What is self-esteem and how important is it to our health?
Many early theories suggested that self-esteem is a basic human need or motivation. American psychologist Abraham Maslow included self-esteem in his hierarchy of human needs. He described two different forms of “esteem”: the need for respect from others in the form of recognition, success, and admiration, and the need for self-respect in the form of self-love, self-confidence, skill, or aptitude…
The underlying idea of the movement was that low self-esteem was the root of the problem for individuals, making it the root of societal problems and dysfunctions. A leading figure of the movement was psychologist, Nathaniel Branden who was quoted as saying, “[I] cannot think of a single psychological problem – from anxiety and depression, to fear of intimacy or of success, to spouse battery or child molestation – that is not traced back to the problem of low self-esteem”.
Shame can be a contributor to those with problems of low self-esteem…
The self-esteem movement operates on the basic principle that low self-esteem causes decreased motivation, decreased productivity and increased societal and social woes. Corresponding evidence suggests a link between low self-worth and an increased risk of violence, drug addiction and alcohol abuse. By bolstering self-esteem early in life, proponents of the self-esteem movement feel that the negative consequences of low self-worth can be avoided.
A healthy amount of self-esteem is necessary for a person’s continued success and happiness, but evidence suggests that too much artificial self-esteem can lead to depression and an overall decreased sense of self-worth. It is possible that self-esteem building exercises are necessary but only in moderation. Some feel that teaching self-esteem should come secondary to other techniques that bolster self-worth.
Not everybody believes that the self-esteem movement and methods are valid. An equal amount of research shows that high self-esteem can lead to the same pitfalls as low self-esteem. Teaching self-esteem at the exclusion of other traits can have a negative impact on a person’s ability to self-soothe and comfort himself or herself after a setback or trauma because outside validation is necessary. By taking the self-esteem bolstering efforts too far, it is possible for individuals to develop narcissism.
Those who argue against the self-esteem movement feel that the effects of the movement are more negative than they are positive. Instead of focusing on self-esteem, detractors of the movement feel that children should be taught motivation, dedication and perseverance. By learning these skills, they can make themselves feel good instead of relying on outside sources to boost self-worth…
By David Crary, Associated Press
NEW YORK — Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.
“We need to stop endlessly repeating, ‘You’re special,’ and having children repeat that back,” said Jean Twenge , the study’s lead author and a professor at San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.” …
Narcissism can have benefits, said study co author W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia, suggesting it could be useful in meeting new people “or auditioning on ‘American Idol.'”
“Unfortunately, narcissism can also have very negative consequences for society, including the breakdown of close relationships with others,” he said.
The study asserts that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors.”
Twenge, the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” said narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism, and favor self-promotion over helping others. [The truth is out: Donald Trump is a narcissist.]
The researchers traced the phenomenon back to what they called the “self-esteem movement” that emerged in the 1980s, asserting that the effort to build self-confidence had gone too far…
Campbell said the narcissism upsurge seemed so pronounced that he was unsure if there were obvious remedies.
“Permissiveness seems to be a component,” he said. “A potential antidote would be more authoritative parenting. Less indulgence might be called for.” …
I think Campbell is saying that American kids are spoiled. Are they? Doesn’t every older generation think that of the younger generation?
Since Americans have gotten poorer, it seems that we like to indulge ourselves more. Perhaps we even need to indulge ourselves more, just to get through the day. (And maybe deep down, we feel like we don’t deserve these indulgences. Do I deserve chocolate cheesecake? Because I bought lots of cream cheese this month instead of chicken.)
I think self-esteem is important. I think every person is unique, although I don’t believe that every human being is special. How many of the over 7 billion people in the world are special? I may have a healthy self-esteem, but I don’t think I’m special.
I was thinking about self-esteem and how it relates to those with chronic medical conditions. And I was thinking about how patients are treated differently in our healthcare system — depending on your medical condition — and how discrimination can create self-esteem issues.
Chronic and intractable pain patients are learning how it feels to be treated like drug addicts by doctors and society, and yet those who suffer from drug addiction have always had to put up with this kind of discrimination. Many people still think that drug addiction is a choice, and now people are starting to believe that chronic pain is a choice. Are drug addiction and chronic pain considered real medical conditions? If so, patients would have access to as many treatments as cancer patients. Looks like we’re all just a bunch of fakers.
Being disabled is isolating and messes with your self-esteem. Why do some mental and physical conditions deserve treatment, while others are allegedly our own choice, and if we were just strong enough, we could overcome them? I smell religion in the house, which should never cross over into medical science (what’s left of it).
There’s a difference between needing the approval of others and being able to approve of yourself. Are self-worth and self-esteem the same thing? If you have low self-worth, you need others for your self-esteem. If you have self-worth, you don’t need anyone else’s approval.
However, everyone needs others to like them. And so this would be a good time to say thanks to everyone who likes my posts. Likes are nice. 🙂