We’ve all been taught that self-esteem is incredibly important to our well being.
Most likely this push to make kids feel better about themselves was well intentioned, but in reality that kind of thinking ends up potentially causing more damage than not.
On the surface, it sounds appealing. Think highly of yourself and you’ll feel great and go on to do great things. But in reality, thinking highly of yourself, without grounds for doing so, will actually lead to emptiness because it’s unmerited. And we as flawed human beings will always find a way to mess up. We’ll bungle relationships, at work, with strangers. We can only fool ourselves with false praise for so long before it begins to fall apart.
Also, when we focus on self-esteem, we have the completely wrong disposition. If we’re always looking inward and primarily concerned with ourselves, we will become selfish. And when that focus is combined with the learned behavior of self praise, we become selfish and arrogant. Those character traits aren’t exactly a recipe for success in life.
In a recent video for Prager U, writer Matt Walsh explains in detail why we should “stop thinking” about self-esteem altogether.