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Wellness International Network's

Self-Esteem Self-Test

Investigate Hidden and Surface Levels




  1. Respond to each of the first 20 items by typing in the boxes provided the letter (A, B, or C) of the statement that best describes you.
  2. Sometimes, more than one statement will be true. Pick the one that comes the closest to describing you.
  3. Avoid responding with what you believe are the "right" answers. (All answers are correct, when you give the most accurate responses you can.)
  4. Type only one letter (A, B, or C).
  5. Avoid skipping any parts.

Measure for adults. We created, used and refined this self-assessment over the past 12-plus years with hundreds of adults around the world. So, it does not apply to children. This scale is intended and provided for educational purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for appropriate medical or other professional care.

1. A. When someone dislikes and criticizes what I do or say, it rarely upsets me. In fact, I might like (or need) it when someone seems bothered.

B. Someone's obvious disapproval of what I do or say hurts my feelings.

C. Someone's criticism increases my caring about or understanding of that person.


2. A. I feel in control of what someone does or how he or she feels. I seem to need that.

B. Too often, I feel out of control or powerless.

C. I understand that I am in control of myself. No one can control me. So, I have little interest in trying to control anyone else.


3. A. I think of myself as better than other people.

B. I think of myself as less important than other people.

C. I think I'm no better than or inferior to anyone else.


4. A. How I look is very important to me. If possible, I want to always look my best.

B. I don't care that much how I look as long as I'm comfortable and clean.

C. How I look is important to the degree I want it to reflect how good I feel about myself. My body is now reasonably lean and fit.


5. A. Actually, I don't mind a good argument. It helps to relieve the tension or makes life more interesting.

B. I dislike arguments, and I'll do what I can to avoid them.

C. I don't avoid arguments. They are all right with me. Still, I don't compete to win them at another person's expense.


6. A. I don't care about helping other people. I turn down nearly all requests for help.

B. It's about impossible for me to refuse a genuine plea for help.

C. I help others, and I help myself. I won't help others if it means doing harm to myself and might regularly refuse to help.


7. A. I believe, or other people tell me, that I'm a perfectionist. I'm not likely to be satisfied until most things are done and done very well.

B. Often, I don't care if most things are completed or how well they are done. It just isn't that important to me.

C. I do what I do well because I deserve it. If I don't do well, I'm rarely bothered.


8. A. I dislike making mistakes and avoid them whenever possible.

B. Too often, my life seems filled with mistakes.

C. I don't usually make many mistakes, but when I do I'm rarely upset.


9. A. If at all possible I don't ask for help. I feel I should be able to do without it.

B. I ask for help and don't mind asking hardly at all. Still, too often it doesn't work out that well.

C. I usually know when I need help and ask for it. If the help doesn't fit, I can usually get it to work.


10. A. I regularly criticize other people or situations. Maybe I shouldn't, but it helps to let it out.

B. Someone taught me that criticizing wasn't proper. So I avoid it as much as I can. Maybe I do hold it inside.

C. I'm rarely critical but not because it isn't proper. It's more that my mind doesn't work that way.


11. A. If someone disagrees with me, I think he or she just has a different opinion. That's okay.

B. If someone challenges what I believe is true, I probably assume that I'm wrong.

C. If someone challenges what I believe, I more than likely think he is wrong. And, I want to convince him to think more like I do.


12. A. I'm comfortable with praise. But I don't really need it to feel good about myself and what I do.

B. I often need recognition. Most everyone needs praise for the good they do or for what they accomplish.

C. I don't much care if I get praised or not. Usually, I feel uncomfortable being fussed over.


13. A. It rarely occurs to me to pay attention to who likes me or how many friends I have.

B. Not enough people like me, or else the ones who do like me I don't care for that much.

C. I have (or hope I have) many friends and keeping those relationships is very important.


14. A. Material goods or success comes to me as a kind of byproduct of living my life happily.

B. I don't care that much about getting ahead financially or socially. It's just more I have to keep up with and be concerned about.

C. Getting ahead in life, career success (success as a homemaker) or having valuable things is important to me. I'm working hard for it.


15. A. I'm normally too busy enjoying or learning from what's going on now to think or talk about my accomplishments.

B. There isn't that much I have to be proud of, or else there is but I keep it to myself because it isn't proper behavior to brag.

C. At times anyway, I'm quick to let other people know about what I've accomplished or the good things that happen to me. I'm not that shy about singing my own praises.


16. A. I'm primarily responsible for what happens in my life. Blaming others or circumstances doesn't make any more sense to me than feeling bad about the past that won't change.

B. Many of the bad things that happen to me are my fault. I feel guilty about or regret such mistakes.

C. If things go wrong, it usually isn't my fault. Other people or circumstances are probably to blame.


17. A. There is a sense of positive direction to my life that somehow comes from my worth as a person instead of from goals I set and reach.

B. There seems to be little direction to my life. It's sometimes hard to imagine things getting to be good for me.

C. I often do (or think I should) set goals and evaluate my progress in attaining them. If life gets tough, I can think about how good it can be some day.


18. A. When needed, I speak up for myself without being harsh. I do confront others and do it well.

B. I'm usually reserved. I don't speak harshly to others and try always to be considerate ... even if it means my needs go unmet. I don't confront other people all that well.

C. I'm outspoken, and it sometimes comes across to others as being mean or aggressive.


19. A. Whether fair or not, people do what they believe is in their better interest. I don't think that's wrong or bad.

B. Most people look out for themselves and will pretty much do whatever they think they can get away with. It's not right for them to act that way.

C. I have definite beliefs about what is and is not fair. I'm upset when I or other people are treated unfairly.


20. A. I know that what other people say will not hurt me.

B. I am careful about what I say because I might hurt someone else.

C. I am careful about what I say because someone might use it to hurt me.


21. Type the number below that best describes how you now feel about yourself. The number ONE stands for absolutely hating yourself. The SEVEN indicates entirely loving yourself. Perhaps a number between the two extremes better describes how you now feel about yourself. Please type a number now.

Totally Hate Myself ..............................Totally Love Myself

1 ... 2 ... 3... 4 ... 5 ... 6 .. 7


To score this inventory,

Total "A's" ..Total "B's" ..Total "C's"




We believe that the more "C's" you recorded, the stronger (more accurate) your Hidden Self-Esteem Scale . . . what you think of yourself beneath the surface.

If you had fewer than 11 "C" answers, working to strengthen your self-esteem or self-concept scale is more important.

Fewer than 11 "C" answers indicates, we believe, that how you feel about yourself beneath the surface is suffering. Your self-concept needs and deserves your attention to help protect yourself from stress (physical and emotional symptoms) protect your work, relationships or finances.

The number you wrote in response to item 21 represents your Surface Self-Concept Subscale (what you think of and feel about yourself and know about).

The Aggressive Type (Subscale) of Hurt Hidden Self-esteem. Provided you had fewer than 11 "C" responses, the more "A" answers you gave, particularly if greater than eight, the more likely you have a hurt hidden self-esteem scale that's "aggressive."

The Passive Type (Subscale) of Hurt Hidden Self-esteem. With fewer than 11 "C" answers, the more "B" descriptive statements you chose, especially if seven or more, the more likely (we believe) that you have a hurt hidden self-esteem that's passive.

If you had less than 11 "C" responses and about equal numbers of "A" and "B" responses, then you're neither clearly "aggressive" nor clearly "passive" with regard to hurt hidden self-esteem or self-concept.

Strong Hidden Self-esteem (Subscale). If you scored 12 to 16 "C" responses, you're among those adults we identify as having a strong hidden self-esteem.

Did you notice that we didn't say what it means if someone scores more than 16 "C" responses? So far, almost no one, has given more than 16 "C" answers. Our educated guess is that anyone who scores more than 16 "C's" is telling more about how he knows he needs to feel and behave than about what's actually going on inside him. He is likely kidding himself.

Some other factors we suggest you need to understand about your scores on this inventory:

How does self-confidence relate to career success and work-related satisfaction and performance? Click here to find out.

Keep firmly in mind that no personality/attitude scale or inventory (including this one) tells absolute facts. Such inventories only indicate possibilities for you to consider. When the results make enough sense and are helpful, then use them. If you don't find that they make sense to you, then please do feel free to ignore the results. Avoid making significant changes in your work, relationships or anything else important to you based on the results. Instead, use what you learn combined with appropriate professional support.

Copyright 1997-00, Wellness International Network, Inc. All rights reserved. For your personal use only and not to be printed or used other than for your personal use, unless with written permission from, and signed by, an officer of Wellness International Network, Inc.

Book reference: New Stress, Mood & Relationship Relief. Lovelace, R. T., Health & Happiness Press. Winston-Salem. 1998.

More Wellness Self-Quizzes.