We listen to these words so often these days…Self-esteem, High Confidence, Self – Empowering, Self – Respect, Self – Assurance…What exactly is self-esteem? Most people, as well as many psychologists and educators, believe we ‘need’ it, that it’s good for our emotional well-being, and that it makes us more successful.
When I actually saw the meaning of self – esteem in a dictionary it said…confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. Well, I just read ‘worth’….!!!!
From the school of thought I come from self-esteem is probably one of the greatest reasons for emotional disturbance known to humans. Well, I don’t deny that self – esteem is required to do even the smallest of task or to take up the biggest of challenges in life. But are we really comprehending as to how we are using it? Let’s have a look…
Self-esteem results in each of us praising ourselves when what we do is approved by others. But we also damn ourselves when we don’t do well enough and others disapprove of us. What we need more than self-esteem is self-acceptance!
Coming back to worth. If others or I myself disapprove of my efforts put into any task, I would feel sad. Does that mean I have to be more vulnerable at doing things in the future and hence succumb to the ‘fact’ that my worth has reduced.
Let’s talk about one tough job. Being a mother. Rather one of the toughest. Even the slightest mistake made while parenting is considered as a sin. Mothers don’t spare themselves of the criticism if they feel they don’t fulfil their ‘responsibilities’ as a parent. In spite of working round the clock errors are unacceptable. These episodes remain intact in their memory for years. I am sure then any criticism on their role as a mother coming from others would absolutely be intolerable. “You are not a good mother” or “You are only spoiling your kids” is almost like a dagger to their worth as a mother.
I am sure that hearing such comments for this relationship would hurt but in no way does that prove that she is not a good mother. In no way, is any criticism worth self – downing. Why do comments like these make any mother label herself as a ‘bad’ mother? I am sure in this case reconstructing their self – esteem will be a daunting task if that is how self – e’steam’ is perceived. Phew!!!!
While reading this blog I am sure people would come up with comments like – How apathetic! Or how indifferent! How can you say these things so casually? How else would a mother feel with such comments!
As an REBT Therapist, I would like to differ. Self – esteem is not a variable it is a constant. Which means one that does not change and remains the same. Any appreciation should not necessarily make a person go gaga over the situation to an excessive degree. Likewise, criticism shouldn’t necessarily make an individual feel low about themselves leading to reduced self –esteem.
Anyone who garners appreciation or criticism must realize that self – esteem remains same in all given times, situations, challenges or experiences. This helps in dealing with the situation with the same amount of self-assurance. As a result, individuals can avoid being ‘under confident’ or ‘over confident’ in every walks of life.
Like in the example above, a mother definitely has a choice to not lower their self-worth even on the harshest of statements that question their motherhood. This would reduce immense pressure we put upon ourselves to perform a task.
When opinions about one selves remain the same we stop trying to get so much validation, attention and approval from other people. Self – esteem makes one feel more self – worthy in life and so there is less self-sabotage making individuals motivated towards their goals either big or small.