The Power of Self-Esteem

Wikipedia defines self-esteem as a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. As a subjective self evaluation, social scientists have been arguing about the value of positive self-esteem for the past 20 years.

However, if you define positive self-esteem as the sense of self worth resulting from making the right choices and doing the right thing, then its value becomes much clearer. In his book, ‘Make Peace With Anyone‘, Dr. David Lieberman lays out a very clear case for the power of self-esteem:
“We need to love ourselves in order to feel good about who we are. This love is called self-esteem. Self-respect is the gateway to self-esteem. When we make good choices in life to do what is right over what is easy, over that which only makes us look good, we gain self-respect…

When we don’t make the right choice, its because we are not full and complete in ourselves. We are either giving in to a body impulse or an ego drive. A body impulse can be overeating or sleeping in excess. An ego drive can run the gambit from making a joke at someone’s expense to working to buy a car that you cannot afford. And what happens when we do this? We get angry at ourselves…

Our respect for ourselves, in short, determines the amount of respect we crave from others and our need to push for control and dominance. We all give in to our body and our ego sometimes. But depending on how frequently and recently we did that, depending on the overall proportion of giving in to taking charge, that is the key to our response to outside conflict…

When you are in a situation where you feel disrespected [or controlled], it causes a negative response because the outside world, through your ego, is your only source of psychological support or nourishment. The more a person is in control of himself, the greater his self-respect and the higher his self-esteem. And vice versa.”

Good choices leading to self-respect leading to positive self-esteem is a path worth following. And I don’t think any self-respecting social scientist would disagree with the wisdom of making good choices. But there is still room to discuss what constitutes making the right choices.

Posted in Articles, Growth, Happiness