An excerpt from "What is Self-Esteem? A Psychologist Explains" by Courtney E. Ackerman
It can be hard to really wrap your mind around self-esteem and why it is so important. To help you out, we’ve gathered a list of some of the most significant and relevant findings about self-esteem and low self-esteem in particular.
Although some of these facts may make sense to you, you will likely find that at least one or two surprise you—specifically those pertaining to the depth and breadth of low self-esteem in people (and particularly young people and girls).
These facts on low self-esteem are alarming and disheartening, but thankfully they don’t represent the whole story. The whole story shows that there are many people with a healthy sense of self-esteem, and they enjoy some great benefits and advantages. For instance, people with healthy self-esteem:
Given the facts on the sad state of self-esteem in society and the positive outcomes associated with high self-esteem, it seems clear that looking into how self-esteem can be built is a worthwhile endeavor.
Luckily, there are many researchers who have tackled this topic. Numerous studies have shown us that it is possible to build self-esteem, especially in children and young people.
How? There are many ways!
Recent research found a correlation between self-esteem and optimism with university students from Brazil (Bastianello, Pacico & Hutz & 2014). One of the most interesting results came from a cross-cultural research on life satisfaction and self-esteem, which was conducted in 31 countries.
They found differences in self-esteem between collective and individualistic cultures with self-esteem being lower in collectivist cultures. Expressing personal emotions, attitudes, and cognitive thoughts are highly associated with self-esteem, collectivist cultures seem to have a drop in self-esteem because of a lack of those characteristics (Diener & Diener 1995).
China, a collectivist culture, found that self-esteem was a significant predictor of life satisfaction (Chen, Cheung, Bond & Leung, 2006). They found that similar to other collectivist cultures, self-esteem also had an effect on resilience with teenagers. Teenagers with low self-esteem had a higher sense of hopelessness and had low resilience (Karatas, 2011).
In more individualistic cultures, teenagers who were taught to depend on their beliefs, behaviors, and felt open to expressing their opinion had more resilience and higher self-esteem (Dumont & Provost, 1999).
School-based programs that pair students with mentors and focus on relationships, building, self-esteem enhancements, goal setting, and academic assistance have been proven to enhance students’ self-esteem, improve relationships with others, reduce depression and bullying behaviors (King, Vidourek, Davis, & McClellan, 2009).
Similarly, elementary school programs that focus on improving self-esteem through short, classroom-based sessions also have a positive impact on students’ self-esteem, as well as reducing problem behaviors and strengthening connections between peers (Park & Park, 2014).
However, the potential to boost your self-esteem and reap the benefits is not limited to students! Adults can get in on this endeavour as well, although the onus will be on them to make the changes necessary.
Self-esteem researcher and expert Dr. John M. Grohol outlined six practical tips on how to increase your sense of self-esteem, which include: