What does Self-esteem Mean?

Self- esteem is the assessment, generally positive, of oneself. For psychology, it is the emotional opinion that individuals have of themselves and that overcomes rationalization and logic in its causes.

In other words, self-esteem is a feeling that values ​​our set of bodily, mental and spiritual traits that make up the personality. This feeling can change over time: from the age of five or six, children begin to form the concept of how they are seen by other people.


Maintaining good self-esteem is essential in any psychotherapy, as it is usually a recurring symptom in different behavioral problems. For this reason, there are psychologists who define self-esteem as the function of the body that allows self-protection and personal development, since weaknesses in self-esteem affect health, social relationships and productivity.

The concept of self-esteem is very important in the field of psychopedagogy. This discipline considers self-esteem as the cause of constructive attitudes in individuals, and not its consequence. This means that if a student has good self-esteem, then he can achieve good academic results.

Self-esteem is also usually a value analyzed from self-help, with thousands of books that teach how to protect and encourage it. However, there are sectors of psychology that believe that self-help can be harmful to the individual, since it promotes a narcissistic profile that affects social relationships.

There is a very fine line between the recovery of self-esteem and the artificial manufacture of self- confidence. People who have serious problems accepting themselves, whether due to any of their physical or mental characteristics, should treat them patiently, step by step, and not look for an instant recipe to feel better.

The work required to regain or increase self-esteem is very arduous, time-consuming, and almost always has steep ups and downs. It all starts with the search for the origin: when do we feel insecure in this aspect for the first time, and why do we think this problem arose in us? Only when we get to the traumatic event or relationship can we take our first steps toward a potential solution.

If we think of a conventional treatment, which consists of an extensive series of consultations between a patient and their therapist, the process is unpredictable, for better and for worse, in that along the way there will be discoveries that are difficult to digest but also moments in which progress will be faster than expected. In the best of cases, the result will be positive and the doors will open to a new and more effective social insertion.

What can be the problem with self-help, mentioned above? In the first place, if we talk about groups of patients who share a similar ailment, there is the risk that a cycle of mutual victimhood and justification will form, leading to the blocking of the conflict, rather than its exposure. It is very common for members to nurture the idea that “they have the right to feel bad”, that “no one can demand that they get up”, or that “they are not below anyone” and that “they can get what they want. propose ».

Although it is not bad to feed self-esteem with phrases charged with energy, false expectations should not be generated in the patient to the point of taking him from his discomfort to an extreme of apparent absolute power, simply because it is not realistic. That is why there is talk of a narcissism (“I can achieve what I propose”) that will get in the way of their interpersonal relationships, since it will stand on a path of lies.