What Are the Different Levels of Self-Esteem?

Angela Farrer

The different levels of self-esteem are classified as low-, middle-, and high self-esteem. This method of measuring self-esteem assigns specific characteristics to each level on this self-esteem scale. These personality traits are typically used as benchmarks for determining if a person could benefit from therapies designed to improve his feelings of diminished self worth. Much of the focus of this measurement scale is on low self-esteem and its many associated drawbacks, although many mental health professionals also use this scale to examine traits of someone whose high self-esteem level may have become excessive. The middle level on the self-esteem scale is comprised of mixed personality characteristics, some of which can be more positive than others.

Chronically low self-esteem can be tied to other health problems, such as depression.
Chronically low self-esteem can be tied to other health problems, such as depression.

Low levels of self-esteem carry distinctive behaviors and views that can be pervasive and detrimental to someone's overall quality of life. A sufferer of low self-esteem tends to believe he has little value as a person, and these feelings can often lead to social difficulties. Some of the more obvious traits of low self-esteem can include frequent self-blame even when not actually at fault, problems expressing emotions constructively, and expectations of the worst possible outcomes for most situations. Chronically low self-esteem can also be tied to other health problems, such as disordered eating, depression, and generalized anxiety.

A healthy level of self-esteem can help create a positive outlook on life.
A healthy level of self-esteem can help create a positive outlook on life.

Inconsistency is often a defining trait of someone who falls within the middle level of self esteem. He may feel competent in one type of situation and worthless in another. Middle levels of self-esteem can sometimes lead to increases in unpredictable behavior during times of heightened stress, as someone with middle self-esteem is often more likely to allow strong emotions to override his better judgment. A person at this level may think things through carefully before acting in one instance and then may make an unwise, impulsive decision in the next instance.

Accomplishments at work can increase a person's self-esteem.
Accomplishments at work can increase a person's self-esteem.

High levels of self-esteem are frequently seen as ideal goals for anyone seeking to improve his self-image. A person with high self-esteem tends to learn from past failures without dwelling on them, to connect well with others, and to confidently believe in his own opinions. A healthy level of self-esteem can help significantly in creating a positive outlook on life, although measured self-esteem can sometimes become too high in certain individuals. This excess level can lead to other types of negative traits such as unrealistic senses of entitlement.

Doing well in school or work can often increase a person's self-esteem.
Doing well in school or work can often increase a person's self-esteem.
People with low self-esteem often seek out abusive relationships.
People with low self-esteem often seek out abusive relationships.
Someone with high self-esteem often is more comfortable in their relationships.
Someone with high self-esteem often is more comfortable in their relationships.
People who regularly work out typically have higher self-esteem.
People who regularly work out typically have higher self-esteem.
A healthy self-esteem can contribute to creating a positive outlook on life.
A healthy self-esteem can contribute to creating a positive outlook on life.
Feelings of abandonment often impact a person's self-esteem.
Feelings of abandonment often impact a person's self-esteem.
People with poor self-esteem are less likely to take care of themselves.
People with poor self-esteem are less likely to take care of themselves.
People with low self-esteem are more at risk to become substance abusers.
People with low self-esteem are more at risk to become substance abusers.

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Discussion Comments

ddljohn

@ZipLine-- I know it is not easy to build self esteem but it's not very difficult either. You must realize that you feel this way because of your low self esteem. It makes you give up before you even get started.

ysmina

@ZipLine-- High self esteem can be as problematic as low self esteem, the article already mentioned this. Both of these are conditions where an individual's view of themselves is not realistic. Those with low self esteem have an unrealistically poor view of themselves, whereas those with high self esteem have an unrealistically great view of themselves. Both are dangerous and can lead to other psychological complications and pose many disadvantages for social life.

I know someone who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. This disorder stems from a self esteem issue. Although those with this disorder appear to have high self esteem, they actually have poor self esteem.

So self esteem issues can be very confusing. The self esteem scale is helpful because it can be difficult to determine this just by looking at someone from the outside.

ZipLine

I suffer from low self esteem and related to that, anxiety. My therapist had me answer a questionnaire and the result was that my self esteem is low. I'm not surprised, I already knew this. I think the difficult part is not determining whether someone has low self esteem or not. The difficult part is improving self esteem. Even though there are many methods out there that claim to raise self esteem, I think it's more difficult than it seems.

My therapist told me to buy a book on self esteem and do all of the exercises in it. I'm following his directions, but I don't think this is enough. If I could improve my self esteem on my own, I would have done it by now.

I admire people who have high self esteem. They don't realize how lucky they are. It's so difficult to live with low self esteem.

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