The three elements of self-esteem

JoAnn Deak, PhD, explains the three main components that make up self-esteem and how all three have a big impact on one's self-confidence
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The three elements of self-esteem

In one of my books, I have a whole chapter on self-esteem. Now, I say there are three ingredients; competence, confidence, and connectedness. Everybody naturally understands that if you are going to have good self-esteem, you are going to have some confidence and competence. That resonates. That makes sense. But what hasn't been thought about as much is what I call, connectedness. The term is self-esteem, not self-concept. Self-concept means what I think about me, maybe I think I am a tomato. Self-esteem means, do I value or like or feel that I have integrity. Do I have esteem for myself? The esteem part doesn't just come from competence and confidence, it comes from: Do I care about other human beings? Do I contribute to the world? Do I do things outside of my own skin? If I do, that's the icing on the self-esteem cake.

JoAnn Deak, PhD, explains the three main components that make up self-esteem and how all three have a big impact on one's self-confidence


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JoAnn Deak, PhD

Psychologist & Author

JoAnn Deak, PhD, has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls (Laurel School), for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, Power Play and GOAL. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent (except Antarctica!) She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs for the past five years.

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