Build Self-Esteem through Social Cohesion
Low self-esteem is often the result of internalizing other people’s opinion. For many, it starts in childhood. Naturally narcissistic, children live in an egocentric world in which they are the focus. When children seek attention but don’t receive it immediately, they feel abandoned. This perceived abandonment leads them to believe they aren’t worth being cared for. It also inspires them to try harder to please, so they will be loved.
For most children, this works because parents and family members are easy to please. When children receive attention and positive reinforcement, they develop prosocial skills, engage in appropriate behaviors, and increase self-esteem. This naturally leads to the development of life-long self-worth. The individual understands he has innate value and does not rely on others for self-esteem.
Some parents are not easy to please, however. Regardless of what the child does, it’s never enough to spark attention and love. When this approval is not received, it becomes a self-defeating cycle, resulting in low self-esteem. This low self-esteem carries into adulthood, and these individuals continue to seek out other people to validate their own self-worth. Without this validation, they feel unworthy to be cared for and loved, and their self-esteem plummets.
The Effect of Social Cohesion on Low Self-Esteem
A sociology study defined social cohesion as “the willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper.” It’s a widespread goal of modern societies and is encouraged in both schools and workplaces. Social cohesion increases in communities in which people share common beliefs and values and strive to reach similar goals. It has shown to have a range of social and personal benefits, including better education and improved health, and is essential for productive communities.
Since self-esteem roots in the desire to please, social cohesion can meet the needs of those with low self-worth. When a person feels as though she or he is part of a group or a community, social networking and reliance increases. Social cohesion encourages the formation of positive relationships, communication, and problem-solving skills. Being part of a group also provides a sense of purpose and expands the willingness to help others. Each of these things is known to increase self-esteem, and in combination, they can have a massive impact on how one views his or her own self-worth.
Using Social Cohesion to Improve Self-Esteem
For people who have low self-esteem, recognizing that their image of themselves relies on the approval of others can be enough for them to begin to shift to a more intrinsic approach to self-worth. Through social cohesion, these individuals engage in safe, social activities with others who share similar values, and their self-esteem drastically improves. In the same way that a child pleases his or her parents to gain their approval and thereby increases his or her self-esteem, that person can build his or her self-worth by gaining the approval of a social group that he or she feels a part of.
Although low self-esteem starts as a child, it can be improved upon no matter what your age. By utilizing the structures of social cohesion, essential self-worth grows, and leads to healthy, positive self-esteem.