What Does Self-Esteem Look Like?

From a physical perspective, self-esteem manifests in a number of characteristics.  It expresses itself in a face, manner and way of talking and moving that projects the pleasure one takes in being alive.  We see eyes that are alert, bright and lively; a face that is relaxed and (barring illness) tends to exhibit natural color and good skin vibrancy; a chin that is held naturally and in alignment with one’s body; and a relaxed jaw.  We see shoulders that are relaxed yet erect; hands that are graceful; arms that hang in an easy, natural way; a posture that is unstrained, erect and well-balanced; a walk that is purposeful (without being aggressive and overbearing).  We hear a voice that is modulated with an intensity appropriate to the situation.

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But there is far more to self-esteem than a stiff chin and straight back.  Self-esteem expresses itself by talking directly and honestly about accomplishments and shortcomings.  It expresses itself in being open to criticism and a comfort about acknowledging mistakes, because a person’s self-esteem is not tied to perfection.  It expresses itself in the harmony between what a person says and does and how they look, sound and move.  It expresses itself in an ability to enjoy the humorous aspects of life, in oneself and others.

Self-esteem expresses itself in a person’s adaptability and openness to challenges, secure in the strength of their own mind.  It expresses itself in a person’s comfort with assertive (but never belligerent) behavior in oneself and others.  It expresses itself in an ability to preserve a quality of harmony and dignity under conditions of stress.

There is no uniform face of self-esteem- it is merely comfort in (and acceptance of) your own skin.  But it is a quality that cannot be faked or mistaken.