Esteem is a simple word. It is worth and value that we apply to people, places, and situations. We have esteem when a professional puts in an exemplary performance whether it is in sports, acting, or simply doing the right thing.
But the most important place we need to apply esteem is within ourselves. We must maintain our self-esteem to place value on ourselves as a worthy individual in the world.
Self-esteem affects every single part of our lives creating a miserable place if it is low and a vibrant up beat place when it is balanced. Elevating esteem so that it is at an empowering level for ourselves could very well be the key to happiness in life.
It is important that when you aim for high self-esteem, it is not at the level of thinking you are "better" or more "superior" to another, but instead it is at a level where you are okay with you, others and the world.
That's also the difference between arrogance and loving yourself. There is nothing wrong with knowing how great you are. It is an important element of self-esteem & self-love. However, when we believe we are better than other people, or more superior, that's just plain arrogance and is best avoided at all costs.
Most people's feelings and thoughts about themselves fluctuate somewhat based on their daily experiences. The grade you get on an exam, how your friends treat you, ups and downs in a romantic relationship-all can have a temporary impact on your wellbeing. This is because people collapse an event and what it means about them.
So if you are in the selling profession you may believe you are an excellent sales person when you sell 8 out of 10 products, but not when you sell 2 out of 10. You are the same person whether you are selling 2 products or 8 products. It is important to separate your behavior and what it "means" about you. Instead of celebrating the fact that you made 8 sales and being misery when you only made 2 sales, celebrate the fact that you are engaged in the art of selling. Enjoy the actions you take, rather than the result. That way whether you sell 2 or 8 is irrelevant because you will be thinking how great you are for just being out there selling something.
Your self-esteem, however, is something more fundamental than the normal "ups and downs" associated with situational changes. For people with good basic self-esteem, normal "ups and downs" may lead to temporary fluctuations in how they feel about themselves, but only to a limited extent. In contrast, for people with poor basic self-esteem, these "ups and downs" may make all the difference in the world.
Healthy self-esteem is based on our ability to assess ourselves accurately (know ourselves) and still be able to accept and to value ourselves unconditionally. This means being able to realistically acknowledge our strengths and limitations (which is part of being human) and at the same time accepting ourselves as worthy and worthwhile without conditions or reservations.