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.
New 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.
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