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This principle is basic to the formation of self-esteem because it represents a person’s self-values. The qualities that are psychologically central to a person will determine which of the inputs from others affect his or her self-esteem development; the extent to which one values a certain quality influences one’s level of self-esteem. For example, if committed discipleship is vital to one’s feeling of worth, then negative attitudes concerning one’s superficial level of commitment may be personally devastating; but if such commitment is seen as irrelevant to one’s own pilgrimage, then the individual may lightheartedly acknowledge inadequacy in such matters with scarcely a twinge of discomfort. What is critical here is the individual’s system of self-values.
The principles of reflected appraisal, social comparison, self-attribution, and psychological centrality compose a complex set of processes in which feelings about self-identity are formed. Such self feelings permeate a person’s life, from moments after birth until death.