The 4 pillars of self-esteem (and tips for improving it)

We can define self-esteem as a set of positive and/or negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs about oneself.

In addition, it involves other factors, such as the perception we have of our own abilities, our expectations, our intelligence… All of this can be affected by social factors (comments from others, cultural beliefs, roles we play ) or even by our own thoughts or beliefs about how we act.

The pillars of self-esteem

Self-esteem is defined in 4 main pillars:

  • Self-concept: what we think of ourselves. This will cause us to speak in a certain way and establish our level of self-demand.
  • Self-image: indicates whether we like ourselves or not. It is important that we feel good about ourselves, without it depending on external factors.
  • Autorefuerzo: refers to recognizing our achievements, acknowledging what we do well and being proud of it. We tend to punish ourselves for what we do wrong and it’s time to make room for all the good we do and reward ourselves for it.
  • Self-efficacy: refers to the confidence we have in ourselves, that is, our ability to achieve our goals.

For all that, self-esteem is not an invariable quality, but a dynamic oneit changes according to the different stages of life and, of course, we can work on improving it.

If it is dynamic, how is it formed?

Self-esteem develops from human interaction throughout our lives, starting in childhood. At this stage, it is very important to foster a good self-image, because it is essential to encourage the youngest to do and achieve everything they undertake, to reinforce them and to value their achievements, both the most older than younger, including approaches to themselves

If not and forget the positive, emphasize the negative more, there is a risk that these children will grow up with “labels” that can condition their future; for example: by telling our son when something falls on him that is very clumsy, he will become trapped in the fact that he is clumsy and in the belief that he is like that and there is nothing he can do about it.

We assess self-esteem with these four related concepts:

  • Self-respect: it’s about respecting us: treat us well, speak well, with affection and without being our greatest enemies.
  • Self-concept: previously defined term: the image and/or the idea that we have of ourselves.
  • Self-acceptance: accepting ourselves as we are, with our positive and negative parts.
  • Self-knowledge: knowing how we are, what qualities or faults accompany us.

How to assess self-esteem?

To assess self-esteem, we have different assessment tools, being the most used the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, which explores personal self-esteem, understanding it as a sense of worth and self-respect. In short, he tries to evaluate the feeling of satisfaction that the person has of himself.

This is a 10-item scale, of which five are positive and five are negative.

How to work on promoting self-esteem?

It is important to know that self-esteem is something you have to work on, you have to water it so that it grows. Also, it’s very common to confuse self-esteem, self-care, and prioritizing selfishness – and nothing could be further from the truth. How to work on this self-esteem? We can follow the following steps.

1. Knowing what we need and taking actions that allow us to achieve it

Sometimes it may be necessary to ask for helpa, which sometimes turns out to be complicated because of: “I can do everything”, “I must be able to do it alone”. Don’t get me wrong, we are human! Asking for help is a way to take care of yourself, to admit that you can’t do everything (without having to feel inferior because of it).

2. Set the goals we want

Goals that have to do with our values, with our concerns, that are realistic and they allow us to persist despite the unpleasant emotions that may arise (as long as they do not cause us discomfort beyond what is bearable) to achieve them.

For example: I want to overcome certain oppositions, but I don’t feel capable, I will stress a lot. Before that, the question is to learn to do it with this uncertainty or this fear. We must learn to tolerate unpleasant (not necessarily negative) emotions in order to move forward with what we want.

3. Self-knowledge

All of this will be done siempre y cuando hayamos trabajo en conconer cómo somoswhat resources do we have, what can we do… in short, know ourselves.

4. Take care of yourself

Take care of us, “water” us, pay attention to us and listen to us, listen to what we need to find our well-being.


We understand that all of this can be complicated to achieve, so do not hesitate to contact specialists such as the psychologists of Psycho Almeriawho are available in person and online to help you.

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