There are different types of self-esteem depending on whether it is high or low and stable or unstable. Self-esteem is one of the most relevant factors for personal well-being and a key to relating to the environment around us in a positive way.
Since different types of self-esteem have their peculiarities, in today’s article we will review their characteristics.
Self-esteem and its relation to well-being
Although the concept of self-esteem has been one of the most confusing, questioned and analyzed Throughout the history of psychology, most experts indicate that it is an element that is found naturally in every individual and is subject to multiple changes throughout our lives.
Self-esteem evolves and grows because of the relationship with the world, and it is constantly changing because it is linked to the change of society. Different social and cultural contexts will correspond to different perceptions of what we consider to be healthy self-esteem.
The 4 types of self-esteem
As we have seen, self-esteem must be nourished, to varying degrees, from the outside. Although the foundations are built during childhood, self-esteem is not unaffected in other stages of life.
It is important to note that self-esteem is not the same as self-confidence. Self-confidence (also known as self-efficacy) relates to the specific goals and objectives that we set for ourselves, while self-esteem refers to the global evaluation that we do of ourselves.
Since self-efficacy refers to the confidence in one’s abilities self-esteem for a specific task goal, one might think that he is very good at playing tennis, but he may have low self-esteem: he would always like to be taller or have a better physique, on the contrary, he does confident ability to beat rivals on a tennis court. Self-efficacy could have a positive effect on an individual’s self-esteem if they consider it a priority in their life.
- To learn more about self-confidence, you can read our article “Albert Bandura’s Self-Efficacy: Do You Believe in Yourself?”.
Factors that explain good (or bad) self-esteem
There seem to be 4 relevant factors that affect self-esteem, they are as follows:
the history of triumphs and the position gained through recognition of triumphs.
The domains associated with the different triumphs, always when they are significant for the person.
the respect, acceptance and interest that the individual receives people whom he considers important in his life.
the control and defense against negative consequences and implications. That is, the internal or external attribution that the person makes of negative events.
In his book Self-esteem and identity. Narcissism and social values, Luis Hornstein offers 4 types of self-esteem. According to the author, self-esteem rates vary because self-esteem can be higher or lower and more or less stable.
Then we present to you the four types of self-esteem that exist, And its characteristics.
1. A high and stable self-esteem
External circumstances and life events have little influence on self-esteem. People with that kind of self-esteem they openly develop since they don’t need to defend their image, they defend themselves. In addition, the person is able to defend his point of view without destabilizing.
2. High and unstable self-esteem
People with this type of self-esteem have high self-esteem but are unable to maintain it constant. Competitive contexts can have a destabilizing effect. They react with a critical attitude in the face of failureAs these are seen as threats. The individual will show conviction in defending his point of view, but will not accept other points of view and will tend to monopolize the word in a discussion.
The instability of self-esteem leads to positioning self-esteem as a central concern and requires preserving oneself at all costs and appealing to an aggressive (to promote) or passive (to protect) attitude.
3. Low and stable self-esteem
In cases where the self-esteem is low and stable, external events (favorable or not) do not modify the self-esteem of the subject, who does not strive to promote his personal image and is undervalued.
People with this type of self-esteem they are undecided and have a great fear of making mistakes.. These people don’t stand up for their opinions because their self-esteem is always negative, they believe they are falling short.
This kind of self-esteem is very common in people with a tendency to depression, Who due to their pessimistic mentality generally do not perceive their personal successes as such, assuming they are the result of luck or chance.
4. Low and unstable self-esteem
People with this type of self-esteem be sensitive and influenced by external events. When they face a successful event, their self-esteem increases, but as long as the euphoria ends for the moment, their self-esteem level drops again.
In other words, that kind of self-esteem it is defined by its lack of solidity and the instability it presents, Which makes him very sensitive to all kinds of events, no matter how irrelevant they may seem from a rational point of view.
Some classes of narcissistic people, for example, are characterized among other things by low self-esteem and a strong reliance on their opinion of others.
- To learn more about this kind of self-esteem, I recommend you read this article: “Low Self-Esteem? When Do You Become Your Worst Enemy?”
Bonus: inflated self-esteem
Other authors also speak of a type of self-esteem detrimental to well-being, the inflated self-esteem. But what is inflated self-esteem?
The person with exaggerated self-esteem he is unable to listen to others, Much less accept or recognize an error. Their self-perception is so inflated that they think they are better than others. When the going gets tough, don’t admit mistakes and immediately blame others. This type of attitude generates negative behavior because they are not able to self-criticize and correct mistakes. Usually, these individuals look down on others and behave in hostility towards them.
Branden, N. (2001). The Psychology of Self-Esteem: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Understanding that Started a New Era in Modern Psychology. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Coopersmith, S. (1967). The Self-Esteem Context, New York, WH Freeman.
Hill, SE and Buss, DM (2006). “The Evolution of Self-Esteem”. In Michael Kernis, (Ed.), Self-Esteem: Questions and Answers: A Book of Current Perspectives.
Mruk, C. (2006). Self-Esteem Research, Theory and Practice: Towards a Positive Psychology of Self-Esteem (3rd ed.). New York: Springer.
Twenge, Jean M. (2007). Generation Me: Why today’s young Americans are more confident, more confident, more titled, and more miserable than ever. Free press.