Self Esteem

Self Esteem

Does it happens to think about yourself that you can’t find your partner not because you don’t have qualities but because you don’t trust those qualities? And, to tell yourself that first you have to restore your trust and then the relationships will come?

In the literature, it has a name: self-esteem. And this name is due to Nathaniel Branden and his book “How to raise your self-esteem”.

At that time (1987), Branden was already well known in the US. He published The Psychology of Self-Esteem in 1969, arguing that the only factor that decisively influences all aspects of people’s lives, from productivity at work to sexual performance, is a combination of self-confidence and self-respect. , called “self-esteem”. In other words, if you appreciated yourself more and felt competent enough in relation to a set of problems, probably nothing could stand in your way.

Don’t you feel it’s true too? Our intuition immediately agrees with such statements.

How about the fact that the California State Legislature, in 1984, created an “official self-esteem task force,” a committee tasked with developing a program to increase residents’ self-esteem? California lawmakers were convinced that boosting self-esteem could solve, or significantly improve, social problems. It’s no joke! Please accept the idea that a person dependent on social assistance has ended up in such an undesirable situation primarily due to poor self-esteem and a neurotic tendency to devalue himself. Obviously, most of the funds were directed towards children. Who does not want confident, optimistic citizens, ready to fight for the goals they value?

It is also worth mentioning that between 1970 and 2000, around 15,000 scientific articles dedicated to self-esteem were published in specialized journals. But their results were not at all consistent. So, in 2003, the Association for Psychological Science (APS) asked Roy Baumeister to put an end to this dilemma (that is, to review the entire literature and give a verdict).

Are students with high self-esteem more likely to have better school results than those with low self-esteem? That would be normal, wouldn’t it? Not! The opposite is true: those who achieve academic performance develop a more positive self-esteem than those who fail (this is also true for other aspects of life).

Do you think that those who use alcohol or drugs have a lower self-esteem compared to those who do not use it? Not! People with high self-esteem are just as likely to abuse alcohol (or drugs).

Baumeister and his team reviewed the 15,000 studies. They separated research with methodological errors from scientifically impeccable research. And they finally came to some conclusions that they published, of course.

I remind you, Roy Baumeister, at the time, was a kind of leader in the self-esteem movement. He evaluated the results, calling them “the biggest disappointment of my career.” A sentence quite difficult to say!

On the Florida State University website, where he is a professor of social psychology, Bumeister wrote, “After all these years, my recommendation is this: Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline. Recent work suggests this would be good for the individual and good for society – and might even be able to fill some of those promises that self-esteem once made but could not keep.

Is the Allure of Self-Esteem a Mirage After All?” Joachim I. Krueger, Kathleen D. Vohs, and Roy F. Baumeister, American Psychologist (January 2008).

Ego Threat Elicits Different Social Comparison Processes Among High and Low Self-Esteem People: Implications for Interpersonal Perceptions,” Kathleen D. Vohs and T. F. Heatherton, Social Cognition (2004). Vol. 22, p. 168-190.

Baumeister,R.F., Campbell,J.D., Krueger,J.I. and Vohs,K.D.(2003) Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Vol. 4, No. 1, pages 1–44.

Baumeister, R.F., Campbell,J.D., Krueger,J.I. and Vohs, K.D. (2005) Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth, in Scientific American.(Jan)

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