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Popular Articles

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

Popular Audios

Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

We all have a sense of self. Whether that sense of self is positive or negative is based upon our experiences in life and our perceptions and assessment of ourself. If our self assessment was always accurate, I would have no need to write this article. However, the problem is that our perception of ourself is often distorted.

Previous experiences can distort this perception. For instance, a person growing up in a perfectionistic family may view herself as always falling short of the expectations of the family. As a result, no matter how successful she might be, she thinks of herself as a failure.

Or a boy who is constantly picked on by his older brothers: "How stupid!" or "What a dork!" He may come to believe these labels about himself. Unfortunately, people who believe certain labels will often live up, or live down, to those labels. The labels can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of expectation. He expects himself to be stupid so he never tries to prove otherwise.


The self-concept is a factual description of how you perceive yourself. If your perception is distorted, this description may not be an accurate depiction of you, but it IS an accurate statement of what you believe about yourself.

The self-concept is derived from self-esteem and self-efficacy. If a person has low self-esteem, the self-concept may be skewed in the direction of a negative description. Some aspects of the self-concept may be purely statements of fact such as "I have a college education" or "I don't dance" without any evaluation of whether it is good or bad. Read more...

"...refers to situation-specific self-confidence as “self-efficacy” which is the strength of an individual’s belief that he or she can successfully perform a given activity."
Self-Efficacy: The Key to Success in SportsWithout confidence in one’s ability, an individual cannot perform to his or her potential. It is even possible that someone with lesser ability, but with confidence, can outperform this person because belief in oneself can be a powerful influence. What is this sense of confidence? Albert Bandura refers to situation-specific self-confidence as “self-efficacy” which is the strength of an individual’s belief that he or she can successfully perform a given activity. The concept of self-efficacy has often been used interchangeably with the concept of self-esteem which is the process of evaluating the self; however, self-efficacy is more accurately described as a precursor to self-esteem and is mediated by the individual’s self-attributions. Read more...

Making Mistakes to Enhance Self-Esteem and Improve PerformanceThe vast majority of my clients with anxiety disorders are perfectionists. Additionally, perfectionism is extremely pervasive in our culture generally. However, the typical response when I inquire about perfectionism is, “Oh, no, I’m not a perfectionist. I’m far from perfect.” Such a response indicates a lack of understanding regarding the concept of perfectionism.

Perfectionism is the belief that one must attain perfection or one is a failure. Perfectionism is an extreme distortion of the concept “Do your best” when an individual believes that his or her “best” means, “perfect.” The individual becomes fearful of making mistakes and may experience stress, anxiety, and depression as a result. Read more...

Self-Esteem Blackboard

Free Android App: Use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) methods to improve your self-esteem!

Do you have low self-esteem?
Does it affect your relationships?
Does it prevent you from being successful at work?
Are you unhappy with yourself?
Do you have problems with anxiety and/or depression?

Then, this app may be for you. This app was developed by a clinical psychologist using the methods of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help improve self-esteem.

  • Articles about self-esteem and cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Test: What Is Your Self-Concept?
  • Create positive self-talk on the the Self-Esteem Blackboard
  • Review the affirmations on your blackboard
  • Self-Esteem Assistance Audio to change self-talk created by past experiences
  • Self-Esteem Blackboard Audio to help visualize changing your self-talk
  • Relaxation audios

  • Feedback, Self-Efficacy, and the Development of Motor SkillsAlthough we may prefer to believe that learning a motor skill is purely learning a set of physical techniques, we have to consider that most learning typically takes place in the context of an interpersonal relationship with a teacher. The critical question is how does this interaction affect the development of motor skills. It appears that the mediating factor between the presentation of the instructions by the teacher and the performance of the skill by the student may be the cognitive process of self-efficacy (Escarti & Guzman, 1999). Some may argue that the development of effective skills may lead to the increased self-efficacy demonstrated by students of high ability. Although this process occurs, it is not sufficient for explaining the role of developing self-efficacy and its impact on learning motor skills. To fully explain the role of self-efficacy, we must evaluate the interpersonal context of how the teacher or coach provides feedback to the athlete, how that feedback affects self-efficacy, and how self-efficacy enhances performance. Unfortunately, studies directly examining this relationship are sparse, and therefore, the inferences need to be made based on research examining the relation of the different components of the equation such as the feedback/self-efficacy relationship and the self-efficacy/motor skills relationship. Read more...

    Making Attributions for a Healthier AttitudeA natural human tendency is to simplify explanations, especially explanations regarding the behavior of other people. Even science teaches the importance of being parsimonious; in other words, don’t use a complex explanation when a simple one will do. However, many times we over-simplify the cause of behavior, both as individuals and as a science.

    In social psychology, a concept known as "the fundamental attribution error" describes the tendency to view too much of someone else’s behavior as related to internal factors. For instance, if a person is fired from a job, we may think, "That person is incompetent," even though we could as easily think, "That job was not right for that person." We tend to believe that the problems other people have are due to some internal fault or flaw and we tend to over-estimate the degree of the person's responsibility. Read more...

    The Reciprocal Influence of Self-Esteem and Exercise Low self-esteem has been implicated in most psychological dysfunction; however, low self-esteem is not necessarily the root cause of this dysfunction. It is believed (Aro, 1994) that individuals with high self-esteem who may be predisposed to psychological disorders are better equipped to cope with those disorders, and thus, reduce the negative consequences that may result. Therefore, if self-esteem can be enhanced, the psychological consequences of disorders can be reduced. This process can be illustrated by describing a similar process that occurs with physical illness such as diabetes. The individual may be genetically predisposed to developing the illness, but if they engage in the proper healthy care-taking activities, they may prevent the development of the illness or, at least, reduce its consequences (Amir et. al., 1990. The enhancement of self-esteem and self-efficacy can be an important contributing factor to both the prevention of psychological and physical illness and the maintenance of health. Read more...

    Giving Women Feedback to Increase Self-EfficacyThe manner in which instructors provide feedback to athletes can have significant impact upon an athlete's self-efficacy which in turn affects the ability to learn a skill and the overall performance. Self-efficacy is the athlete's personal belief that he or she has the capability to learn and perform a specific skill or activity. The results of an interesting study by Amparo Escarti and Jose Guzman in 1999 indicated that performance feedback which focuses on providing feedback regarding technique rather than evaluating outcome was related to increased self-efficacy, a higher level of performance, and the tendency to choose more difficult tasks. Other research has shown that a higher level of self-efficacy improves performance. Thus, research shows us that how a coach provides feedback to athletes is critical in the development of the athlete.

    To make this issue all the more complicated, there is research evidence that women respond differently than men to feedback from coaches. This is most likely a crucial point in the martial arts today because the majority of instructors in the martial arts are men and there are more and more women choosing to participate and compete in the martial arts. Therefore, a martial arts instructor needs to be more attuned to the methods of providing feedback to women in order to elicit their best performance as well as to keep them interested in continuing their training. Read more...

    Excellence vs. Perfection Some people may be curious as to why this website is dedicated to the "pursuit of excellence" when I am constantly warning about the dangers of perfectionism.  To address this question we must differentiate between the pursuit of excellence and the need to be perfect.  These concepts are not only different but can be considered antagonistic to one another. In fact these concepts are so opposed to one another that  excellence can best be attained by giving up the demands of perfection.

    What is Perfectionism?  Perfectionism is the individual's belief that he or she must be perfect to be acceptable. Perfectionism is black and white with no gray area. Anything other than perfect is failure. Perfectionism is an attitude, not necessarily a behavior. In other words, two people can engage in the same behavior such as trying to win an Olympic gold medal but one can be pursuing excellence and the other is demanding perfection. The difference lies in the thought process about the goal or behavior, not in the goal or behavior itself. Read more...