Lauren Boe

Most of us began learning about self-esteem as far back as we can remember. Parents, teachers, and coaches all had something to say about believing in yourself. Now as an adult, after hearing, “It’s really important to have high self-esteem” enough times, you might find yourself uttering a silent inner groan, “Oh great, more about self-esteem.”

Despite how frequently the term is tossed around, you might not realize how relevant this concept is to you. You probably know that self-esteem has to do with your self-image, but there are many factors that impact how you see yourself. Maybe you make a nice living, but you don’t really value the work you do or feel that it serves an important purpose. Maybe you have a large group of friends but don’t feel truly connected to any of them.

Perhaps you are successful at work and home but still spend your day comparing yourself to those around you. Unfortunately, external measures of happiness often greatly misrepresent how a person feels on the inside. You can be successful, competent, attractive, and still dislike yourself. Self-esteem is not about how an outside observer would judge you or your life, it’s about how you judge and view yourself.

Unlike self-esteem, your elementary school teacher probably didn’t mention self-efficacy, but it plays an important role in self-esteem. Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to be successful in a particular situation. For example, let’s say a high school student named Amanda really wants to be on the school dance team. If she has high self-efficacy, Amanda will audition for the team and try really hard because she believes that it is possible for her to make the team. If she has low self-efficacy, she may not try out for the team at all because she has no faith that she could succeed and be chosen for the team.

When you believe you can succeed, you are more likely to try. It is the trying that results in higher self-esteem. There would be less positive impact on Amanda’s self-esteem if she was just given a spot on the team instead of having to try for it. Self-efficacy is what determines whether or not Amanda will try.

We begin forming our beliefs about where we can and cannot be successful in childhood and those beliefs continue to develop and evolve for the rest of our lives. It will probably come as no surprise that individuals with high self-efficacy are also likely to have high self-esteem. Working toward greater self-efficacy by accomplishing goals and managing your reactions to stressful situations can have a powerful impact on your sense of self-worth.

If you are interested in exploring how you can work toward a more positive self-image and gain a deeper understanding of your own self-esteem and self-efficacy, please contact Lauren Boe at 281-200-9376 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for details about a self-esteem workshop at The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston on May 10, 2014.

About the Author

Lauren Boe, LMSW is a therapist at the Center for Recovering Families, a division of The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, where she provides clinical services to individuals, couples, families, and groups. Lauren is a primary clinician for the Healing Choices adult intensive outpatient program where she facilitates group psychotherapy and conducts psycho-educational groups. Lauren specializes in the treatment of addictive disorders including substance use disorders and eating disorders. Her approach to treatment is largely psychodynamic and influenced by systems and person-centered theories. Her goal in working with individuals is to co-create a therapeutic relationship with mutually agreed upon treatment foals. Lauren began co-facilitating groups with the House of Extra Measures Men in October 2011 and has been the primary facilitator of the group since June 2013.





Comments (1)
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Last Updated ( Monday, 07 April 2014 12:44 )