Anxiety and Self-Esteem

Anxiety and Self-Esteem

A Story by Kenneth Richardson

Self-esteem plays a great role in developing a mentally healthy personality which reflects all life aspects. It reflects a person’s assessment of his/her own worth


Self-esteem plays a great role in developing a mentally healthy personality which reflects all life aspects. It reflects a person’s assessment of his/her own worth. Self-worth includes beliefs (I am capable or not capable to do something) and emotions, like pride or shame. People with lower self-esteem suffer from non-adequate asserting when it comes to building a career, private relations or social life. Lower self-respect comes along with poor ability to express feelings; the transference of blame to others, instead of accepting it; seeking for approval and acceptance, which makes such people dependent on others. As a rule, they have the negative perception of the most situations. On the contrary, people with high self-esteem display confidence and optimism, they manage to make adequate appraisal of different situations, make decisions and face the consequences. It is very important to develop self-worth; however, to succeed with that, one should know the reasons of lower self-esteem. The process of self-evaluation starts in early childhood and goes through all life periods. Gaining the anxiety during the life makes people less confident and becomes the reason of many life failures as written in many abstracts

Therefore, this paper will discuss the self-esteem-anxiety correlation as well as ways to improve it and prevent possible negative consequences.

Anxiety and Ego-Defense Mechanisms

Anxiety is a sense of fear without clear justification. To some extent, anxiety is a normal response to daily situations. Furthermore, sometimes it triggers the need for changes and helps people to seek for the right direction in their life. Nevertheless, the permanent anxiety without obvious justification is usually considered being a sign of an emotional disorder. According to Freud, anxiety is the response to inner conflict between id, ego and superego. When the ego is unable to cope with anxiety by rational and direct methods, it uses the indirect ones, which are known as ego-defense behavior. Ego defenses prevent the ego from being suppressed. These mechanisms operate on an unconscious level and deny or misrepresent the reality.

For example, repression, as a self-defense mechanism, erases the memories of painful events. Denial distorts the individual’s thoughts and feelings in a traumatic situation. The reaction formation is the substitute of negative responses with positive ones. Projection is supposed to detect negative impulses (aggression, for instance) only on other people. Displacement is the way to direct the energy on easy targets when there is no possibility to attack the original stimulus. Rationalization may be seen as attempts to find the logical explanation of self failures. Sublimation is the diversion of sexual or aggressive energy into socially acceptable channels. The example of regression can be the application of immature or inappropriate behaviors, copied from an earlier phase of development, in the face of extreme challenge. Interjection is absorbing the values and standards of other individuals. It can have either positive or negative consequences. The positive aspect is when the child distinguishes the high moral standards of one’s parents as one’s own. The negative impact is imbibing the hostile behavior patterns of a strong enemy. Identification is the way to elevate self-worth of individual by identifying with successful situation, people and organization, and projecting their success as a personal merit. Compensation is the mechanism of developing certain positive characteristics to make up for limitations.

Steps to Improve One’s Self-Esteem

Building strong self-esteem is an essential target for alleviating the anxiety as physiological disorder. It is the right way to positive changes. It will help to develop adequate self-evaluation, reach the balance between external influence and internal responses.

There are some important steps to be taken for improving self-respect. Firstly, we must accept ourselves as we are now, with all our strong and weak sides. Secondly, we must specify the goals, detect the significance of each goal, make the priorities and work on their accomplishing. Daily actions, which bring us closer to our aim, make a healing impact on lower self-esteem. They develop self-confidence. Thirdly, it is necessary to distinguish and develop our talents. To figure out our best skills, specific gifts and talents are one of the crucial moments in building the self-worth. After it is done, one should develop them and identify them as a part of the personality. It will help to become successful at work as well as in private life. Fourthly, discovering our particular qualities will give a sense of being unique, which we all are. The comprehension of the things, which make the world more beautiful, and developing those things will help to feel physically attractive, which is one of the self-esteem components.

Building Self-Esteem Lessens the Signs of Anxiety Disorder

Giving an example how the described measures can alleviate the anxiety disorder, one can observe negative influence of anxiety on the personal relationship. Anxiety impacts all parts of life, but the biggest problem it may cause in close relations. It often becomes the reason of suspiciousness. For example, one worries about the partner being not caring enough or unfaithful. People with a great level of anxiety often worry that they demand too much in relations. They constantly need their partners to council their unjustified fears, and as a result, such individuals become dependent in relations. Persons who suffer with anxiety disorder may become extremely impulsive; the impulsive behavior can lead to the thoughtless decisions and abnormal responses to casual situations.

To avoid these problems, the individual must, first of all, consider the problems and find the proper ways to solve them. Discovering what makes the person beautiful will be helpful, as well as positioning his/her best traits and characteristics. Setting long-term goals, which are subdivided into some short-term goals, and achieving them will raise self-worth. Also, it is necessary to change the perception of interior and exterior world. The man must change one’s perception from negative to positive, learn to see and emphasize those good things in life, as well as in own personal characteristics.

Self-esteem makes an essential input into the whole life process. It is a healthy self-development, which performs the survival function. Thus, it is quite impossible to maintain a successful existence as part of society with a poor sense of self-worth. Lower self-evaluation is caused by anxiety disorders and makes people unable to enjoy life to its extent. Anxiety makes it difficult to cooperate with other people whether it is work, private relations or getting specific place in society. Certain steps �" such as developing self-love and self-acceptance, becoming goal-oriented, detecting and evolving particular skills, talents and gifts, building the ability to appreciate personal uniqueness �" are extremely important in improving self-esteem and help to achieve harmony between internal and external worlds.

© 2020 Kenneth Richardson

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Added on May 25, 2020
Last Updated on May 25, 2020
Tags: anxiety, self-esteem, abstract


Kenneth Richardson
Kenneth Richardson

New York, NY

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