Essay by stactUniversity, Master'sA+, September 2006

download word file, 8 pages 4.2

Downloaded 144 times

Building self-esteem

Individuals with high self-esteem functionally integrate positive and negative partner information in memory, whereas those low in self-esteem segregate such information. The goal is to discover the scientifically viable constructs or categories that will characterize what is variant and invariant in the working of the human mind.

I hypothesize individuals who store valenced information about their past relationships will be unwilling to take risks in social encounters are unlikely to have confidence, security and lasting inter-personal relationships. Therefore: managing the components of self-esteem through interpretation, meaning, and discourse, will help develop coping strategies to establish their idendities within an interpersonal relationship.

In this paper, I will introduce the idea that self-esteem is a basic, invariant (common to all human minds), building block of intrapersonal communication that derives from the human mind's capacity to engage in the process of valuation (or judging whether something is helpful or harmful).

I will then review the communication process of extensional meaning, and provide some insight and understanding, surrounding phenomenology, on variant (how human minds reliably differ from one another, & how a mind functions differently in different situations) property of the self-esteem responses, in that people originate from one another in the degree to which they focus on valence.

Finally, I discuss the possibility that past relationships of stored memories, are less likley to take risks in an interpersonal relationship, however, managing and establishing coping strategies one can develop their identities to establish better relationships.

Individuals rarely live in isolation. Indeed a significant part of individuals' lives involves the relationships that they develop with other people (Interpersonal communication). Thus, people and their behaviors are undoubtedly a significant part of situations. Although one person's behavior is likely to influence the behavior of another person (Intrapersonal communication), regardless of the nature of the relationship between the two individuals. As an individual develops a close relationship with another, the frequency of interactions and exposure to the partner's behaviors increases, creating many more opportunities for one's behavior to influence the other person. In addition, as two individuals grow closer, they become more invested in the relationship, and the psychological significance of the interactions and partner's behaviors is also likely to increase.

Thus, it seems reasonable to assume that as close relationships develop, particularly those that involve romantic partners, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of one partner come to matter more, and a large and integral part of one partner's environment is the behavior of the other partner.

Self concept is the cognitive thinking aspect of self also related to one's self-image, it's the way we see our selves in the mirror. Self concept is the way we were told to see ourselves. We are grown into our self concept by what we learn when we our young from our parents or our peers. Self concept is changed through out life from how people look at you and tell you what you are to them, if they say a person is nothing then that person will believe it for as long as it takes to get over it. Self esteem is the affective or emotional aspect of self and generally refers to how we feel about or how we value ourselves, also known as one's worth (Eshkol, 2002, pp. 35-36).

As people's outcomes in life depend heavily on how others perceive and evaluate them. They are motivated to convey certain impressions of themselves to others and to refrain from conveying other, undesired impressions. Thus, no matter what else they may be doing, people typically monitor and control their impressions, i.e. a process known as: self-presentation. A great deal of human behaviour is, in part, determined or constrained by people's concerns with others' impressions and evaluations of them. Because all human beings are different from one another, the thought process used which

results in the self-presentation of a person will also differ from person to person. In this case the potential factor effecting the self-presentation of an individual is that of the self-esteem of the individual. Self-esteem being: "An affective component of the self,consisting of a persons' positive and negative self-evaluations." (Brehm, 1999).

Although most people have high self-esteem, there are various ways in which self-esteem can be measured; for example when someone is referring to a persons condition at a specific moment in time it is referred to as a "state". If the condition is something which is an average over a period of time it is known as a "trait". Someone who has low self-esteem as a trait is considered to be worse off than a person who is in a state of low self-esteem.

We reconstruct our memories from fragments of experience, using our broader understanding to guide us, just as dinosaurs are reconstructed from scattered bone fragments, in keeping with the broad knowledge of those doing the reconstruction (Schacter, 1996, p. 40). The events we remember were originally registered, in accordance with our motivations at the time, and are further revised, in the present, in accordance with what we now feel, want, and believe. We are bound to ignore, suppress, distort or even entirely fabricate fundamental aspects of the transpiring stream of events (ibid., p.102) if our current desires and beliefs compel us to do so.

"Positive illusion" and individual self-deception constitute distortions in viewpoint that are frequently subtle enough to pass unnoticed, despite their potential for generating pathology. Self-deceptive individuals and those who surround them can therefore continue to "whistle in the dark," as long as the feedback that they receive from the environment is not powerful enough to force them to become genuinely conscious of and re-examine their implicit frames of reference. Even catastrophic failure of action or belief may remain unprocessed. However, such failure has its emotional costs and consequences (as necessary desire remains unfulfilled; as protection from the complex world disappears), despite stubborn refusal or absolute inability to investigate the causes of pragmatic insufficiency. It is perfectly possible to suffer from failure, after all, without coming to any real understanding (indeed, any real representation) of the world-events that produced such failure

Imagine the self-hierarchy or self-narrative or self-description of a habitual self-deceiver - imagine his or her theory of the world. Every level of representation has been rendered increasingly inaccurate and insufficient by environmental or experiential change or alteration, followed by wilfull failure to update conception in the face of error. Every goal-directed action, predicated on a no-longer valid conceptual hierarchy, is therefore increasingly likely to produce anomaly, and to result in frustration, disappointment and anxiety, as the "world" increasingly refuses to conform to no longer valid expectations or desires.

Such problems of motivated reasoning become even more complex when the issue is not so much what physically happened in the past, as the meaning of what happened, this is known as "Dyadic meaning". We can make tentative steps, after all, towards an objective accounting for certain events and processes. We can calculate to the second when a solar eclipse occurred a century ago, and we can specify to the meter where it could be observed. What we cannot describe with equal certainty is the psychological impact of the eclipse. We all know from personal experience the immense difficulty of acceptably reconstructing an interpersonal event, such as a currently unresolved argument between two people.

What if expectations are violated? What if the rules of the game are broken? Well, it depends on the magnitude of the rule. Violated expectations, or emergence of anomaly, at the level of action, are likely to threaten only the most timid of cultural participants, while providing the majority with an optimal dose of novelty. Most people enjoy minor transformations of low level behaviors or concepts, as long as those alterations are potentially productive or aesthetically pleasing. But disruptions higher up the abstraction hierarchy become increasingly threatening, increasingly traumatic. It may be somewhat pleasing if you discover that your spouse is assembling the new furniture incorrectly, despite his or her general mechanical competence. It is anything but pleasing if you find out that he or she is having an affair. In the latter case, more large-scale theoretical frame conceptualizations, invisible, stabilizing axioms vanish. More of the previously ignored complex world re-emerges. A sense of betrayal and personal incompetence rises, in precise proportion to the perceived magnitude of the error ("magnitude": area of territory, space and time, past, present and future, now rendered both unpredictable and non-productive in consequence of the error). Such violation of fundamental presupposition constitutes trauma. Trauma is sudden negative emotion and confusion, at axiomatic levels of belief. Trauma is indicative of major error in conceptualization. Trauma is simultaneously unforgettable, because of its emotional intensity, and incomprehensible, because of its complexity.

Individual memories of traumatic events are particularly relevant to the current discussion. Cultures differ most dramatically with regards to their interpretation of past traumas. And it is of great interest to note that the terrible and incomprehensible things that an individual does are even more likely to produce psychopathologies of trauma than the terrible things that befall an individual. In the former case (an individual doing an incomprehensible act) the traumatized individual has encountered a situation that exceeds his understanding. He has done something that supersedes his own model of himself. He has revealed himself to himself, for example, as a force for great evil. Because this revelation shakes his understanding of the world to the core, he does not precisely remember. To remember is to tell a coherent story, detailing causality in behavior, and no such story can be easily told about the great individual capacity for evil. To remember is to tell a story imbued with meaning. Where there is no specified meaning, the story suffers, in consequence. The same problem of coherence obtains for the victim. The child who is a target of vicious sexual assault, to take an extreme case, might not precisely remember (although he may also be unable to forget).

Traumatic memories are highly emotion-laden and fragmentary. They consist of great fear, and flashes of sensory images.

in the case of true trauma? Anything about the event that was not understood (which means almost all of it): the causal sequences leading to the violent assault, for example, the nature of any behavioral patterns characteristic of the abused child that were temporally proximal to the event or increased its probability (however inadvertently and innocently) and, most importantly, how the child's conceptualizations and actions might be altered in the aftermath of the assault, so that its future probability will decrease. This and only this can be considered a sufficiently "accurate" representation.

Educators, parents, business and government leaders agree that we need to develop individuals with healthy or high self-esteem characterized by tolerance and respect for others. Individuals who accept responsibility for their actions, have integrity, take pride in their accomplishments, who are self-motivated, willing to take risks, capable of handling criticsm, loving and lovable, seek the challenge and stimulation of worthwhile and demanding goals, and take command and control of their lives. We need to help foster the development of people who have healthy or authentic self-esteem because they trust their own being to be life affirming, constructive, responsible and trustworthy.

people effortlessly and automatically identify instances of poor self-image, lack of interest, and so on, in themselves and others, there is no physiological patterns to distinguish these concepts from one another, suggesting that these categories exist within the perceiver, rather than in nature. If the goal is to understand how to correct those behaviors and establish their own identity we need to interpete those behaviors into meaning.

another person, it may be an error to answer "because he was angry." A more correct answer to the question of what causes emotional behavior would target the basic affective and conceptual processes that produced the behavior. Valence is not only an invariant feature in self-esteem responds. There is also significant variation in the importance of valence, or valence focus. that variations cannot be warmly attributed to either the person or the situation, or even their interaction, in the strong sense.