What’s Your Self-Esteem?

People value self-esteem more than a great sex life or high salary. Yet most women feel that they haven’t measured up at some point. There’s debate over how to define self-esteem. In general, it’s your assessment of your personal worth. This is one part of your self-concept, the sum of your thoughts and feelings toward yourself.Since Dr. Morris Rosenberg developed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale in 1965, it has been the most widely-used scale to measure your positive and negative attitudes about yourself. We use this scale for our Self-Esteem Quiz.Tons of factors influence how we feel about ourselves. Being outgoing is one predictor of having good self-esteem. If you’re shy, having a positive mindset when you’re in social situations can attract more people toward you (a self-esteem booster catch-22)! Research shows that the self-fulfilling prophecy works: Believing others like you makes it true.THIS STUDY, EXPLAINED: Think People Like You, and They WillNew research finds that the DNA sequence on the oxytocin receptor gene is linked to different levels of self-esteem. Oxytocin is often called the “cuddle hormone,” and swoops in during stressful times to help us in social situations.But your genetics don’t permanently set how you feel about yourself. Even the researchers from the oxytocin receptor gene study suggest that you can still learn coping skills to enhance your self-esteem.And there are many environmental factors that affect self-esteem, from your relationships to messages about your body.The images we see everyday sneakily influence our thoughts about our body. Just being exposed to images of models with “idealized bodies” in commercials can lower body dissatisfaction. Even taking cultural differences into account, roughly half of women feel some dissatisfaction with their bodies. A recent study found a significant association between self-esteem and how fit and attractive we believe our bodies are.Self-esteem isn’t just how you feel your looks measure up. Research shows that self-esteem is tied most strongly to people’s perceived competence in areas that they consider to be important. Social pressures aside, we craft our standards of success, and try to live up to them.QUIZ: Take the Self-Esteem Quiz now. High Self-EsteemIf you don’t have very high self-esteem when you take our quiz, no need to fret! The truth is, very high self-esteem can be linked to undesirable characteristics, like narcissism, according to research and Happiness Expert Matthew Della Porta. (Yes, too much of a good thing!)Researchers have identified two forms of high self-esteem: secure and fragile. With secure self-esteem, not much shakes you from feeling good about yourself.Constantly defending how “right” you are may signal fragile self-esteem. In one University of Georgia study, people with fragile high self-esteem became verbally defensive when their opinions were being challenged. Another study found that those with high self-esteem stuck by their decisions, even if it led to failure.If you see someone getting their self-worth from a job, title or even a fancy purse, it’s a red flag that their confidence might not be what it seems.Lately the trend in psychology research is revealing the shortcomings of self-esteem, and some researchers are more focused on the importance of self-compassion to our wellbeing.MORE: Enhance Your Self-CompassionIn general, good self-esteem makes you and your relationships more beautiful. People with higher self-esteem perceive receiving more support from their partner. Having more confidence in yourself makes people view you as more attractive.Take the Self-Esteem Quiz now to see where you fall based on Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale.

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