Self-esteem and Behavior

Self-esteem and behavior

When we first introduced the concept of self-esteem, we noted that it can have a wide reaching impact on many parts of our lives. From educational outcomes to relationships, job performance to how we act around others, holding negative self-esteem can have a dramatic effect on our lives. This is also relevant when it comes to our behavior; our sense of self-worth can have an influence on how we act in life, work, and relationships.


Self-esteem falls on a spectrum, and neither extreme results in a healthy sense of self. If we have incredibly poor self-esteem, that can impact our mental health and make us feel extra lousy about ourselves. If we have inflated self-esteem, verging on grandiose or narcissistic, that can be off putting to others and get us into situations we may not be capable of handling. It’s helpful to fall somewhere in the middle; a healthy, realistic sense of self that is confident, content, and happy.

A 2002 study conductive among school counselors found that the most common descriptors of those with low self-esteem were:

  1. Withdrawn/shy/quiet

  2. Insecure

  3. Underachieving

  4. Negative (attitude)

  5. Unhappy

  6. Socially inept

  7. Angry/hostile

  8. Unmotivated

  9. Depressed

  10. Dependent/follower