Self-Esteem Needs – Human Values

27/04/2023by Terry White

Human values are the guiding principles that shape our behaviour and inform our decisions, often stemming from our personal beliefs and experiences. They reflect what we consider important in how we live and work, determining our priorities and serving as a measure of our life’s success. Living according to our values gives us direction and purpose, they help us to grow and develop. When we act in alignment with our values, we experience a sense of fulfilment, but when we cannot uphold our values, it can lead to inner conflict and mental health issues.

In this series we are exploring personal values in terms of the different levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, with this blog in particular focussing on ‘self-esteem’.

Self-esteem refers to our overall sense of self-worth, often described as a combination of confidence, self-respect and a sense of accomplishment. It involves feeling good about ourselves, having a positive self-image and feeling confident in our abilities. It also plays an essential role in our well-being, influencing our behaviour, decision-making and our relationships with others.

A positive self-image and confidence in our abilities are key components of high self-esteem, which is associated with happiness and life satisfaction. On the other hand, low self-esteem is linked to negative outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. It’s important to recognize that self-esteem can be improved through living in accordance with our values. Ultimately, building a strong sense of self-worth is an ongoing journey rather than a destination.

We have found that values intersect with Maslow’s level of self-esteem in many ways.

For example, someone who’s end values (those that we seek to attain and live with) are recognition, respect and status will be motivated by means values (those which help us achieve our end values) such as proving their competency levels, being open and responsible. And someone who’s end value is self-respect will show courage, authenticity, self-reliance and strength. These people are more likely to make decisions that align with their values and beliefs, and are less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviours or relationships that may undermine their self-esteem.

However, the respect of others can also play a role in fulfilling esteem needs. If a person values kindness, they may have a strong need to be recognised for their compassion and empathy. Someone who values intelligence may want to be recognised for their knowledge and expertise. And someone who’s end value is fame may be very focused on beauty, popularity and reputation. These values that are dependent on others can sometimes be more harmful to your mental health than character building.

If you find this subject of interest, visit Why Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Matters – YouTube and do look out for more of our blogs over the coming weeks.

And should you feel you’d like to talk to us about how you might discover and start honouring your values, Quandary Pond is just a phone call away. Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, check out our infographic below!


This is the third blog in our series on ‘Human Values’. Read the others:

Basic Needs – Human Values

Safety Needs – Human Values

Love Needs – Human Values

Terry White