On the opinion page of the Peace Weekly a research professor on women's issues reminds us of the differences between pride and self-esteem. [pride and self-esteem-- depending on how used, in the article, pride is considered as negative and self-esteem as positive.]
According to a psychologist that she quotes: pride is when you desire to show your superiority and self-esteem is to respect oneself. We have a real difference in meaning. Self-regard is to be aware and accepting of oneself.
One psychotherapist is quoted on self-esteem: when a person accomplishes what he wants and has a feeling of satisfaction to which is added joy this is a natural result of self-esteem. Secondly, a person with this attitude is not concerned about the evaluation of another and is comfortable in expressing one's own opinion. When faced with difficult situations she is able to endure it and changes to overcome problems efficiently. Thirdly, when doing something wrong he or she is quickly able to acknowledge the wrong, correct it and continue on a good relationship with others."
Those with a low self-esteem show behavior opposite to the above. One is not able to determine what must be done, and not able to efficiently perform what is required and consequently is followed by excuses. When it is accomplished he feels good and when not it is other people's fault or the situation. If one has power: he will use it with those he is working and strong hand them to hide his weakness.
In all areas of life we see this lack of self-esteem appear and see how it is hidden by unreasonable behavior. Often it is abetted by the educated and those who fear for their own position in society and without hesitation get rid of their consciences.
Self-esteem is not a Catholic way of looking at the situation which is here described but a secular approach to the subject. As people of faith, a feeling of self-worth is necessary but it comes from the love God has for us. He made us, loves us and wants us to live in him now and for all eternity.
To believe this is more than sufficient to see our worth and the worth of all others. In Catholic thought: God is love and embraces all of us with love, but we have the freedom to refuse love, which prevents us from growing in love and hurts ourselves. God's love makes us lovable.
In Pope Benedict's encyclical letter: 'God is Love' his first words tell us what to expect. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 Jn 4:16). The Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny...We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us."
"In these words, the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life." Is this not the primary reason for the dignity and self worth that we should have as human beings and Christians?