How Self Esteem Affects Communication

This essay sample essay on How Self Esteem Affects Communication offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.

Self esteem is the extent to which we value (like or dislike) ourselves and also whether we approve or disapprove of the attributes that we believe we possess. Our self esteem is one of the main elements of our inner being, and therefore directly affects our communication with others, and how we process their feedback towards us (see appendix 1).

It is a major factor of the individual person we are.

If a person approves (or likes) of themselves and their attributes, then they will have high self esteem, and therefore if a person disapproves (or dislikes) of themselves and their attributes that they believe they possess, then they in return will have low self esteem.

We are not born with self esteem; it is constructed through our upbringing and past experiences.

Self esteem is a variable. It can rise and fall depending on circumstances, although in general people tend to have either high or low self esteem, it is difficult to change. We are not human if we do not, at some point in our lives suffer from low self esteem. However, there are some people who constantly suffer from it. It appears to be the case that these people are considered to have low self esteem by others (see Rosenberg, 1965).

Why Is Communication Critical To Developing Self Concept

Body language is a major factor of communication, and self esteem has a direct and distinctive effect on this.

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Self esteem affects a person’s communication style and their presentation of themselves. People with high self esteem tend to:

  •  Talk firmly, with a lack of hesitation
  •  Use a wide and flexible vocabulary (for them)
  •  Use phrases which acknowledge others (e.g.-I see your point)
  •  Use phrases which admit responsibility (e.g.-I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that)
  •  Have open and assured nonverbal communication
  •  Be able to give positive strokes to others without condescending them (this means that they do something nonverbally to make someone feel better, e.g.-smiling, a pat on the back)
  •  Have concern for others
  •  Demonstrate empathy for others (they put themselves in other people’s positions)
  •  Not be self regarding (self centred)
  •  Be able to accept failure and criticism because their view of themselves is firm

Those with low self esteem, on the other hand:

  •  Are defensive about themselves
  •  Have slack body posture
  •  Make protective gestures (e.g.-crossing arms, legs)
  •  Have lack of animation in expression
  •  Do not appear confident
  •  Are reluctant to take risks in social encounters (approaching people, etc)
  •  Talk about themselves with persistent deprecation (they put themselves down a lot)
  •  Speak about others with envy
  •  Have speech patterns which are hesitant, or full of phrasal habits of their peer group from whom they desire approval (e.g.-verbal ticks, such as “like” and “ya know”)
  •  Have a pessimistic view of their social skills and of activities in which they are involved

Through communication with others, we are taught what is desirable and attractive. We then turn that on ourselves and decide whether we are desirable and attractive. Therefore, it is possible for you to value things that most of society doesn’t.

On the whole, what we esteem is in agreement with what others esteem within our culture. Each culture has their own identity so there are distinctive differences between people’s values from one culture to another.

In terms of self esteem, perception is of major importance. It determines not only how you see yourself, but how you view others, too. Seeing and perceiving something are two completely different things. To perceive something is when the person mentally processes the information received by their eyes, ears and other senses. The way in which a person processes information depends on: their past experiences, the way in which they have been brought up, their culture, the situation, and various other factors. Each person’s perception is incredibly individual, on each different occasion.

Theorists’ Ideas on Self Esteem and Interpersonal Communication

Dimbleby and Burton constructed the well recognized Intrapersonal Model (see appendix 1) that depicts the way in which different aspects of our personality affect our intrapersonal communication (communication within the self).

Langer and Dweck’s Self Fulfilling Prophecy (see appendix 2) is sometimes referred to as Langer and Dweck’s Circle of Success Or Failure. This is because it shows the consequences of approval or disapproval of one’s self in relation to the attitude they will have of that matter in the future. Simply, it illustrates how if you think you’ll do well, you will, and that will increase your confidence for the future in terms of that subject. Unfortunately, the cycle also works vice versa.

Coopersmith (1967) found a correlation in the self esteem in teenage boys, and the degree of affection and approval that was shown to them by their parents when they were young. Boys whose parents were authoritarian, who were offered less approval and were shown less recognition were lower in self esteem. Of course, he did only carry out the experiment amongst teenage boys.

Patton and Giffon (1981) stated that, in large measures the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of self esteem. In other words, when we look for ways of making ourselves happy, we are also looking for ways in which to increase our self esteem.

Rosenberg (1965) found that there was a close correlation between a person’s estimate of themselves and the estimate of others of that person. In other words, a person’s self esteem is roughly shown through their actions-other people can estimate whether that person’s self esteem is high or low.

Self Esteem Depends On:

Self Image. Self Image is the way we see ourselves and also the way in which we categorize ourselves. A person’s attributes depend on their perception. For example, they may see themselves as being clever, but if they do not value this then it will not raise their self esteem.

The Approval of Others. Other people express their approval or disapproval (or ‘feedback’) nonverbally. If they showed signs of disapproval towards you and you picked up on this, then your self esteem would only be lowered if it was already low. If your self esteem was generally high, then it would only be lowered temporarily. This response to other people’s response to you begins very early on in your life, as a consequence of how your parents communicated to you. You will feel as you do in terms of self esteem due to the approval or disapproval displayed to you offered to you when you were very young (see Coopersmith, 1967).

Most people prefer to think well of themselves than not. Therefore we seek the approval of others. With the aim of this we adjust ourselves (consciously or subconsciously) in order to fit in with a certain crowd of people and the values which they appear to have. If you then receive positive feedback for this, it will strengthen your self esteem in two ways:

  1. because you have won approval
  2. because your judgement of what is acceptable has been proven correct

If you have high self esteem, then you can be nicer to other people because you don’t need to improve your self esteem. It’s as if you’re so full of high self esteem for yourself that you can share some with other people and improve theirs. It is a positive cycle. Also, because your self esteem is high, you tend to receive more compliments from others, providing you with even more self esteem. Nobody wants to feel bad about themselves.

Depression is a very negative cycle. Jealousy stems from low self esteem. This will be revealed in people’s verbal and nonverbal communication. You seem to have low self esteem (see Rosenberg, 1965). Some people even put others down to raise their own self esteem-it is a very negative way of doing it. Different people have individual strategies and methods of dealing with low self esteem. In terms of verbal and nonverbal communication, you can spot someone’s self esteem. For example, the loudest persons are most probably attempting to disguise their low self esteem.

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How Self Esteem Affects Communication. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

How Self Esteem Affects Communication
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