Mechanisms of formation of self-esteem


"is It OK if my mood and understanding of actions, awareness of their own success is determined by the praise or blame of others? Sometimes I think I depend on these others and myself can not understand the value of what I do." – Here's a direct question recently asked one of my clients. His concern is understandable. It's a strange and unpleasant feeling – as if there is no inner core, the "thermometer" of self-worth. Every rules there are boundaries. Man is a social creature, but the score is not the only function of our environment. If others are such "tools" confirmation of self-worth, the queries on such feedback become obsessive, and unstable self-esteem. On the other hand, the ability to consider the opinions of others, even to anticipate it – an important quality of a healthy personality is "criticality". Thus, there has been extreme versions of "non-norms" of self-evaluation: excessive dependence on the opinions of others and lack of criticality.

in a healthy person, even if he sometimes does not seem so at first glance, there are two natural "thermometer" of self-evaluation: one is responsible for comparing their achievements and failures with others, and the other is for comparing the past with the present and a (!!!) future. Mechanisms of action of these "thermometers" were described in different psychological theories.

the Most common problem is that one of the ways of establishing self-worth is blocked or restricted then the other, assumes an unnecessary feature. Most often it is the result of learning, when we forget how it works a complete system of self-evaluation. As a result, we fall into the illusion of insignificance, the futility of their actions, ineffective or, on the contrary, uncritical significance of achievements. And in severe cases, when such substitution has become too familiar, a person simply is incapable of adequate self-assessment of their thoughts, feelings and actions. It is usually possible to install the conflict of external and internal mechanisms (" I'm a nobody that is better than others").

described at the beginning of the case, it is the internal assessment system has malfunctioned. It is in the normative age crises (25, 30, 45, 50, 70 years). There is a need to reassess my life path and "external" criteria consistently to cope with this problem, and changing the internal assessment system themselves undergo deformation. After all, it is the task of the crisis – to change the system of self-assessment to integrate the experience! In such times, it may seem that the internal thermometer just yet...

But it is not! Come to the aid of methods of scaling achievement and other methods of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. Useful is awareness of their needs and goals, a detailed analysis of value orientations and methods of assessment that we use for other situations. Often the person has more cognitive errors, alternative methods of reasoning based on faith, not logical reasoning. It's easier. Therefore, the analysis of errors of thinking also plays an important role. Especially important:

"black-and-white thinking" - the tendency to lend only diametrically opposed values, not taking into account intermediate;

"the tyranny of shoulds," when a person is overly rigid (fixed) beliefs about what should be this world, he himself and the surrounding;

"negativism" - the tendency to notice only the bad in everything.

difficult to correct the characteristics of self-evaluation characteristic of people who suffering from depression, personality disorders, severe neuroses and anxiety disorders (especially social phobias and obsessions). In these cases, professional help necessary and you should not expect quick results. Therapy can take a year or more, and treatment is better not to postpone.

In any case, when the real causes of the violation of self-evaluation, to carry out its correction much easier!

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