There are many different factors that affect self-esteem, including physical appearance. Beauty and self-esteem are often highly related for women, though a man's degree of physical attractiveness to others can also affect his self-esteem. It is difficult to determine the relationship between beauty and self-esteem because not everyone defines beauty in the same way. Additionally, it is difficult to determine if beautiful people have higher self-esteem or if people who have high self-esteem feel more beautiful. Generally, these two concepts are intertwined, but can be separated from a subjective standpoint with evaluation.
One of the major connections between beauty and self-esteem relates to a person's feelings about his or her body. Beauty is defined differently by different people, but people who match their own evaluation of beauty may have higher self-esteem. It is possible for a person to change her definition of beauty and choose to focus on the physical features she likes about herself, which is one way in which physical beauty can positively impact self-esteem. The negative connection between these traits arises when the individual focuses excessively on what he or she believes are physical flaws.
It is also true that people with high self-esteem often feel more beautiful than people who have low self-esteem. This is a complex issue, because an individual who takes pride in his or her appearance will often appear more beautiful than a person who feels that it is not even worth trying to look nice. Improving self-esteem in non-physical ways, such as by taking up hobbies or relaxing more often, can make a person appear more beautiful without many physical changes.
For women in particular, beauty and self-esteem are highly linked. Many young women feel that much of their self-worth relies entirely on external judgments about their physical appearance. People often blame the media for this problem, but all social groups create pressure of this type. There are many theories about how to unlink these two categories, many including ways to realign women's perceptions of beauty. Others work on the theory that self-esteem creates women who feel beautiful and thus attempt to improve self-esteem through sports and other affirming activities.
Beauty cannot always be separated from self-esteem, but they are not necessarily linked in every single case. Determining the connection between physical appearance and estimations of self-worth requires looking at the individual in question and investigating his or her attitudes about these subjects. It is also important to consider that, in certain special cases, beauty can negatively affect self-esteem. This is particularly true when a person feels that he or she is not taken seriously or when he or she is expected to act a certain way because of physical qualities.