This Is What People with Good Self-Esteem Look Like

People with good self-esteem know how important it is for their dignity and their health. That's why they exercise this psychological muscle every day and do it with awareness, value, respect, and resilience.
This Is What People with Good Self-Esteem Look Like
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 29 August, 2023

People with good self-esteem tend to share some behavioral traits that allow them to live healthier lives. They aren’t made differently than anyone else, they’re just men and women who decide at some point, intentionally or not, to strengthen their values and take a nourishing approach towards their own well-being.

Many people will probably think it’s an exaggeration to say that self-esteem is the key to survival. But it isn’t.

Carl Rogers described self-esteem as the nucleus of personality. Psychotherapists and recognized experts in the field, such as Nathaniel Branden, consider it a human necessity that contributes to your development at every stage of your life.

Positive self-esteem gives you back control over your life. If your self-esteem is damaged, it affects your mood, confidence, and identity. You end up at the mercy of life’s challenges with no way to face them.

You probably know what happens when you neglect this psychological “muscle”. The good news is that it’s never too late to train and strengthen your self-esteem. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what stage you’re in; it’s always a good time to focus on developing that internal muscle that motivates you and keeps you moving forward.

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

-Michel de Montaigne-

A guy with his eyes closed.

What are people with good self-esteem like?

Just a few months ago, the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University conducted an interesting study about self-esteem. The director of the study, Dr. Brent Dollentan, discovered that people with good self-esteem tend to have a notably good quality of life when they reach old age. They tend to have happier relationships, be in better health, and find more enjoyment in their jobs and their free time.

Researchers also found that, on average, people over 60 tend to have higher self-esteem than younger people.

Experts in the field want to call attention to the fact that our teens and young adults are struggling with their self-esteem, which can have serious repercussions for their well-being. Let’s look at some of the things that people with self-esteem seem to have in common.

People with good self-esteem have a humble attitude

This is an important fact because a lot of people have a biased idea about what it means to have a healthy self-esteem. It isn’t really about developing high, intense self-esteem. That can lead you down a completely different (and undesirable) path. People with very high self-esteem often engage in narcissistic behavior.

Healthy self-esteem is knowing how to be humble. It’s making use of a healthy, flexible attitude that knows how to behave simply and in a straightforward way. People with good self-esteem appreciate simple things and pay attention to what really matters.

They feel competent

Albert Bandura, a renowned social psychologist, defined a term that we could apply in our day-to-day life: self-sufficiency. Feeling like you’re competent in the things you do and feeling able to learn from your mistakes to overcome challenges is an exercise in wisdom and personal growth.

Self-sufficiency supports and strengthens self-esteem. It motivates you to try things, shake off criticism, and ignore the naysayers and your negative self-talk.

A woman thinking about her work.

They aren’t afraid

People with good self-esteem have let go of the fear that limits their desires and actions. We know that fear is an important emotion that guarantees human survival, but in excess. It becomes a hindrance to a full life. You start to give undue importance to useless and baseless fears. Having good self-esteem means, among other things, using the following approach in your personal life:

  • Don’t be afraid to tell the truth when you need to, even if you’ll disappoint others.
  • Try to rationalize the fears that are holding you back from being yourself. Wear what you want to wear, be authentic, do the hobbies that you enjoy, and build a life for yourself that reflects who you really are. All of these things will help you leave your fears behind.

People with good self-esteem take responsibility for what they say and what they do

Another thing that’ll help you along the path to self-actualization is to be consistent in what you say and do. Take responsibility for your actions and their potential consequences.

People with good self-esteem also tend to have a heightened sense of responsibility. They understand that they’re the sole proprietors of their destiny and their reality. Every mistake they make is on them. Their triumphs and achievements are the results of their efforts.

The past is gone, the future isn’t here yet. The present is all we have

To train your self-esteem muscle, you have to focus on the here and now. Daniel Goleman, in his book Focus, encourages people to practice mindfulness. If you do, you’ll be able to identify what’s truly important in every moment. This is key to developing this psychological value. If you don’t, you’ll become mired in yesterday’s pain and failures or paralyzed by anxiety about the future.

A woman walking in a country field with good self-esteem.

In conclusion, if you want to be strong, you have to be an active part of the present moment. You have to move through life knowing where you’re going and what you want. People with good self-esteem aren’t followers. They don’t allow others to dictate their path or convince them of anything that doesn’t align with their values. Instead, they fearlessly think and decide for themselves. People with good self-esteem know that to, be happy, sometimes you have to make decisions that other people don’t like.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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