Understanding Self Esteem

In this article, we take a look at the types & states of Self Esteem. We analyze this classification and point out one of the major flaws in the nature of this classification. Finally, we draw out a recommendation based on this inherent flaw in categorizing Self Esteem.

Prerequisite Reading:

Types of Self Esteem

There are two types of Self Esteem. Conditional self esteem is based on external evaluations. It may be based on one’s relationships or ones abilities, or a combination thereof. The core principle is that is it based on situation or metrics that are not an inherent reflection of the true self of an individual. The individual is dependent on his social interactions for his state of feeling good about himself.

Unconditional self esteem may be defined to not be based on any evaluations. But I do not agree with this idea. For me, Unconditional Self Esteem needs to be derived based on internal evaluations & self awareness. It is inherently based on one’s values.

What happens if a person has unconditionally high self esteem without any basis in value systems?

That is the case of narcissism. Narcissistic people think highly of themselves without any regard to self awareness or value systems. They have a superficially evaluated self esteem, that is very vulnerable, because it is not aligned to the truth. On the other hand, unconditional Self Esteem based on values is secure, and does not need to be defended against external attacks, or justified in times of setbacks.

States of Self Esteem

The nature of an individual’s self esteem changes over time. It may be Vulnerable, Shattered or Strong – depending on long term conditioning & short term events. A seemingly strong self esteem may be defensive or secure. Vulnerable self esteem is mostly defensive, while shattered self esteem is mostly secure – since there is nothing to defend against.

Self Awareness Questions

  • Have you ever felt in your life that you were not a good person?
  • Do you ever feel people talking about you behind your back are making fun of you?