Self Esteem Theory
Every self esteem theory must begin with a theory of the Self.
Interest in the concept of self, self concept, and self esteem can be seen throughout history. The phrase "Know thyself" has been used since ancient Greece. But it is not until the middle of 20th century when interest in the theory of self became considerable. Around this time, definitions of self and self-theories began to emerge.
Self was defined as:
The person's attitudes, feelings and evaluations of oneself. As well as a process of thinking, remembering and perceiving.
~Hall and Lindzey
Individual's attitudes towards self.
~Secord and Backman
Self is the unifying force of personality. Individuals reject that which does not fit their value structure and accept that which does. Self is consistent with these values.
Environment and heredity are basic elements of personality. Life scripts of the individual determine how self is created.
Self organizes personality traits, determines consistency among them, and adds structure.
As you can see, many definitions of self emerged. All these definitions have a common unifying element - the "self" or "self-concept" is vitaly important.
But, let's go back to the self esteem theory. At the beginning, I said that it was important to begin with the theory of self. So, what is the link between self (or self-concept) and self esteem?
According to psychologists Diane Frey and Jesse Carlock:
Self esteem is a judgement placed on the emotional, intellectual, and behavioral aspects of the self-concept.
This judgment (positive, negative, or neutral), is very subtle and is constantly present.
Indeed, Nathaniel Branden, an authority in the field of self esteem, has this to say:
There is no value judgment more important to man - no factor more decisive in his psychological development and motivation - than the estimate he passes on himself.
This estimate is ordinarily experienced by him, not in the form of a conscious, verbalized judgment, but in the form of a feeling, that can be hard to isolate and identify because he experiences it constantly; it is part of every other feeling, it is involved in his every emotional response.
~Nathaniel Branden (The Psychology of Self Esteem, 1971)
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Words of Wisdom
The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
Humor, a great stress reliever!
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