Body processes

Self-Confidence – Function, Task & Illnesses


Psychology understands self-confidence as the evaluation of the self in comparison to other people. The neuropsychological model of the body schema is considered the anchor point of self-worth . Narcissists suffer from pathological self-esteem .

What is self-awareness?

Everyone gives themselves a certain rating. This evaluation results from your own positive or negative experiences and the comparison of yourself with others. The result of the comparison is also known as self-worth or self-confidence. Synonymous terms are self-confidence or self-esteem .

From a neuropsychological point of view, self-confidence is anchored in the body schema. It can therefore only develop from the perception of one’s own body, separated from the environment. However, self-esteem is primarily shaped by social factors. Self-confidence refers to one’s own personality, one’s own abilities, past experiences or the sense of oneself and self.

As a concept of scientific psychology, self-confidence is primarily a topic of personality psychology and differential psychology. From a psychological point of view, self-worth is one of three components of the self. It corresponds to the affective component. The cognitive component is the self-concept. The conative component is known as self-representation.

function & task

The body schema is a neuropsychological concept that is present from birth. It describes the idea of ​​one’s own body, including the body’s superficial demarcation from the environment. The body schema is probably genetically anchored and develops as part of the interaction with the environment. Language development also contributes to the formation of the body schema. Self-confidence is absolutely dependent on a body schema. An evaluation of one’s own person is not possible without the awareness of one’s own person.

People receive self-related information from three different sources. Self-observation informs him about behavior and experience. These observations can be compared to previous events, leading to positive or negative self-assessments. The second source is society. Depending on the social comparison with others, people experience themselves differently. Feedback from others is the third source of self-related information.

The individual draws his self-worth on the social level from various sources of self-worth. An ephemeral source of self-worth, for example, is beauty . These ephemeral sources are more prone to dips in self-esteem.

A person’s self-esteem influences all of their behavior and thus, for example, their entire social life. Even small children develop self-esteem through the ratings “good” or “bad”. In the course of development, social comparison with others becomes more and more relevant.

When entering a new phase of life, self-esteem is usually in transition. Puberty in particular is characterized by self-doubt . Girls’ self-esteem drops during this time, since their pubertal development usually does not correlate with social ideals of beauty, but their range of experience is not yet sufficient to understand the exaggeration and artificiality of these ideals.

In adulthood, family and professional successes and failures change the self-esteem that has been developed up to that point. Self-confidence peaks around the age of 60. Due to the changed socio-economic status in old age, it usually decreases somewhat afterwards.

Self-confidence can go either way. From a psychological point of view, too much self-confidence and thus the susceptibility to megalomania is just as unhealthy as low self-esteem and the susceptibility to resignation or self-hatred. Insecurities can trigger both forms of impaired self-esteem.

Diseases & Ailments

One of the most well-known diseases associated with impaired self-esteem is narcissism. Everyday narcissism is not pathological. It is characterized by an inflated, surreally positive self-esteem and self-centeredness or lack of consideration for others. However, according to research, everyday narcissists are emotionally stable. Modern psychiatry is only interested in narcissism when narcissistic personality traits lead to problems in adapting to individual life situations or one’s own living environment. This phenomenon is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The patients struggle with their lives because they cannot meet the increased need for admiration. Emotional instability , bipolarity, feelings of insufficiency and extreme sensitivity to any form of criticism are the result. Shame , loneliness and fear or uncontrollable anger can also be symptoms.

Psychology assumes that the main anchor of narcissism, but also that of most other self-esteem disorders, is the responsiveness of the parents during childhood. In the present, however, self-esteem disorders also result not least from the comparison with unrealistic media ideals. Poor self-esteem can lead to subsequent psychological disorders such as eating disorders . From a certain stage onwards, those affected also often suffer from a disturbed perception of their body .

Self-esteem is most commonly assessed by psychologists through self-description questionnaires. The ‘Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale’ is the best-known one-dimensional method. Self-esteem theories assume a hierarchical structuring of self-confidence. For this reason, multidimensional self-esteem scales are also used today, such as the ‘Feelings of Inadequacy Scale’. Some psychologists even attempt to capture implicit self-esteem. This spontaneous and unconscious evaluation of one’s self is determined by methods such as the ‘Implicit Association’ test. The reaction times should indicate self-confidence. If the explicit and implicit self-esteem diverge, there is also a self-esteem disorder.

Severe depression can also have its roots in low self-esteem.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.