Self-esteem, or one’s general perception of self, is a vital part of one’s character. It is the prime determinant of success or failure in one’s life and is essential in the overall makeup of an individual.

This is the driving force behind any endeavor and gives one a sense of purpose. It also is the root of one’s existence, and is a major factor in the quality of someone’s being.

When self-esteem is high, individuals generally feel good about themselves. There is a general feeling that nothing can stop them, or at least hold them back for a long period of time.

There is a feeling that anything can be accomplished once their minds are put to it. A general feeling of gleefulness and happiness permeates all their surroundings and a general love and appreciation of human life permeates their way of thinking.

Even when there is a bump on the road, those with high self-esteem feel they can survive and overcome.

When self-doubt is high, however, the individual generally feels ill and bad about him or herself. There is a general feeling of depression and long suffering – that nothing can go right for them. A general feeling of a vain and desolate existence permeates their way of thinking, along with a general feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. In the most extreme cases, suicidal and homicidal tendencies come into the forefront. If left unabated, this could lead to drastic action with serious and dire consequences.

With all this in mind, one has to come to respect self-esteem as very important in the development and the character of the individual.

The question then becomes, “How can one’s self-esteem be affected, altered, uplifted or even changed?”

One of the ways this can happen is through the surrounding environment of the individual. If a loving habitat encircles the individual – a habitat filled with caring people – then that individual’s self-esteem tends to, or most likely will be, high.

On the other hand, if a negative environment constantly surrounds the individual filled with hostile, hateful people, then that person’s self-esteem is likely to be low, unless that person has positive reinforcements in their life to maintain and sustain a healthy self-esteem.

Most times, it is that which will keep the individual from “losing it.” According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, love and belonging are at the top of the pyramid.

Therefore, a little love and sense of belongingness can go a very long way in building and maintaining self-esteem. An environment conducive to such positivity would make those feelings much more pronounced.

Undoubtedly, self-esteem is very vital in the overall makeup of an individual. It is the very essence of the person. Without a healthy sense of one, the individual cannot live a productive, normal life.

With it, the individual can survive, thrive and strive to be the best possible. They can withstand defeat, and overcome any obstacles, trials and tribulations set before them.

On that note, it is up to the individual to ensure a healthy proper sense of self-esteem without feeling conceit, but at the same time avoiding the obstacles and pitfalls that will negatively affect it, thus improving the quality of their lives.

Jackson can be reached at jjackson@campustimes.org.



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