A Cautionary Note

Anxious Woman

In their enthusiasm, some writers today seem to suggest that a healthy sense of self-value is all we need to ensure happiness and success.  However, the matter is much more complex than that.  Self-esteem is not an all-purpose panacea, or remedy.

A well-developed sense of self is a necessary condition of our well-being but not sufficient by itself.  Its presence does not guarantee fulfillment, but its lack guarantees some measure of anxiety, frustration or despair.

Self-esteem is not a substitute for a roof over one’s head or food in one’s stomach, but it increases the likelihood that one will find a way to meet such needs.  Self-esteem is not a substitute for the knowledge and skills one needs to operate effectively in the world, but it increases the likelihood that one will acquire them.