“What exactly is SELF-ESTEEM? Many people have only a general concept of what self-esteem actually means. I totally get it. The word is often used in swiping broad terms; it can be hard to pin down the definition as it applies to our life.  Self-esteem is often used as blanket statement when someone says, “I have, he has, she has, low self-esteem.”  With a broad brush, self-esteem can be loosely defined as the way we feel about ourselves.  Self- esteem, however, is actually multifaceted in that there are many aspects of the self.  So a good question to ask is, “Exactly which self are we taking about when we speak of self-esteem?”

The internal self, the external self, the professional self, the significant other self, the performance self… there are too many to name.  The fact is we can have great esteem for ourselves in one area of our lives and have poor self-esteem in others.  For example, a person may have great confidence in their professional lives and suffer greatly in their personal relationships, or a great sense of worth in their interpersonal relationships and suffer deeply in their romantic lives, feel confident in their physical appearance and feel inept in their intellectual world, the list could go on and on.  When working with a client who suffers in any area of self-worth, I assist them in examining all the aspects of their worth as they have defined themselves. In this way we are able to work on the areas that legitimately need addressing and to help them reach their internal and external goals.  We also work on discarding negative self-concepts based on childhood experiences, society’s ever-fluctuating ideas of self-worth, or wherever we picked up the negative. Though we are ever changing, it is important to take a stand, to give ourselves our value, establish our own worth, set our own standards based on who we are.  These are not standards defined by others, family, friends and especially the dominant cultural standards which are ever fluctuating and which blow like trees in the wind and which most of us fail to measure up to in the first place. So if you are measuring yourself against a yardstick that is perpetually moving, you are bound to feel like you come up on the short end of the stick!  Self-esteem can be tricky business.