The virtues of low self esteem.

The virtues of low self esteem.

Comments Off on The virtues of low self esteem.

Salon

Noting that there are “almost no findings showing that [high] self-esteem causes anything [beneficial] at all,? University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Martin Seligman laments:



“Something striking has happened to the self-esteem of American children during the era of raising our children to feel good. They have never been more depressed.?



This is no doubt partly because, raised to believe that they are special and perfect and entitled to all good things, they face terrible comedowns in the real world.



If (as often happens nowadays) every student in a class gets an A grade or every player in a tournament gets a trophy not because they all deserved these things, but rather in order to boost their self-esteem, then A becomes commonplace and meaningless, an average grade of no particular pride-inducing significance, just as C was a few decades ago. And the notion of “victory? is blurred. If everyone is special, then no one is special. Q.E.D.



Such revelations might shock the self-esteem boosters, who envisioned high self-esteem as an all-powerful magic potion, but will probably not shock us. Researchers have found that high self-esteem does not guarantee happiness and is often linked with depression because those whose self-esteem is elevated on false or flimsy pretexts – e.g., being told that everyone adores you or being told you’re perfect just for existing – are highly susceptible to all perceived slights. So-called beneficiaries of the self-esteem boom have been brainwashed to believe they deserve the best grades, the best treatment, the best of everything. Thus they are very easily offended, angered, disappointed, and crushed by even the faintest criticism. Psychologists call that kind of sky-high but baseless self-esteem “fragile self-esteem.? Its healthy opposite is achievement-based “secure self-esteem? – otherwise known as earned self-respect – which is not necessarily sky-high, but less likely to leave its possessors sulking and raging when the real world delivers its usual harsh doses of reality.



People with high self-esteem often seem like aliens to us, and icky aliens at that. We blame ourselves for everything. They take no blame. We’re always sorry. They never are. We fear punishment. They don’t. Often, they do the punishing. Our flaws obsess us. They think they have none.



“One has only to go into a prison,? writes former jail doctor Theodore Dalrymple, “to see the most revoltingly high self-esteem among a group of people (the young thugs) who had brought nothing but misery to those around them, largely because they conceived of themselves as so important that they could do no wrong. For them, their whim was law, which was precisely as it should be considering who they were in their own estimate.?

Ignoring, for a moment, that self esteem is essentially a nonsense term with just about as many definitions as there are people using the term, what is being described here is essentially unmerited, “Self Esteem.” The unwillingness to allow children to struggle and fail — and then try again until success (and the deep satisfaction of such) is experienced for real by the child.

In other words, “Helicopter parenting,” coupled with irrational praise for doing nothing more then breathing.

The combination of such may produce something we call high self esteem — but believing, “I’m all that and a bag of chips,” is just a mask. It does nothing to address the child’s deeply buried levels of shame, guilt or fear/disconnection — though it can hide them well.

And it’s shame, guilt or fear/disconnection that drive acting out.

Food for thought…

Can't find what you're looking for? Search Here!

Contact us

403 819 3545 (Text message capable)

info@henze-associates.com (iMessage capable)

403 819 3545, (Toll Free) 1 877 922 3143

Please email or text for information or bookings.

Back to Top