Having a healthy self-esteem level is important. It makes you believe in yourself and your goals, no matter how difficult they might seem. Good self-esteem increases your self-value and makes you put more value on your opinions, goals, and ideas.
Simply put, healthy self-esteem increases your chances of living a successful and happy life because it can be really difficult to enjoy your life with low self-esteem.
But is it possible to have overly high self-esteem? Of course, it is! With this self-esteem checkup, you can check if your self-esteem level is too high, too low, or just right.
In this article, we will answer some common questions about self-esteem:
- What is self-esteem?
- Why is high self-esteem important?
- What are the negative effects of high self-esteem?
What is self-esteem?
The word “self-esteem” is so overused that it can be quite difficult to get a grasp on its core meaning. According to the American Psychological Association, it’s the degree to which the qualities and characteristics contained in one’s self-concept are perceived to be positive.”
Generally, this means that your self-esteem reflects your positive or negative opinions of yourself. It shows how you feel about yourself, how you think other people perceive you, and how valuable and worthy you think you are.
You may not know it, but your self-esteem is a summary of all the little things that define you as a person. Therefore, it depends on your background, goals, environment, aspirations, talents, relationships, experiences, etc. It also includes your body image, which is your perception of your physical body.
Your self-esteem affects all areas of your life: it determines how you communicate with other people, and how you react to success or failures. Perhaps, the most important thing about self-esteem is that it determines how happy or sad you might feel.
What is high self-esteem?
Having high self-esteem means that you have a generally positive outlook on yourself. High self-esteem means that you believe in yourself and value your personal opinions and goals, no matter what challenges you have to deal with. For instance, high self-esteem involves accepting your imperfections.
High self-esteem makes you more resilient to stress because it makes you feel confident in your talents and skills. It also makes you more self-compassionate, which means that you’re more likely to deal with failures and difficulties in a healthy manner.
When people have high self-esteem, they:
- Don’t let the opinions of others get to them;
- Believe in their talents and skills;
- Accept the fact that mistakes and failures are part of life;
- Maintain a positive attitude toward challenges;
- Take responsibility for their decisions;
- Make conscious self-improvement efforts.
Benefits of having high self-esteem
So, having high self-esteem is much better than having low self-esteem. However, some of the benefits of healthy self-esteem might be less obvious than others. Let’s take a look at some of the key advantages.
It makes you more authentic
Imagine if you had to pretend to be someone else whenever you were talking to your friends or colleagues. That would feel pretty bad, right? High self-esteem makes such situations unlikely to ever happen because it makes you feel good about who you are so you feel comfortable in your own skin. There’s no need to pretend when you’re satisfied with who you are.
It helps you get what you want
High self-esteem gives you confidence so you know what you want, and you’re ready to do what it takes to get it. You can ask for things that you want, without feeling ashamed of it. Therefore, you can improve communication in relationships and with friends, and you can set clear boundaries.
It gives you the drive to succeed
When you believe in yourself and your abilities, you are more likely to succeed at whatever you do. Individuals with high self-esteem have an increased drive to succeed at what they do. While this might feel like arrogance sometimes, the truth is that self-confidence makes people understand their capabilities, limitations, and what they need to do to overcome these limitations.
It creates a sense of purpose
When an individual has high self-esteem, it becomes easier to know and understand what they want to do with their lives. This understanding helps them come up with actionable plans geared at helping them achieve their greatest dreams.
It helps accept challenges
Assessing how people react to challenges is probably the most effective way to identify someone with high self-esteem.
When someone challenges the values or opinions of an individual who is extra confident, such a person is likely to acknowledge this challenge and defend their beliefs rather than just feel ashamed. If they eventually find out that they were wrong, they won’t mind changing their stance on the subject.
Similarly, confident individuals don’t run away from challenges. Instead, they face them head-on, only armed with the belief that they can overcome these challenges.
Interestingly, accepting challenges helps foster the belief that challenges are a normal part of life. And overcoming challenges? It builds your resilience capacity and helps you become more creative, especially when you’re out of your comfort zone.
It makes you more optimistic
Being optimistic is one of the best ways to go through the rough patches of life, and according to studies, there is in fact a direct relationship between self-esteem and optimism.
The disadvantages of high self-esteem
Even though we’ve established the main high self-esteem benefits, it becomes important to explore another question: is there such a thing as inadequately high self-esteem? As we mentioned earlier, it is quite possible to have self-esteem so high that it becomes a problem.
What are the dangers of overly high self-esteem?
It can slow down self-improvement
It is normal for individuals with high self-esteem to see themselves as perfect beings, and this may make them feel like there’s no need for improvement. It can also stop them from recognizing their shortcomings, leading to the use of defensiveness to hide their flaws. Naturally, this leads to a lack of growth and self-improvement.
It leads to arrogance
Being arrogant means having overblown confidence in one’s activities and skills. Most often, arrogance is accompanied by boastfulness and narcissism. But there’s something even more interesting about this: more often than not, an arrogant person’s perception of themselves is actually wrong, and it usually hinges on their attempt to hide their insecurities.
It can create relationship problems
It’s no surprise that people don’t generally find it enjoyable to hang out with a person with unhealthily high self-esteem. This is usually due to the fact that overly high self-esteem can lead to self-obsession, boasting, and a certain degree of smugness.
It makes it difficult to accept criticism
When your self-esteem level is insanely high, it becomes harder for you to accept criticism. Because of the elevated self-confidence, it becomes harder to believe that there might be any need for improvement somewhere. So, any suggestion or criticism can be outrightly rejected and categorized as false. In fact, some overly confident people may just say that others are just jealous of their skills or how great they are.
It leads to the impostor syndrome
While it might seem like impostor syndrome primarily affects individuals with poor self-esteem, research data shows that people with unstable high self-esteem are also likely to feel like a fraud, while also suffering from self-doubt and even depression.
A closing note
At this point, we’re pretty sure you can agree that you now see your self-esteem in a different light. The most important factor is to find a healthy balance: low self-esteem is not healthy, and neither is overly high self-esteem.
If you are having trouble boosting your self-esteem, try to remember the age-old words from our parents: love yourself and accept yourself the way you are because you are perfect that way. And don’t be afraid to guard your peace by setting boundaries.
Of course, loving and accepting yourself can be difficult, and if your self-esteem is too high, managing it can also become a challenge. Therefore, don’t hesitate to speak to a therapist online. A licensed professional can help you figure out the reasons behind your inner struggles and suggest effective coping practices.
In addition, a great way to keep your high self-esteem in check is to always mentally assess yourself.
How are you reacting to things today?
Are there some lines that you shouldn’t cross but you already did?
Do you speak to people a certain way when things don’t go the way you want?
These questions are important because they can help you see when you might be tilting toward overly high self-esteem. It is also vital that you accept constructive criticism, as it remains one of the most effective ways to improve yourself.
Author: David Michael Adewusi
Michael David Adewusi is a content writer who is passionate about men’s stories and their struggles with mental health. He enjoys making music, listening to friends talk, and writing stories that will tear down the boundaries of race, discrimination, and gender stereotypes.