Self-Esteem: Understanding the Concept
Self-Esteem: Understanding the Concept
Whether people know it or not, everyone has a self-esteem, but some
have better grasps on it than others do. Most people’s self-esteem
judgments are based on what they value, their beliefs or interests,
and the attitudes that they have (Beane, 1993, p. 6). Therefore it is
impossible to escape the notion that someone doesn’t have a self-esteem.
It is whatever they make it out to be, but not only do they choose their
own self-esteem, but others have a big part in deciding it as well.
I have two friends who are totally different in every aspect, especially
their self-esteem. My one friend Karis has a high self-esteem; she gets
good grades, is the star of the volleyball team, and has loving parents.
Davina on the other hand, has a low self-esteem. She’s not as bright
a student as she wants to be, nor does she play any sports, or have
loving parents. Her mother and father divorced a few years back, and
Davina has been forgotten ever since. She lived at her best freinds
house for a few years to finish schooling, as her father took off with
her little sisters and her mother moved away to start a new family.
Since her abandonment, Davina hasn’t been the same. She is afraid
to speak in class, always scared that others will make fun of her.
Her grades used to be good, but now she has no confidence that she
can pass the tests. Gym is a nightmare as Davina is reluctant to wear
shorts, always professing that she is to fat. She will only sit with
her friend! s at lunch, to frightened to go out of her way and make
new friends, and she never smiles. Davina is convinced that everyone
talks about her behind her back, and when a teacher asks her a question
she slinks back in her chair, afraid of the snickers she’ll receive
if she gives the wrong answer. Self-esteem involves an individual’s
sense of self worth (Beane, 1984, p. 6), and Davina seems to have none.
Self-evaluations of a person physical appearance are defiantly linked to
self-esteem (Baumeister, 1993, p. 95), and Davina hates the way she
She’s a beautiful girl and she’d be so much prettier if she smiled once
in awhile, but Davina doesn’t believe her peers. What a person thinks
himself or herself is going to show through their attitude and behavior
(Beane, 1984, p. 26). It is also determined by what others think.
Friends and relatives can have a great impact on what a person thinks
of himself or herself. This can either be good or bad, and in Davina’s
case, ! it’s awful. Since her parents walked out on her, she seems
untrusting of everyone except her closest friends. Even then it is
hard to get through to her, I think she has given up on herself, making
her self-esteem lower than is already is.
Karis has nothing but warmth and love at home. Her parents help her
study, commend her on her grades, and always brag to their friends about
how well she is doing juggling both volleyball and school. On the
refrigerator door her parents have put up all the carefully cut out
newspaper clipping’s that show Karis playing volleyball, her place on
the honor roll, and the pictures of her being inducted into the national
honor society. This certainly brightens Karis’s spirits as she sees
how proud her parents really are of her, and I believe that this is a
big part of her self-esteem. Having her parents there for her around
clock really helps. It is very obvious that her parents are proud of
Karis always goes out of her way to make people feel at home and she has
many friends because of it. In class she speaks loudly, projecting her
voice, even if her answer is wrong. She doesn’t mind the snickers of
her classmates; she just shrugs it off and smiles. Karis doesn’t think
down on herself at all, if anything, she may think to high of herself,
but she at least has a well-rounded sense of her self worth. If a
person sees themselves as competent in areas where they have set their
goals, then they will have good self-esteem (Baumeister, 1984, p. 88).
That is exactly what Karis has done. She is happy with her appearance,
her grades, her volleyball achievements, and she really loves her
Maybe Davina just suffers from an “identity crisis,” which most
adolescence tend to struggle with, but I believe that the real problem
is that her parents aren’t there for her. If Davina had the approval
of her parents in the beginning, I don’t think she would be this way.
I think that Davina feels that it’s her fault that her parents
and when neither wanted her, she lost all her self worth. She just
couldn’t make the grades in school anymore, although she really wants
If a person falls short of their goals and is unsuccessful, then they
will have a low self-esteem (Baumeister, 1984, p. 88).I think that is
also part of the problem. Davina used to get good grades, in the back
of her mind she knows she could do it again. Unfortunately she lost
all confidence when her parents left her. Davina wanted approval from
her parents and was dependent on them to be there for her, like Karis’s
parents are, but Davina’s parents weren’t able to meet up with her stan!
dards, and so her standard of self-support wasn’t available to herself
(Beane, 1993, p. 104).All Davina needed was her parents to tell her
that she was doing good, that she wasn’t fat, and that they loved her,
but instead they walked right out of her life. Rosenberg found that
adolescents are mainly concerned with what their peers think of them,
but those with low self-esteem tend to worry more about what others say,
unlike those will high self esteem (Baumeister, 1984, p. 24). Just by
looking at my two friends, it is obvious that Rosenberg was correct in
assumptions. Karis doesn’t care that much about what others think, but
Davina is always questioning and wondering what people will say about
if she does this or that. The teenage years are said to be the hardest.
This is when teens go through many changes, and have an “identity
(Beane, 1993, p. 23). They are always trying to find where they fit in,
what their role is in life. Finding a good stable self-esteem is they
key to a healthy life and a good self-esteem.
Baumeister, Roy F. (Eds.). (1993). Self -Esteem, the puzzle of
Self-Regard. New York:
Beane, James A. (1984). Self-Concept, Self-Esteem, and the Curriculum.
New York: Teachers
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