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The 4 components of self-esteem

There are 4 components that define the esteem you might feel for yourself: self-confidence, identity, feeling of belonging, and feeling of competence.

Self-confidence (feeling of security)

This is the foundation of self-esteem. If we feel secure with our family, if we feel loved and our needs are met, our self-esteem develops. That’s when we try to take our place and dare to try new things and new experiences. For example, when we learn to walk, we fall down the first few times, but with encouragement, we develop our confidence and try again!


This is the knowledge we have of ourselves. By experimenting, learning, and getting feedback from the people around us, we come to identify our characteristics, abilities, needs, and feelings. Identity can be divided into several parts: including physical (the representation that each person has of their own body) and social (how I come into contact with other people, the groups I associate with, my economic situation, my place as a student, worker, teen, how I act with my girlfriend or boyfriend, which sex attracts me, etc.).

Feeling of belonging

We all belong to several groups: family, friends, school, sports team, etc. We also define ourselves by belonging to these groups, by the relationships we have with other people and the experiences we have in these groups: feeling like part of a group, feeling solidarity, seeking out the other group members, communicating well, sharing, etc. The various groups we belong to allow us to feel understood and know that there are people who are like us.

Feeling of competence

To feel competent, we need to have different experiences, succeed and fail, and learn new things. The feeling of competence is related to motivation: a person is motivated when they face challenges that they are able to meet. Success results in a feeling of efficacy and pride that promotes self-esteem and pushes the person to accept new challenges.

Self-esteem is not carved in stone. It changes and stabilizes based on the people we meet and our life experiences. Although it can be a challenge during adolescence, one thing is certain: the more different situations we face, the more we learn about ourselves and the better we know who we are and who we want to identify with, what we don’t want to repeat, and what we want for our lives.