This paper is about the impact of self-esteem on daily life. The more negative thoughts and feelings you have about yourself, the lower your self-esteem. People with low self-esteem often have little confidence in their abilities and question their self-worth. A common scenario, which exemplifies a lack of self-esteem, features college students who say, 'It won't do any good to study. I won't make a good grade anyway. ' These students think they are doomed to failure because of poor performance in the past or their current fears of failure.
Consequently, their lack of self-confidence results in passivity with little or no effort to establish goals. Even when they do make worthwhile accomplishments, these students perceive that the performance of other students looks better in comparison. They let events happen to them instead of making them happen and minimize their successes. As a result, these students feel little control over their lives and often find it difficult to set goals and develop close personal relationships. On the other hand, high self-esteem consists of the positive thoughts and feelings you have about yourself. In addition, it affects how you think, act, and feel about others, as well as how successful you are in life.
The acquisition of high self-esteem involves you becoming the person you want to be, enjoying others more fully, and offering more of yourself to the world. High self-esteem is not competitive or comparative, but rather it is the state where a person is at peace with himself or herself. Self-esteem is the value we place on what we believe to be true about ourselves. Put simply, our self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves. It's an emotion we hold true about ourselves. People with high self-esteem consider themselves worthy, and view themselves as equal to others.
They do not pretend to be perfect, recognize their limitations, and expect to grow and improve. Those low in self-esteem generally experience self-rejection, self-dissatisfaction, self-contempt, and self-disparagement. We all have an inner child and the wounds our inner child received can and do continue to contaminate our adult lives. Our parents helped create this inner child part of us, society also helped with the creation.
When this child self is not allowed to be heard or even acknowledged as being real, a false or co-dependent self emerges. We begin to live lives as victims. Then we have situation that a rise in our lives, which develop into, unresolved emotional traumas. This portion of the paper will be covering development of self-esteem in students and school age children. Self-esteem is an issue that people as well as children develop individually.
Teachers play a major role in challenging and assisting the development of self-esteem. This issue has been defined in the Internet article, Developing self-esteem through challenging education experiences by Nancy Holiday. Nancy gives five ways to develop self-esteem in children. The five most used ways to develop self- esteem are; games, trust experiences, communication activities, initiatives, and rope course activities. (Holiday pp. 2) "These activities are developed in areas in which children can relate to and if performed by instructors correctly, children can use for a lifetime". Another way to develop self-esteem in children is to teach them leadership with exercises that make them think critically.
These activities have a dual purpose. They not only help children develop self-esteem through leadership roles; they also help children learn to work as a group and become team players. Self-esteem in children and in adults develops from a need to feel important, a want to belong and a feeling of accomplishment. Team leadership and team player are two words that carry weight in this area. These methods of help, help children learn to take control of situations as a leader and accomplish a difficult task with a group. The action takes on a positive effect of belonging and an idea that they can do anything they set their minds to do.
Children growing into adulthood need to feel they are trusted to make decisions on their own. Individuality plays a major role in this growth area in self-esteem. A good question to ask your self in this area is, how do you feel when you are not trusted? Do you feel you have a high or low self-esteem when faced with distrust? Children do not feel a high sense of self-esteem either when not trusted. Working with children in sports events gives you a sense of how children develop their self-esteems.
Children play sports in most cases harder then adults do. Every event of the games they perform helps them build or damage self-esteem. The best way to make a positive out of this method is to make them feel good on accomplishments and greater on errors. Children need assistance when they do make errors. If all they see is that they failed and blame is left on them then they are failures inside.
If they see they failed and words of encouragement are left in their head, they will try harder when faced with same mistake. The best way to develop self-esteem in children is to be an active role in their life for the rest of their lives. Major depression affects one in fifty school children. Countless others are affected by milder cases of depression, which may also affect school performance. The peak age of depression correlates with the peak years of low self-esteem.
Right at the prime period for low self-esteem is early and middle adolescence with a peak period between the ages of thirteen and fourteen. The suicide rate in teenagers has quadrupled in the last quarter century making it the 3rd leading cause of adolescent death in the nation. In Utah, it is the number one cause of death in for individuals 15 - 44 years old. A high school with a population of 2,000 students can expect 50 attempted suicides per year.
And yet depression and other affective disorders continue to be an area primarily ignored by the public schools. One of the factors that make depression so difficult to diagnose in adolescents is the common behavior change that are normally associated with the hormonal changes of this period. It has only been in recent years that the medical community has acknowledged childhood depression and viewed it as a condition, which requires intervention. Various therapies have been used with adolescent depression. Psychoanalytical therapies target the unconscious conflicts resulting in the depression. Behavior therapies design reinforcement programs to change behavior patterns.
Cognitive therapies look to improve and examine met cognition and increase more positive thought patterns. Unfortunately it is harder to medically treat adolescent depression than adult depression because adolescents are less likely to respond to the medication. Therefore, alternative treatments such as counseling have proven more successful. Physicians will prescribe anti-depressant medication to a depressed adolescent, but if that child appears suicidal, a psychological counselor will also become involved. Many schools have targeted depression by teaching students coping strategies for stress.
These programs are most effective with those students that are at-risk for depression. School administrators and teachers feel that although courses may be offered for the adolescents themselves, the more successful programs are those that are taught to parents for working with adolescents in their own homes. An important factor in preventing depression is a positive relationship with parents. This is especially important in early adolescence.
Other intervention programs have attempted to increase self-esteem through exercise. Depression has been reduced through the improvement of body image that comes with exercise. Exercise can be particularly beneficial if it is through a non-competitive sport such as swimming. Other programs are aimed at improving children's self esteem through music coupled with exercise. These programs not only target improvement of self-esteem, but also an improvement in interpersonal relationships. By increasing a person's interpersonal social skills, self-esteem improves.
According to Evite (1990)", ... Some ways parents can improve self-esteem in their adolescent include improving communication, limit setting and setting expectations, and nurturing a sense of responsibility. To insure a sense of security in the home, parents should set clear expectations and limits. To improve responsibility, parents should determine all the tasks a child is capable of doing and then insist on them doing them". Apparently if self-esteem remains low, adolescents will seek out groups in order to find a collective self-esteem. Discrimination between these groups increases personal self-esteem.
The greater the need for group or collective self-esteem, the greater the discrimination. People with particularly low personal self-esteem rely on group or collective self-esteem more than those with high personal self-esteem. It was shown that persons with high personal self-esteem discriminated not only between their group and others, but also within their own group, as whole group competitions may rely on attributes often out of the individual's control. Conversely, individuals with low personal self-esteem discriminate very little within their own group, as they depend on the collective self-esteem of their group to compensate for their weakness. Perhaps then, gang membership is a positive step toward reducing depression in persons with low self-esteem.
The only real difference between belonging to a gang and belonging to an athletic team is the rules. In Conclusion the habits of thought of childhood are not easily outgrown. Your own self-image may still be based upon others perceptions of you. While it is true that your original self-profiles were learned from the opinions of adults, it is not true that you must carry them around with you forever. While it is still tough to shed those old shackles and wipe clean those unhealed scars, hanging on to them is even tougher when you consider the consequences. Therefore, you must destroy the myth that you have one single self-concept, and that it is either positive or negative all of the time.
You have many self-images, and they vary from moment to moment. If you were asked, 'Do you like yourself?' you might be inclined to lump all of your negative self-thoughts together into a collective 'NO. ' Breaking down the areas of dislike into specifics will give you definite goals to work on. You have feelings about yourself physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally. You have an opinion about your abilities in music, athletics, art, mechanical undertakings, writing, and on and on. Your self-portraits are as numerous as your activities, and through all of these behaviors there is always YOU, the person that you either accept or reject.
Your self-worth, that friendly ever-present-shadow -- YOU EXIST -- YOU ARE HUMAN. That is all you need! Your worth is determined by you, and with no need for an explanation to anyone. Your worthiness, a given, has nothing to do with your behavior and feelings. You may not like your behavior in a given instance, but that has nothing to do with your self-worth.
You can choose to be worthy to yourself forever, and then get on with the task of working on your self-images.