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Self-esteem can be defined as how we value our self, how we rate ourselves, generally what we think about our self. People with high self-esteem generally think well of themselves, in contrast those who have a low self-esteem tend to think lowly of themselves.
We build up an esteem (or not as the case may be) by communications from others (be it approval or disapproval, acceptance or dismissal etc.) also from our self-image. A lot of what we think about ourselves is built up on the feedback we get from those we communicate with. A situation where some-ones self-esteem could be damaged or decreased would be when atmospheres seem to change when that person arrives for example.
Person A sees a group of ‘friends’. Sees them laughing and generally enjoying each others company. Person A then decides to join them, when they arrive there is a drastic change in the atmosphere. What was a lively atmosphere turns to a very quiet and almost hostile one. The group may begin to display very negative non-verbal communication such as: frowns, lack of eye contact, moving away from person A, there language becomes very deep and a lack of interest is detected. There is a general feeling of disapproval of person As presence.
Person A will feel and realise that they are not welcome to the group and may decide to leave. Due to the negative feedback and disapproval of person As presence, person A may now end up having a lower self-esteem due to that one experience. Person A would not have seen their worth in the group and would have felt like an outcast.
Self-image is a personal view of what we are (be it actual, mirror or ideal). This personal view can contribute to our level of self-esteem. Well will esteem ourselves highly on things we are happy about our selves, such as being: kind, peaceful, and intelligent etc. However when it comes to things that we know we don’t excel in like keeping calm in a chaotic situation our self-esteem decreases as we don’t feel we are able to handle the situation. Our self-image and our self-esteem have direct correlation and work hand in hand.
Our level of self-esteem can influence the way that we portray ourselves to others. If we feel good about our self and are happy with our self-image our confidence levels are high and we are able to do more things without feeling ashamed to do it. However if we feel that we are not able to do achieve a certain goal we may portray this through our communication with others be it verbally or non-verbally.
Take person B, they may think them self to be poor at speaking in public and would rather not take lead or be in charge of things leading to a low self-esteem is put in that kind of situation. The way person B does things, or the way in which they panic and are anxious will display this low self-esteem.
Seeing that ones level of self-esteem is dependent on ones self-image, both will play a large role in how we portray ourselves to other. If we see our self as shy, our self-esteem when put in front of a large crowd will be very low thus ending in an inability to speak with boldness.
We can only evaluate some-ones level of self-esteem when it comes to communicating with them, as it’s only by communication that we are able to see and recognise peoples personality traits.
Someone with low self-esteem will portray it (often subconsciously) in slack body pasture, closed body gestures, lack of eye contact with people. In general they are introvert and dislike taking risks when it comes to socialising. They talk about themselves in very negative terms and often envy other for their abilities. Their ways of speaking can also show their lack of self esteem in that sentences are full of hesitations and are often repetitive of words like you know and um.
Having a low self-image will evidently enable one to construct a low self-esteem about ones self. Such thought processes and images are often made manifest and evident through communication.