Common Misconceptions About Self-Esteem

The following is an account of some of the most common misconceptions I have encountered in my decades practicing psychotherapy:

Self-esteem means feeling good about yourself:

Self-esteem is not just a feeling; it is an experience.  It requires an emotional, evaluative and cognitive commitment.  It is a conscious decision to perceive yourself in a different light: to move toward life rather than away from it; to move toward consciousness instead of fleeing it; to treat facts with respect rather than denial; to operate responsibly rather than irresponsibly.

Self-esteem is not the fleeting euphoria or buoyancy that may be momentarily caused by a drug, a compliment or a love affair.  It is not an illusion or a hallucination.  It is concrete, solid and lasting.  It derives from acting responsibly, consciously and with integrity.

Lavish, unwarranted praise is one of the best ways to boost self-esteem and classroom performance:

Teachers who treat all students with respect and project a strong conviction about every student’s potential support both the self-esteem and the academic needs of their students.  Conversely, those who try to nurture self-esteem by heaping endless, unmerited praise on their students undermine both self-esteem and academic achievement.  We help people to grow by holding rational expectations up to them, not by indiscriminately praising them.

High self-esteem is the domain of a lucky few:

In instances of deep psychological wounds or trauma, an appropriate level of self-esteem can be difficult to achieve without psychotherapy.  But I have never met anyone who was utterly devoid of self-esteem, nor have I met anyone unable to grow in self-esteem, assuming the proper conditions were in place.

It is self-absorbed to devote too much energy to raising your self-esteem:

Excessive and inappropriate self-absorption is endemic to poor self-esteem, not high self-esteem.  If we are confident in ourselves, we enjoy what we have rather than dwelling on what we want.

There is such a thing as too much self-esteem:

It is no more possible to have too much self-esteem than it is to have too much physical or mental health.  True self-esteem is not self-aggrandizing; it is grounded, reality-based acknowledgment of personal worth.  Arrogance, boasting and grandiosity are the hallmarks of inadequate self-esteem.  Insecure people compensate for their lack of self-esteem by bragging, throwing around their weight and trying to prove their superiority.

Self-esteem is a godless pursuit:

Is watching one’s diet and eating intelligently a “godless pursuit?”  Is exercising?  Is striving to learn and better oneself?  If none of these pursuits are decried as godless, why is striving for improved self-respect viewed as such?

With regard to self-esteem, I do not see God as relevant- unless you believe in a malevolent God who wishes harm upon human beings.

Self-esteem is determined by parental upbringing:

Many factors – including our upbringing – impact our self-esteem.  Certainly parents can make the road to self-esteem easier or harder, but they cannot determine the level of their child’s self-esteem.  We are not putty, to be shaped and molded at the whim of an external source.  Ultimately we are responsible for the level of our self-esteem.

Self-esteem stems from the approval of significant others:

It is widely thought that the approval of significant others can have a profound and positive impact on a person’s self-esteem, and to an extent this is true.  However, one has to wonder about the enduring strength of a self-esteem that derives from the approval of others.

Furthermore, chasing approval and validation can only have a detrimental impact on your self-esteem.  When people betray their mind and values to win the approval of others, their self-esteem invariably suffers.

Good looks, popularity and material wealth guarantee high self-esteem:

People who lack self-esteem sometimes believe that looks, wealth and popularity would cure all their woes.  In reality, none of these qualities guarantee self-esteem.  Look no further than celebrities who, despite having physical beauty, millions of adoring fans and unimaginable wealth, cannot get through a day without using drugs.  Good looks, popularity and wealth are nothing without adequate self-esteem.  Lacking such self-esteem, it is easy to feel like an imposter waiting to be discovered.

Praising appropriate behavior engenders healthy self-esteem:

That depends on your definition of praise.  Indiscriminate praise of a child’s character does nothing to nurture self-esteem; it only serves to evoke anxiety in the child when they know it is unwarranted.  Specific, reality-based praise of a child’s actions can nurture their self-esteem and increase the likelihood that they will repeat the action.

Nothing bothers people with high self-esteem:

Some people believe that having good self-esteem can solve everything.  This is simply not true.  Anxiety, pain and suffering are a part of life, whether you have high self-esteem or not.  Consider the following: if someone you love dies, does having good self-esteem insulate you from feeling any pain? silverstar casino online gambling

Of course not.

Think of self-esteem as the immune system of consciousness.  If you have a healthy immune system, you may become ill, but you are less likely to.  If you do become ill, you recover faster.  Similarly, a healthy self-esteem does not make people impervious to pain or suffering, but it does better equip them to recover from these afflictions.

Self-esteem, once attained, lasts forever:

Every value pertaining to life requires constant maintenance.  If we do not continue to breathe, the breaths we took yesterday will not sustain us today.  Self-esteem is no different.  If we do not maintain the practices that helped us build good self-esteem, if we choose to operate mindlessly, irresponsibly and without integrity, our self-esteem will surely crumble.

roulette computer online casino
Failure happen to me antibiotics to buy
purchasing cytotec online Failure happen to me order neurontin online operator in connecting call buy gabapentin without prescription everyone phreaked out buying misoprostol online more vulnerable.