The Good Life: What is Self-Esteem?

Girl Looking in the MirrorPerhaps you’ve heard the term self-esteem. It gets thrown around here. Can you define it? Before opening The Good Life – Life Coaching, I worked with high school students through the Center for Human Services. Schools care a lot about students’ self-esteem. When I asked clients what self-esteem is many couldn’t quite put it in to words.

A simple definition for self-esteem is “how you feel about yourself.” Strictly speaking, this stays in the realm of feelings and can change day-to-day, morning-by-morning. Research finds self-esteem is roughly equal in boys and girls and then plummets for girls at the onset of adolescence. Women generally have lower self-esteem than men.

As a feeling, why does it matter? Feelings can act as indicator lights, letting us know when there is a problem. If my child is generally confident, but then suddenly shows a change in how he talks about himself, indicating low self-esteem, that is a warning to me to sit down and try to understand what’s going on his life and how its affecting him.

If you’re struggling with low self-esteem, I’d invite you to do two things.

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To see other articles by Kathryn Casey (domesticphilosophy/owner of The Good Life – Life Coaching) from the weekly column, “Here’s to the Good Life!” published in the Hughson Chronicle, republished online at

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