Self-esteem is an individual's subjective evaluation of their own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself (for example, "I am unloved", "I am worthy") as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame. Smith and Mackie (2007) defined it by saying "The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it."
Self-esteem is an attractive psychological construct because it predicts certain outcomes, such as academic achievement, happiness, satisfaction in marriage and relationships, and criminal behavior. Self-esteem can apply to a specific attribute (for example, "I believe I am a good writer and I feel happy about that") or globally (for example, "I believe I am a bad person, and I feel bad about myself in general"). Psychologists usually regard self-esteem as an enduring personality characteristic (trait self-esteem), though normal, short-term variations (state self-esteem) also exist. Synonyms or near-synonyms of self-esteem include many things: self-worth, self-regard, self-respect, and self-integrity.
High self-esteem has a high correlation to self-reported happiness; whether this is a causal relationship has not been established. The relationship between self-esteem and life satisfaction is stronger in individualistic cultures.
Additionally, self-esteem has been found to be related to forgiveness in close relationships, in that people with high self-esteem will be more forgiving than people with low self-esteem.
High self-esteem does not prevent children from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, or engaging in early sex. One exception is that high self-esteem reduces the chances of bulimia in females.
In research conducted in 2014 by Robert S. Chavez and Todd F. Heatherton, it was found that self-esteem is related to the connectivity of the frontostriatal circuit. The frontostriatal pathway connects the medial prefrontal cortex, which deals with self-knowledge, to the ventral striatum, which deals with feelings of motivation and reward. Stronger anatomical pathways are correlated with higher long-term self-esteem, while stronger functional connectivity is correlated with higher short-term self-esteem.
Life satisfaction, happiness, healthy behavioral practices, perceived efficacy, and academic success and adjustment have been associated with having high levels of self-esteem (Harter, 1987; Huebner, 1991; Lipschitz-Elhawi
Such attempts to raise one's self-esteem by positive stimulus produce a "boom or bust" pattern. "Compliments and positive feedback" produce a boost, but a bust follows a lack of such feedback. For a person whose "self-esteem is contingent", success is "not extra sweet", but "failure is extra bitter".
Life satisfaction, happiness, healthy behavioral practices, perceived efficacy, and academic success and adjustment have been associated with having high levels of self-esteem (Harter, 1987; Huebner, 1991; Lipschitz-Elhawi & Itzhaky, 2005; Rumberger 1995; Swenson & Prelow, 2005; Yarcheski & Mahon, 1989).:270 However, a common mistake is to think that loving oneself is necessarily equivalent to narcissism, as opposed for example to what Erik Erikson speaks of as "a post-narcissistic love of the ego". People with a healthy self-esteem accept and love themselves unconditionally, acknowledging both virtues and faults in the self, and yet, in spite of everything, is able to continue to love themselves.
In narcissists, by contrast, an " uncertainty about their own worth gives rise to...a self-protective, but often totally spurious, aura of grandiosity" – producing the cl
In narcissists, by contrast, an " uncertainty about their own worth gives rise to...a self-protective, but often totally spurious, aura of grandiosity" – producing the class "of narcissists, or people with very high, but insecure, self-esteem... fluctuating with each new episode of social praise or rejection.":479 Narcissism can thus be seen as a symptom of fundamentally low self-esteem, that is, lack of love towards oneself, but often accompanied by "an immense increase in self-esteem" based on "the defense mechanism of denial by overcompensation." "Idealized love of self...rejected the part of him" that he denigrates – "this destructive little child" within. Instead, the narcissist emphasizes their virtues in the presence of others, just to try to convince themself that they are a valuable person and to try to stop feeling ashamed for their faults; such "people with unrealistically inflated self-views, which may be especially unstable and highly vulnerable to negative information,...tend to have poor social skills.":126