On self-esteem, self-worth, and identity.
This subject has often plagued me as people discuss the importance of self-esteem and the need to establish your own sense of self-worth. It bothers me because I see the argument as too low for anyone to truly aim for. It is beneath the nature of every person to draw their identity solely from within themselves. We have so many external stimuli that affect our identity expression, and we have so many intrinsically abstract and esoteric reasons for believing what we do about ourselves, that seeking some kind of gain from self-esteem and self-worth seems absurdly derogatory to me. I think perhaps if a person does not have any other regulatory factor to help them see who they are, it might be a good starting point, but I have only seen the results of arrogance and unreal expectation develop from this course of thinking. I may be far off-base with my understanding of this concept, but it really means nothing to me. I don’t care what I think of myself in regard to my own self-produced worth and esteem. It doesn’t change who I am. Even if you consider this from a non-religious perspective, most people only represent themselves in a way that garners support from other people. Does anyone ever really determine their identity by looking in the mirror and recognizing the plain facts? I think we look in the mirror and try to envision how others will see us, and then we represent ourselves to them from that standpoint. At any rate, I had a university assignment that wanted me to answer questions in regard to this way of thinking, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was the main aggressor to understanding it. In response, I could only plainly state what I really believe, since it is based on my real self-identity. I probably sound arrogant and/or absurd to most of my colleagues, but at the very least, I was honest. Here is part of my answer. Let me know what you think. Comment on what I missed, what I got wrong, and what makes you think I’m nuts. I tried to create a roadmap to how I view myself that wasn’t aggressively religious and that might make sense to anybody from any background.