Description of the Theory and Research
The development of Self-Esteem is a process that each individual deals with at a certain point in their life. This article by, Richard W. Robins, examines the development of self-esteem and its influence on important life outcomes. The evidence that is given in the article suggests that
- self-esteem increases from when you are a young adult and peaks when you are around age 50 to 60 years old,
- self-esteem is not a trait; people with low/high self-esteem at one point in life are more likely to have high/low self-esteem later in life,
- having high self-esteem has many positives in life because you are more likely to be successful in relationships, work and health.
This topic of self-esteem development is societal significance, which means that psychology is important and meaningful to individuals and to society as a whole.
You are more open and more successful in life morals with higher self-esteem, and it is proven. Self-esteem refers to an individual’s subjective evaluation of his or her worth as a person (see, e.g., Donnellan, Trzesniewski, & Robins, 2011; MacDonald & Leary, 2012). Self-esteem does not focus on a person’s abilities or how they are evaluated by other people but instead, just a feeling of feeling,”good enough”. Thus, self-esteem involves feelings of self-acceptance and self-respect, in contrast to the excessive self-regard and self-aggrandizement characterizing narcissistic individuals (Ackerman et al., 2011).
When do people typically show the lowest and highest self-esteem in their lives? Is self-esteem a trait, and does it follow with embarrassment or a fear of any sort? Does self-esteem influence important life outcomes? Self-esteem usually increases from when you are a child, to middle adulthood, and then decreases when you enter old age. Each individual is different, but from lifespan studies, the data shows that men have higher self-esteem levels than women. Overall, both men and women show that increases from adolescence to middle adulthood and decreases in old age. (Erol & Orth, 2011; Orth et al., 2012; Orth et al., 2010; Wagner, Gerstorf, et al., 2013).
Ethnic minorities are the ones that don’t have the same levels and patterns of self-esteem change as the usual majority group members. For example, the trajectory of African Americans increased more sharply during adolescence and young adulthood (Erol & Orth, 2011), but then declined more rapidly during old age (Orth et al., 2010). The data in recent research shows that people with some particular personality traits have higher chances to experience increases in their self-esteem as they go through life. Individuals who are emotionally stable and extraverted show more positive self-esteem development than those that are low on these specific traits.
In most studies,“cross-lagged designs” are used that show that, self-esteem is a predictor of life success and it is not a consequence; which most people confuse the two. The studies have many possible outcomes that include, having a successful marriage as well as, close relationships, social media, physical/mental health, education, employment, job success, and good criminal behavior.
People with particular personality traits have a higher chance at experiencing increases in their self-esteem as they go through life, especially people who are emotionally stable and extraverted, show more positive self-esteem development than those people who don’t show a lot of those particular personality traits. The results of the data are stronger when you use larger data samples. For example, having 1,000 participants or more that are within the community. Having low self-esteem is a larger risk factor for depression where individuals turn to drugs compared to people with high self-esteem.
In conclusion, studies have proved that the average lifespan trajectory hasn’t changed much during the 20th century. Second, a big portion of individuals have a difference in self-esteem and it has been stable throughout the years which also indicates that self-esteem is a personality trait. Third, the evidence from the studies show that self-esteem is a very important factor for an individual’s success in relationships, work, and health. Finally, the findings in the studies have important data, which point out that individuals have a certain amount of self-esteem in a certain point in their lives and can that can also contribute to helping find and design new ways at which they can positively increase the development of self-esteem in their lives and influence it as well.
Solving the Applied Challenge
A teenager going into adulthood suffers from low self-esteem. When you have lower self-esteem in your adolescence, you get higher self-esteem as you go into adulthood and studies have. One of my guy friends, suffers from low self-esteem and he is 21 years old. He feels like he doesn’t have much to be proud of and constantly feels so shy and puts himself down so much. He is not very successful in his love relationships, health, and education. He believes he will be like this forever and that he will never have a good amount of self-esteem. I am always reassuring him that he needs to put himself out there, and that he has nothing to be scared or embarrassed of. He says, “What do you know?”
Scientific studies have been made in “Development of Self-Esteem”, which prove that in this age, it is very common to have little to no self-esteem because of social media, and everything that is going on around him in his life. It has nothing to do with his ethnicity, but it has everything to do with him being introverted. He is always keeping to himself and studies show that people who are extroverts, and have confidence in themselves, are more successful in the life morals such as, education, physical and mental health, marriage, close relationships, job success, and health. Self-esteem is commonly conceptualized as the “feeling that one is ‘good enough,’” and people with higher self-esteem do not necessarily believe they are superior to others, also, self-esteem includes feelings of self-acceptance. He feels the urge to constantly compare himself to other men and puts himself down.
Individuals tend to have high and low self-esteem in different points in their life. This is the time where he has low self-esteem but as soon as he reaches more into his adulthood, he will start to realize that success comes from having high self-esteem and will work on helping himself having a better and more successful life. Having low self-esteem is a risk factor for depression which in comparison, individuals turn to drugs. He is not a drug abuser, but he is an alcohol abuser because he believes he has more confidence in himself, to talk to people and feels better. However, that is not the way to go and it is not a reliever but just a distraction.
In light of my friend feeling so horribly about himself, there are many studies with evidence that proves that there is ways to increase your self-esteem. I would tell him that he will not have low self-esteem for the rest of his life. Each individual is different and goes through this phase at different stages in their life, however they are the only ones who can really transition into a more positive outlook on life and themselves if they want to be successful in relationships, good health, job success, and education.
Feeling bad about yourself won’t help in any way, you are the one who can truly change your perspective and also, the way you see yourself isn’t always the way people see you. The most important thing is that if you are struggling with low self-esteem to know that it is not forever, and you can influence yourself positively, you just have to want it and to want to be successful in life and everything that comes with it.