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Self Esteem and Identity

The need for positive self esteem and identity is common to all of us. We need to feel accepted, confident, worthy, and self-reliant.

What is identity and what does it have to do with self esteem?

Who are you? How do you relate to other people? What roles do you play in your life? Those questions are all about your identity.

When we speak about our identity, we usually mean one of two things. We either mean our social identity or our personal identity.

Social identity

When we say: "I am a mother", "I am a Canadian", "I am a student", we speak about roles that we fulfill in our lives, or about belonging to a certain cultural group. We identify with the roles that we play and the groups that we belong to. They become us. They are the "I am". They become our social identity.

Personal identity

Personal identity encompasses everything that belongs to us, to our "Self". It includes our intellect, our emotions, and our behavior. Personal identity includes our values, goals, likes-dislikes, passions, how we relate to others, our achievements, abilities, and mistakes. It contains our hopes and dreams, our style of clothing, and the choices we make in everyday life.

Personal identity also includes our body image. How do we see our own bodies. This is a difficult area for most women. You can learn more about body image and self image at Self Help Collective.

How are self esteem and identity tied together?

First, let's look at one of the definitions of self esteem. Self esteem experts, Dianne Fray and Jesse Carlock, say:"Self esteem is an evaluative term. It refers to negative, positive, neutral, and/or ambiguous judgments that one places on the self concept. Self esteem is an evaluation of the emotional, intellectual, and behavioral aspects of self-concept".

And what is self-concept if not identity?

I said previously that a statement "I am a mother" declares social identity. If you say (and believe it too): "I am a great mother", then you are making a judgment (an evaluation) of your social identity.

This evaluation determines how youI will feel about yourself. How you feel about yourself determines the level of your self esteem.

Identity statement —> Value judgment —> Feeling —> Self esteem

Now the link between self esteem and identity becomes pretty clear. When you put a positive value judgment on your identity, you feel better, and you have higher or more positive self esteem. When you put a negative judgment on your identity, your self esteem plummets.

Negative identity value judgment —> Low self esteem

Positive identity value judgment —> High self esteem

And that's it. That's the link. Simple, isn't it?

Continue from Self esteem and Identity to Importance of Self Esteem.


Related articles:

Definition of Self Esteem
Self Esteem Theory
Quotes about Self Esteem
Perfectionism - The Dangerous Trap



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Words of Wisdom

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
~Sydney J. Harris

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
~Chinese Proverb

There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
~Henry Kissinger

Humor, a great stress reliever!
Laugh, be happy and have less stress!
~Catherine Pulsifer




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