluation s of our own competencies affect emotional experiences, future behaviour and long term psychological adjustments. As soon as a categorical self with features that can be judged positively or negatively is in place, children become self-evaluative human beings. For example, at age 2, they seek for a parent’s attention to an achievement, such as completing a puzzle, by pointing and saying, “Look mom!” In addition, 2 year olds will smile when they have succeeded at something or frown when they failed (Stipek, Recchia and McClinic, 1992). Self-esteem is developed early and its structure becomes increasingly elaborate with age.

The structure of self-esteem depends on information available to children and the ability to process the information. By 6 to 7 years, children would have formed at least 4 self-esteems – academic competences, social, physical appearance that becomes more refined with age (Marsh 1990).

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