A person with high self-esteem is likely to demonstrate the following characteristics:
1. Knows what they value and believe. Is happy and willing to defend their viewpoints, even when others disagree with them. Are secure enough to modify and change their views or behaviour in light of new information and experience.
2. Makes decisions and acts based on their own assessments and judgments. Doesn’t feel guilty if others don’t like, or disagree with, their choices.
3. Doesn’t waste time worrying about things that went wrong in the past, nor about things that could go wrong in the future. They learn from mistakes, plan for the future, and live life fully in the present.
4. Have faith in themselves, their ability to solve problems, and to cope with life’s challenges. They are not undermined by past failures and challenges. They are able to ask for help when they need it.
5. Respect themselves and other people. They don’t see themselves as being better or worse than others. Instead, they recognise that people are simply different from each other.
6. Values and are interested in themselves and their life – and takes it for granted that others will like and value them, too (at least their close friends and family).
7. Resists being manipulated by others. Will only adapt and collaborate with others if it is appropriate and convenient. Isn’t easily threatened or undermined by others.
8. Has no problem admitting that they have their ups and downs, and things go badly or fall apart at times. They are also aware of, and sensitive to, the feelings and needs of others.
In summary: A person with high self-esteem is confident in who they are. They don’t need constant reassurances from others to maintain a positive view of themselves.
A person with low self-esteem is likely to demonstrate the following characteristics:
1. Experiences intense self-criticism. Is usually dissatisfied with themselves and their personality.
2. Is hypersensitive to criticism from others. Experiences feelings of intense resentment towards the person who is criticising them. Feels as if they are constantly being attacked and criticised by others.
3. Suffers from chronic indecision as they’re terrified of making a mistake.
4. Has an excessive desire to please and be acceptable to others; really does not want to upset or displease anyone who is important to them.
5. Demonstrates perfectionist tendencies. This leads to frustration as perfection is not an achievable goal.
6. Lives with constant feelings of neurotic guilt. Continually ruminates on, and over-exaggerates, past mistakes and failings.
7. Is constantly fighting feelings of free floating anxiety and hostility; also, feelings of irritability and defensiveness. These are not necessarily tied into any particular person or event.
8. Generally feels pessimistic about things. Expects to do badly, or for things to go wrong. Views temporary setbacks as being permanent, and terrible.
In summary: People with low self-esteem are often devastated any kind of negative feedback or criticism. They tend to take it very personally. This is partly because they are already highly critical of themselves, and depend on the approval of others in order to feel OK.