As people’s outcomes in life depend heavily on how others perceive and evaluate them, they are motivated to convey certain impressions of themselves to others and to refrain from conveying other, undesired impressions. Thus, no matter what else they may be doing,people typically monitor and control their impressions, i. e. a process known as: self-presentation. A great deal of human behaviour is, in part, determined or constrained by people’s concerns with others’ impressions and evaluations of them.
Because all human beings are different from one another, the thought process used which results in the self-presentation of a person will also differ from person to person. In this case the potential factor affecting the self-presentation of an individual is that of the self-esteem of the individual. Self-esteem being: ” An affective component of the self, consisting of a person’s positive and negative self-evaluations. ” (Brehm, 1999). Although most people have high self-esteem, there are various ways in which self-esteem can be measured; for example when someone is referring to a persons condition at specific moment in time it is referred to as a “state”.
If the condition is something that is an average over a period of time it is known as a “trait”. Someone who has low self-esteem as a trait is considered to be worse off than a person who is in a state of low self-esteem. Low Self-esteem Essay is thought to have several side effects, both mental and physical which inevitably affect the self-presentation of a person. Low self-esteem can lead on to other ailments of negativity such as: anxiety and depression. Once low self-esteem sets into a person it triggers off a self-defeating cycle in which negative expectations impair the performance, which in turn reinforces low self-esteem. This cycle is known as: “The Vicious Cycle of Low Self-Esteem” (Brehm, 1999).
On the contrary from people with low self-esteem, people with high self-esteem tend to have a much better quality of life and are happier within themselves, healthier, more productive and successful which all reflects on their self-presentation: “People high in self-esteem are confident and bring to new challenges a winning and motivating attitude. In contrast, people low in self-esteem lack confidence and bring to new tasks a losing attitude that traps them in a vicious, self-defeating cycle” (Brehm, 1999). (As described above). People who have entered this cycle of low self-esteem tend to undergo a behavioural pattern known as “self-handicapping”, whereby their behaviour is designed to sabotage Their own performance in order to provide a subsequent excuse for failure.
This behaviour is seen as a face-saving defence mechanism against failure for people low in self-esteem as proved the experiment: “Self-handicapping: To protect or Enhance Self-Esteem”(Tice, 1991). This is an experiment where participants worked on a task that supposedly measured intelligence. When participants were focused on succeeding, those with high self-esteem practised less. When participants were led to become fearful of failure, those with low self-esteem practised less. This difference may reflect a desire to maximise the self-presentation of high ability by appearing to succeed despite the minimal preparatory effort. Another stage, which can follow low self-esteem, is that of self-awareness.
People are not usually self-focused, but certain situations predictably force us to turn inward and become the objects of our own attention. Actions such as looking in the mirror, standing before an audience, watching ourselves on a video camera or even talking about ourselves can put us in a state of heightened self-awareness that leads us naturally to compare our behaviour to some standard. We often find ourselves falling short of that standard which temporarily reduces our self-esteem. Thus “people often experience a negative mood state when placed in front of a mirror” (Hass & Eisenstadt, 1990). In fact, the more self-absorbed people are in general, the more likely they are to suffer from alcoholism, depression, anxiety, and other clinical disorders (Ingram, 1990). “Self-awareness theory: The theory that self-focused attention leads people to notice self-discrepancies, thereby motivating either an escape from self-awareness or a change in behaviour” (Duval, Wicklund, 1973).
In summary, the relatively unusual state of self-awareness may occur when self-focus makes us aware of ourselves as objects of perception. This typically leads us to self-discrepancies between the self and some standard, which in turn has self-esteem and motivation.