Tag: Self-esteem (home)

Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves.

permalink source: Nathaniel Branden
tags: Character, Spiritual Formation, Self-esteem

What are the four degrees of love? First, we love ourselves for our own sake; since we are unspiritual and of the flesh we cannot have an interest in anything that does not relate to ourselves. When we begin to see that we cannot subsist by ourselves, we begin to seek God for our own sakes. This is the second degree of love; we love God, but only for our own interests. But if we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer, and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience. We enter into a sweet familiarity with God, and by tasting how sweet the Lord is we pass into the third degree of love so that now we love God, not for our own sake, but for himself. It should be noted that in this third degree we will stand still for a very long time ... Blessed are we who experience the fourth degree of love wherein we love ourselves for God's sake. Such experiences are rare and come only for a moment. In a manner of speaking, we lose ourselves as though we did not exist, utterly unconscious of ourselves and emptied of ourselves. If for even a moment we experience this kind of love, we will then know the pain of having to return to this world and its obligations as we are recalled from the state of contemplation. In turning back to ourselves we will feel as if we are suffering as we return into the mortal state in which we were called to live. But during those moments we will be of one mind with God, and our wills in one accord with God. The prayer, 'Thy will be done', will be our prayer and our delight. Just as a little drop of water mixed with a lot of wine seems to entirely lose identity as it takes on the taste and colour of wine; just as iron, heated and glowing, looks very much like fire, having lost its original appearance; just as air flooded with the light of the sun is transformed into the same splendour of the light so that it appears to be light itself, so it is like for those who melt away from themselves and are entirely transfused into the will of God. This perfect love of God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength will not happen until we are no longer compelled to think about ourselves…. Only then can the soul attend to God completely… it is within God's power to give such an experience to whom he wills, and it is not attained by our own efforts. --From On the Love of God St Bernard of Clairvaux

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Love, Self-esteem

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2002144948_selfesteem08.html For years, building a child's self-esteem was considered one of parenting's highest goals. Now the phrase is so linked with the feel-good movement that "in some quarters, self-esteem has a negative connotation," said Robert Brooks, a psychology professor at Harvard Medical School. "Some people think self-esteem is about letting kids do whatever they want and never letting them face adversity," said Brooks, co-author of "Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope and Optimism in Your Child." He switched his emphasis from self-esteem to resiliency since that offers "less opportunity for distortion." Self-esteem can be an empty value if it's not tempered with a sense of responsibility and social awareness, experts say. "Drug dealers and violent criminals usually feel good about themselves because they control their environment," said Rich Catalano, director of the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington. "You probably know people with good self-esteem that you can't stand. That's not really the kind of person we want to encourage." A wide review of self-esteem studies, published in a 2003 edition of the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, found both the highest and lowest rates of cheating and bullying in different sub-categories of high self-esteem. "Self-esteem comes out to a zero if you include both kinds of [negative and positive] behavior," Catalano said. "It's really about how you get to feeling good about yourself." ... The review, led by Florida State University professor Roy Baumeister, concluded studies haven't shown good self-esteem improves academic, personal or professional achievement. Doing well in those areas, however, helps people value themselves more. Confusing cause-and-effect in this arena could backfire. ... The focus on "loving me because I'm me" ignored important values such as loyalty, honesty and compassion, Elliott said. He notes that people with low or very high self-esteem actually share a prominent trait: They're self-absorbed. Any attempt to boost these kids' self view just encourages more navel gazing, he said.

permalink source: The Seattle Times, "Self-esteem is important — but in balance with resiliency, social awareness" by Stephanie Dunnewind
tags: Pride, Self-esteem

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-baumeister25jan25,1,1775592.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions&ctrack=1&cset=true Roy F. Baumeister, a professor in the department of psychology at Florida State University, is the author of "The Cultural Animal," just published by Oxford University Press. Does low self-esteem lie at the root of all human suffering, failure and evil? When I ran my first research study on self-esteem in 1973, that certainly seemed to be the case. Psychologists everywhere were persuaded that if only we could help people to accept and love themselves more, their problems would gradually vanish and their lives would flourish. They would even treat each other better. Not surprisingly, California led the way, establishing a task force for exploring ways to boost healthy self-esteem to solve personal and social problems. The task force members — like many of us — were undeterred by the weakness and ambiguity of the evidence suggesting a benefit in boosting self-esteem; we all believed the data would come along in good time. Then-Assemblyman John Vasconcellos (and many other experts) predicted that self- esteem could solve, or at least help solve, such problems as crime, teen pregnancy, pollution, school failure and underachievement, drug abuse and domestic violence. (Vasconcellos even expressed the hope that higher self-esteem would one day help balance the state budget — a prospect predicated on the observation that people with high self-regard earn more than others and therefore pay more in taxes.) A generation — and many millions of dollars — later, it turns out we may have been mistaken. Five years ago, the American Psychological Society commissioned me and several other experts to wade with an open mind through the enormous amount of published research on the subject and to assess the benefits of high self-esteem. Here are some of our disappointing findings. High self- esteem in schoolchildren does not produce better grades. (Actually, kids with high self-esteem do have slightly better grades in most studies, but that's because getting good grades leads to higher self-esteem, not the other way around.) In fact, according to a study by Donald Forsyth at Virginia Commonwealth University, college students with mediocre grades who got regular self-esteem strokes from their professors ended up doing worse on final exams than students who were told to suck it up and try harder. Self-esteem doesn't make adults perform better at their jobs either. Sure, people with high self-esteem rate their own performance better — even declaring themselves smarter and more attractive than their low self-esteem peers — but neither objective tests nor impartial raters can detect any difference in the quality of work. Likewise, people with high self-esteem think they make better impressions, have stronger friendships and have better romantic lives than other people, but the data don't support their self-flattering views. If anything, people who love themselves too much sometimes annoy other people by their defensive or know-it-all attitudes. Self-esteem doesn't predict who will make a good leader, and some work (including that of psychologist Robert Hogan writing in the Harvard Business Review) has found humility rather than self-esteem to be a key trait of successful leaders. It was widely believed that low self-esteem could be a cause of violence, but in reality violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves. They turn violent toward others who fail to give them the inflated respect they think they deserve. Nor does high self-esteem deter people from becoming bullies, according to most of the studies that have been done; it is simply untrue that beneath the surface of every obnoxious bully is an unhappy, self-hating child in need of sympathy and praise. High self-esteem doesn't prevent youngsters from cheating or stealing or experimenting with drugs and sex. (If anything, kids with high self-esteem may be more willing to try these things at a young age.) There were a few areas where higher self-esteem seemed to bring some benefits. For instance, people with high self- esteem are generally happier and less depressed than others, though we can't quite prove that high self-esteem prevents depression or causes happiness. Young women with high self- esteem seem less susceptible to eating disorders. In some studies (though not all), people with high self-esteem bounce back from misfortune and trauma faster than others. High self-esteem also promotes initiative. People who have it are more likely to speak up in a group, persist in the face of failure, resist other people's advice or pressure and strike up conversations with strangers. Of course, initiative can cut both ways: One study on bullying found that self-esteem was high among the bullies and among the people who intervened to resist them. Low self-esteem marked the victims of bullying. In short, despite the enthusiastic embrace of self-esteem, we found that it conferred only two benefits. It feels good and it supports initiative. Those are nice, but they are far less than we had once hoped for, and it is very questionable whether they justify the effort and expense that schools, parents and therapists have put into raising self-esteem. After all these years, I'm sorry to say, 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

permalink source: LA Times, Jan 25, 2005 COMMENTARY "The Lowdown on High Self-Esteem" by Roy F. Baumeister,
tags: Pride, Self-esteem