Most people look toward their marriage or long term relationship as a context for love, support and affirmation. Research suggests, however, that a person’s self-esteem may significantly impact this relationship potential.
How Do We Define Self-Esteem?
In psychology, self-esteem is defined as a reflection of a person’s overall self-appraisal, of their own worth.
Measurement of self-esteem and the most commonly used definition in research was offered by Morris Rosenberg and social-learning theorists who defined self-esteem in terms of a stable sense of personal worth or worthiness, measurable by self-report. Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale which is available for use, consists of 10 statements about self like the following:
“I feel I have a number of good qualities”
“I feel I do not have much to be proud of.”
These are rated from strongly agree to strongly disagree on a 4 point scale and are tallied to offer a score that ranges for 0-30 with scores below 15 suggesting low self-esteem and score 15-25 as within the normal range.
Today a concerned parent commented to my blog “Could My Teen Commit Suicide?” by describing his 14 year old daughter who had begun cutting herself.
He asked “Could this be a warning sign?”
Also today two colleagues raised concerns about young people engaged in cutting – one a female college student and one a 15 year old male.
Whether parent or professional, this is a topic that concerns and confuses us. It is one that we cannot ignore. It is one worth considering.
Once again a nation, Japan and its people, face devastation, loss and terrifying uncertainty in the aftermath of disaster.
Enabled by ever-expanding technology, people across miles, cultures, religions, races and economies witness the unfolding of unspeakable events. While disaster of this proportion calls forth a universal sense of horror and concern, there are differences in the way we all react.
What Accounts For These Differences?
While Traumatologists indicate that the characteristics of an event – be it man-made or natural disaster, time-limited or prolonged, life threatening or catastrophic- mediate the impact of a traumatic event on people, they hold that the most crucial factor in determining a person’s response is the meaning of the event for that person.
If you are human and you are in a relationship it is inevitable that at times you will be angry with your partner. I often suggest to couples that if you never hear the neighbors fighting, it probably means that they have moved or that you should call 911.
The goal in sustaining a vibrant and loving relationship is not to prevent authentic differences, feelings and disagreements but to express them in a way that does not escalate into anger that threatens the emotional or physical well-being of either partner.
Complying at all times, fear of making waves, hiding resentments, or equating every disagreement to the inevitable break-up is emotionally exhausting and anxiety producing. If it is not safe to be angry in a relationship – it is not a safe relationship.
Stephen Mitchell, author of Can Love Last, tells us that “The survival of romance depends not on skill in avoiding aggression but on the capacity to contain it alongside love.”