A Different Perspective on Self-Regard

The meaning of self-regard, or self-concept, is somewhat blurred. So much so, that its meaning seems to be distorted. In today's article, we'll shed some light on it.
A Different Perspective on Self-Regard

Last update: 14 June, 2021

When it comes to self-regard, people usually advise to “take better care of yourself” and “love yourself more”. The common denominator of these sayings (and many others) is precisely self-esteem.

Be it in a formal, informal, clinical, or social context, self-esteem is a recurrent word due to what it means and implies. It’s what psychology refers to as a theoretical construct: a term rooted in the functioning of many psychological processes.

In this case, self-regard affects a whole series of psychological variables that determine your mood, thoughts, and behavior.

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”

-Michel de Montaigne-

A woman looking in the mirror.

A concept that’s become empty

In the age of the “viral” (headlines, rather than news content), immediacy, and lack of reflection, the definition of self-esteem or self-regard is due to the overuse of the term. Thus, it rather lost its resolution. The fact is that most people understand self-esteem or self-regard as how much you love yourself.

However, the implications are what make self-regard somewhat overwhelming and complex. That is the modulating role it plays in other psychological processes.

Reaching this point is what will allow you to work with people with difficulties related to it. Thus, “love yourself a lot” is quite present in its different voices. Unfortunately, its effectiveness as evocative of real change is questionable to say the least.

“Love yourself a lot” doesn’t improve your self-regard

It can actually damage it, in fact. How so? Well, in simple terms, a person who feels bad about themselves and constantly hears that they need to love themselves more may only feel worse because they now believe they can’t do anything right. Furthermore, they now think they should really love themselves more but they’re incompetent because they just can’t do it.

These types of messages aren’t only related to self-esteem. Others frequently encourage you to “cheer up” when you’re going through a depressive episode. Often, there’s a willingness to help under these circumstances. That’s the intention to lend a hand without knowing exactly how. In these cases, it’s always more advisable to show support and listen. To be available instead of trying to fill uncomfortable silences.

A person looking out the window.

How to understand and work on self-regard

There won’t be generic tips here, but rather a brief orientation to delve deeper into this concept. Self-esteem affects a complex network of variables that interact with each other, such as those related to your life history, learning, personal relationships. Also, with your personality traits.

Thus, the intervention on self-regard must be for a person under specific circumstances. In other words, a plan that worked in the past won’t necessarily work every time.

There are many exercises to work on damaged self-esteem. For example, stand naked daily in front of a mirror for five minutes. This simple exercise will help you accept your body. Of course, not everyone with low self-regard has a problem with their physique. This is why it’s best to analyze the situation before taking any action. In fact, maybe even seek professional help at this stage. This is because it’s when it helps the most.

You can opt for two paths when it comes to working on your self-regard (as with more psychological concepts). Take the easy path, read empty motivational phrases, listen to useless advice that mainly fills silences, and search for remedies over the Internet. Either that or take the less traveled road. Get to know yourself better and answer questions about your behavior, thoughts, or emotions, and use them to grow. Indeed, the second path might be long and difficult, so seek professional advice if you have to.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.