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The 4 types of self-esteem: do you value yourself?

The 4 types of self-esteem: do you value yourself?

July 27, 2022

There are different types of self-esteem depending on whether it is high or low and stable or unstable. Self-esteem is one of the most relevant factors for personal well-being and a key to relate to the environment that surrounds us in a positive way.

Since the different types of self-esteem have their peculiarities, in today's article we are going to review their characteristics.

Self-esteem and its relationship with well-being

Although the concept of self-esteem has been one of the most confused, questioned and analyzed Throughout the history of psychology, most experts indicate that it is an element that is found innate in each individual and that is exposed to multiple modifications throughout our lives.


Self-esteem evolves and develops due to the relationship with the world, and constantly changing since it is linked to the change of society. Different social and cultural contexts will correspond with different perceptions about what we consider to be healthy self-esteem.

The 4 types of self-esteem

As we have said, self-esteem needs to be nurtured, in varying degrees, from the outside. Although the bases are built during childhood, self-esteem is not unalterable in other stages of life.

It is important to emphasize that self-esteem is not the same as self-confidence. Self-confidence (also called self-efficacy) is related to the specific goals and objectives that we propose, while self-esteem refers to the global assessment what we do about ourselves


Since self-efficacy refers to the confidence in the ability of oneself for a specific task goal, someone may think that he is very good at practicing tennis, however he may have low self-esteem: he would like to be taller or have a better physique, on the contrary, he trusts in his ability to beat your rivals in a tennis court. Self-efficacy could positively affect the self-esteem of the individual if he considers it a priority in his life.

To know more about self-confidence, you can visit our article "Albert Bandura's self-efficacy: do you believe in yourself?".

Factors that explain good (or bad) self-esteem

It seems that there are 4 relevant factors that affect self-esteem, are the following:

  • The history of triumphs and the position achieved through the recognition that triumphs provide.
  • The areas associated with the different triumphs, always and when they are significant for the person.
  • The respect, acceptance and interest that the individual receives from the people he considers important in his life.
  • The control and defense against consequences and negative implications . That is, the internal or external attribution that the person makes of the negative events.

In his book Self-esteem and identity Narcissism and Social values, Luis Hornstein proposes 4 types of self-esteem. According to the author, the types of self-esteem vary because the assessment of oneself can be more or less high and more or less stable.


Below are the 4 types of self-esteem:

1. High and stable self-esteem

External circumstances and life events have little influence on self-esteem. People with this type of self-esteem they unfold in an open manner since they do not need to defend their image, they defend themselves. In addition, the person is able to defend their point of view without being destabilized.

2. High and unstable self-esteem

People with this type of self-esteem have a high self-esteem but are unable to keep it constant. Competitive contexts can have a destabilizing effect. Respond with critical attitude to failure , since these are perceived as threats. The individual will show conviction in defending his point of view, but will not accept other points of view and will tend to monopolize the word in a discussion.

The instability of self-esteem leads to placing self-esteem as a central concern and requires preserving it at any price and appealing to an aggressive attitude (to promote it) or a passive one (to protect it).

3. Low and stable self-esteem

In cases where there is a low and stable self-esteem, external events (whether favorable or not) do not alter the self-esteem of the subject, who does not strive to promote their personal image and is underestimated.

Individuals with this type of self-esteem They are undecided and have a great fear of being wrong . These people do not defend their points of view since the valuation of themselves is always negative, they believe that they are not up to par.

This type of self-esteem is very common in people with depressive tendencies , that because of their pessimistic mentality they do not usually perceive their personal achievements as such, assuming that they are the result of luck or chance.

4. Low and unstable self-esteem

People with this type of self-esteem are usually be sensitive and influenced by external events . As soon as they face a successful event, their self-esteem rises, but as soon as the euphoria of the moment ends, their level of self-esteem drops again.

That is, that this type of self-esteem is defined by its lack of solidity and the instability that it presents , which makes it highly sensitive to all types of events, however irrelevant they may seem from a rational point of view.

Certain classes of narcissistic people, for example, are characterized among other things by having a low self-esteem and very dependent on the opinion they perceive from others.

To know more about this kind of self-esteem, I recommend you read this article: "Low self-esteem? When you become your worst enemy"

Bonus: Inflated self-esteem

Other authors also speak of a type of self-esteem that is detrimental to well-being, inflated self-esteem . But what is inflated self-esteem?

The person with the inflated self-esteem is unable to listen to others , much less to accept or recognize an error. The perception of themselves is so inflated that they think they are better than the rest. When things get complicated, do not recognize the mistakes and then blame others. This type of attitude generates negative behaviors since they are not capable of self-criticism and correcting mistakes . In general, these individuals disparage others and adopt hostile behavior toward them.

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