Self-esteem. Psoriasis can affect the level of self-esteem and create socially discomfort as often creates embarrassment due to the appearance of the skin and creates uncomfortable conditions at the psychological and emotional level. What is actually self-esteem and what strategies can be put in place to improve it?
Psoriasis can affect the level of self-esteem and create socially discomfort as often creates embarrassment due to the appearance of the skin and creates uncomfortable conditions at the psychological and emotional level.
Self-esteem is the set of evaluative judgments that the individual gives of himself. It can be built day after day by cognitive strategies.
Let us see, what is actually self-esteem and what strategies can be put in place to improve it?
Defining self-esteem is not simple, because it is a concept that has a wide history of theoretical concepts. A concise and agreed definition in the literature could be the following:
Set of evaluative judgments that the individual gives of himself (Battistelli, 1994).
There are three fundamental elements that always recur in all definitions of self-esteem (Bascelli, 2008):
1. The presence in the individual of a system allowing him to observe himself and to know himself.
2. The evaluative aspect that allows the individual to judge himself.
3. The emotional aspect that allows evaluating and considering in a positive or negative way the descriptive elements.
In fact, the person self-esteem does not stem solely from individual internal factors, but have a certain influence also the so-called comparisons that the individual does, consciously or not, with the environment in which he lives. To constitute the process of formation of the self-esteem, there are two components: the real self and the ideal self.
The real self is nothing more than an objective view of our abilities; said in simpler terms corresponds to what we really are.
The ideal self corresponds to how the individual would like to be. Self-esteem is the result of our experiences compared with the ideal expectations. The greater is the discrepancy between what you are and what you would like to be, the lower is your self-esteem.
Finding the ideal self can be a motivation for growing, because it leads to formulate the goals to achieve, but it can generate frustration and other negative emotions if you feel far from the reality. To reduce this difference the individual can reassess his aspirations, and thus approach the ideal self to his reality, or he could try to improve the real self (Berti, Bombi, 2005).
Having a high self-esteem is the result of a limited difference between the real self and the ideal self. It means being able to realistically acknowledge our qualities and defects, the efforts to improve our weaknesses, appreciating our strengths. All this emphasizes a greater openness to the environment, a greater autonomy and a greater confidence in our abilities.
People with a high self-esteem show more perseverance in succeeding in an activity that fascinates them or achieving a goal and they are less certain in an area in which they have invested little. These are people more given to relativize a failure and to engage themselves in new projects that help them to forget.
On the contrary, a low self-esteem can lead to a reduced participation and a lack of enthusiasm that result in lack of motivation situations where predominate disengagement and disinterest. Only the weaknesses are recognized, while the strengths are neglected. Often we tend to also escape from the most mundane situations for fear of rejection by others. We are more vulnerable and less autonomous. People with a low self-esteem are much easier to give up when it comes to achieve a goal, especially if they encounter some difficulties or hear an opinion contrary to what they think.
These people are struggling to abandon the feelings of disappointment and bitterness related to endure a failure. In addition, face to criticism; they are very sensitive to the intensity and duration of the discomfort caused by psoriasis.
But what makes an individual to self-evaluate positively or negatively? In fact, it is self-valued taking into account three fundamental aspects:
1. The judgments given by others, either directly or indirectly. This is known as 'social mirror': it means through the opinions we give to others we define ourselves.
2. Social comparison: the person value himself by comparing himself with those around him and from this comparison emerge an evaluation.
3. The process of self-observation: the person may also be evaluated by the process of self-observation and recognizing the differences between himself and others. Kelly (1955), the father of Personal Concepts Psychology, for example, consider each person a 'scientist' who observes, interprets (i.e.: meanings attributed to their own experiences) and predicts each act or event, building, among other things, a self theory to facilitate the maintenance of self-esteem.
Low self-esteem: strategies to increase it
According to Toro (2010), to increase the positive perception of us there are different strategies, such as:
• The increase of problem solving skills, as often the self-esteem is a function of our ability to solve problems.
• The implementation of the internal positive dialogue (self - talk); the self-esteem, in fact, can be increased through a positive dialogue with ourselves, using our own inner voice. In other words, if we first send positive messages to our mind, it is very likely that the self-perceptions can improve.
• Restructuring the attribution style which aims to make us achieve a greater objectivity thanks to which we could for example interpret the events or situations that do not depend on us as simply unfavorable.
• The improvement of self-control;
• The modification of cognitive standards; by having too high expectations, in fact, we run the risk of not being able to manage those expectations, and thus to influence the self-perception.
• The improvement of communication skills.
Self-esteem and body image
According to the psychotherapist Luca Saita, it would be three mechanisms that negatively interfere with the creation of the body image, namely:
• Direct or indirect attack
In the first case the person suffers an attack, direct or not, to the body ('Today you really look awful!'); in the second case someone, unconsciously, to get rid of his physical characteristics deemed as unacceptable, gives it to someone else (e.g., the mother who tells her daughter 'Do not wear that dress, it makes you look fat'); in the latter case labels are assigned to the person ('big nose', 'bow-legged').
Read more: http://www.stateofmind.it/tag/autostima/
When a person is constantly subjected to negative influences of this kind it is not surprising to learn to see himself sole and only through the distorted lens of contempt. Do not underestimate the effects of such an attitude: the body image, the way we see ourselves and present ourselves to others has very much to do with self-esteem; in other words, seeing ourselves ugly, the inadequate perceiving has consequences that affect not only the body but also the mind, and the way of being in the world.
For this reason, it’s important to help the person who does not accept himself and tends to exaggerate his faults, until, in some cases, he fails to lead a rewarding life, to become aware of the erroneous beliefs that are the basis of self-perception, in order to subject them to a critical examination, regaining a positive image.
To do this, the author suggests some strategies: answer back the labels and learn to defend ourselves from the attacks addressed to our self-image, even and especially when these attacks come from significant persons.
Finally, consider that the mind is 'like a lens: the vision of oneself and of our body is through this lens that can change, deform, expand or distort what is observed'.
So we must learn to know this lens and its filters, because it affects not only the way we see our body, but the way we see ourselves in general. At the same time, the way we see ourselves is the foundation of how we behave in our environment, in our life.
For this reason, we must neutralize the distorted views that do not allow us to love ourselves as we are; as the author writes, summing up:
For further information: http://www.stateofmind.it/tag/autostima/
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