THE MYTH OF SELF-ESTEEM
Posted on Sep 24 2011 at 12:00:39 PM in Society & Culture
People talk a lot about raising self-esteem. I think self-esteem is a myth. It is based on doing, not being. You become a human doing instead of a human being. This theory of self-esteem is echoed by Albert Ellis, who created the REBT theory for therapy (rational emotive behavior therapy). This therapy teaches clients about the mind, the feelings, and the behaviors of people and shows them the way to self-acceptance, to unconditional self-love, instead of self-esteem that is based on what we DO. Self-esteem is a trap. If we don't perform as we've been taught or conditioned to, we feel like failures in our lives. In contrast, unconditional self-regard allows us to love ourselves regardless of what we do or who we are.
Self-esteem is one of the most talked about and one of the greatest myths of our time. Are we not worthy of respect just because we are human beings? Do we have to prove to the world, to our friends and our family, that we can jump through hoops they value in order to be regarded as valuable?
Improving ourselves is a worthy cause, and, I believe, one of the reasons we are on this earth. Yet, regardless of what we accomplish, we can still love ourselves. We just need to divorce ourselves from the conditioning from our societies and families. "Is, not become": that is the answer!
Can't a baby be loved and respected? Must he prove to us that he is valuable? The same can be said of older humans. Each person has their trials and their limitations. Does that mean that they should be loved less because they might have impediments that hold them back from accomplishing what we think they should, or what they think they should?
People who claim to be Christians are often guilty (as are non-Christians--but they are taught differently so they are more off-the-hook) of accepting and valuing others depending on what they accomplish in life. According to most Christians, this life is test to see what we can overcome, what we can learn, what we can accomplish. These judgments hold true especially for people who are not related to one another. It seems to be easier to love a child or relative, regardless of what they do in life.
Self-esteem is a myth! Let us stop talking about self-love and acceptance in this way!! Because we "are", we are worthy of love. We must learn to throw away the antiquated ideas of "you are what you do", and supplant them with "you are who you are and worthy of love and respect under any conditions."
Does this concept sound strange to you? Share your thoughts with us. Challenge this concept, if you believe differently!