Self Esteem For Men And Women

Having a positive self esteem is a necessary psychological and emotional need for healthy living. It helps us to feel good about ourselves, the decisions that we make and the intimate and social relationships that we develop and maintain in our lives. Without a self esteem that is positive, self nurturing and prideful we tend to be more unhappy in most things that balance our lives. We are more prone to depression, anxiety and uncertainty about our decisions and the relationships that we have.

There are some very distinctive differences between men and women and how they develop and maintain their self esteem. For almost 30 years as a clinician, I have heard many of the same stories and concerns from men in my practice that often define how they feel about themselves. Most men who come and see me for therapy, present many of the same concerns when experiencing problems with depression, anxiety, relationships, family concerns or other life adjustment difficulties. Men rely very heavily on their success in their careers and as a provider for their family to measure and determine their self esteem. Particularly in this difficult economy, with loss of jobs and unemployment, men have suffered the lows of their self esteem, due to the loss of their professional career, struggles to support their families and/or to be forced to take a job that is lower paying, in a field far removed from their professional field or remain unemployed for a lengthy period of time.

I have discoverd that for many men even after many years of employment, by the time they are in their 40's and older, will begin to question their success in their professional field. I have had men explain how unhappy they are in their job's for a variety of reasons. This unhappiness can lead to feelings of inferiority, anxiety, sometimes depression and create feelings of worthlessness.

For women who have suffered the loss of a job, unemployment and/or changes in their careers and professionalisim, the consequences can be equally as devestating as it is for men. The impact of the worlds economy has had an equal effect on the lives of both men and women and their families. However, when it comes to self esteem, women are different.

Women rely more on relationships, friendships, parenting (being a good mother) and other social support systems for their self esteem. When this area of their lives become problematic, self esteem suffers. The feeling of inferiority, anxiety and sometimes depression will set in. When this area in their lives are strong, women feel more nurtured and intimate. Without nurturance and intimacy with others, their lives feel unfulfilled.
For example, it is well documented that divorced women or those who have lost a long term partner, tend to do better emotionally due to better established social relationships.

For a healthy self esteem, both men and women must find "balance" in their lives, so they do not define their self esteem based on just career and success or relationships. For a positve and self nurturing self esteem, both men and women should shape their emotional well being upon more than just these one or two things. For a healthy and well balanced life,  it means finding satisfaction in many areas that include, family, (other than spouse/partner and children), health and fitness, community involvement, recreation, personal interests or hobbies, religion, education, (formal and informal such as reading, etc).

For men, it means expanding relationships with others outside your family and your children, (if you have children) . For women, keep those positive relationships and support systems alive and well, however, look towards personal fulfillment that is self nurturing that is exclusive for you and you only.

A well balanced life with high feelings of satisfaction in many areas of your life will keep your mind healthy.