Look, I get it. You want to have a high self-esteem.
I mean, who wants to be labeled as having low self-esteem?
And it makes sense. The strategy is to boost your self-esteem in order to have a better life.
But, how good is that strategy in real life?
Let me tell you, and argue with you, that it’s not that effective actually.
I agree that you should not have a low self-esteem. But at the same time, you should not try to have a high self-esteem indiscriminately.
In fact, a very high self-esteem is at the end of the spectrum and the low one is at the other end.
Both are extremes that you should avoid.
This may make some people squirm and feel uncomfortable. After all, what kind of self-esteem are you going to have if it’s not high or low?
That’s a common question in a world (minds?) that classifies everything into black or white.
Well, sometimes things don’t have to (and can’t) be black or white. There is a very needed gray area in the middle that balances the whole thing.
Let me explain to you in this article why you shouldn’t go after that high self-esteem (and what to go after instead).
The negative self-esteem that you shouldn’t have (and why)
When someone has a poor self-esteem, here is what that usually means:
They have negative and disempowering beliefs about themselves. And because of that, they suffer from many problems as a direct result of looking down at one’s self.
Some people are aware that they have a self-esteem issue. They know that they look down at themselves.
Other people, however, are not aware that they have a poor self-esteem. They just suffer from the consequences.
The last group is the worst because they lack self-awareness in addition to their self-esteem issues. That will keep the problem there unsolved.
This way of looking at yourself is bad because it cripples you. It makes you imprisoned and incapable of not only self-development but also normal living.
It will make everything harder because you are living with your worst enemies.
The high self-esteem that you shouldn’t have (and why)
I have problems with positive thinking.
And I have problems with those who want everything to be positive and good all the time.
Just as you can’t always be feeling good, just as life can’t always be positive and good, you can’t expect that you should have a self-esteem that is high all the time.
The negative is needed. In fact, the negative is unavoidable. And it’s not about not having negative; it’s about how you handle that negative.
And in fact, people who have a high self-esteem that contains nothing but the positive have nothing but an inflated ego. They usually feel entitled and feel they are better than other people.
Usually, they are:
- Narcissists: thinking that they are more way important than other people.
- Oblivious and blind: oblivious to their own flaws and shortcomings. As a result, they don’t improve or grow or actually fix any of their problems.
- Both! That’s the worst type.
The same way a lot of shit happens when you allow too much negativity into your self-esteem, a lot of shit happens when you refuse to let the negative finds its way into your self-esteem.
Shitty personalities develop both ways: they either have too much negativity or no negativity at all, which is just as harmful.
And actually, the absolute high self-esteem is an illusion; it’s unattainable; it’s a facade.
It’s much more like a perfect-image that is not reachable by imperfect creatures. And it’s a trap; it’ll kill your personal development and growth.
We already have our dark sides, our weak moments, our own mistakes, our own shit, our own insecurities, our own shortcomings, and our own blind-spots.
Some of that is here to stay.
Some of that, as bad as it is, is actually important for you in order to grow and become a better person. Pretending that the negative isn’t there will only make it grow bigger.
A high self-esteem that makes you an entitled, deluded, egoistic, and oblivious person is not a healthy self-esteem at all. (In best cases, just oblivious and not able to grow because you don’t admit your negative traits while being a pain in the ass for those around you).
Here is what healthy and what you should pursue instead:
The healthy self-esteem that you must pursue (and why)
That lays somewhere in the middle.
A healthy self-esteem usually consists of the following:
- Good, positive, and empowering beliefs about one’s self.
- Becoming aware of your negative and bad and insecure part without beating yourself up.
- Cultivating the good, positive side and dealing with the negative side the right way …
Dealing with the negative side the right ways means the following:
- Not seeing the bad things as indicators that you are bad or not good enough or not loved. We all have them anyway! Instead, …
- Seeing the bad things as opportunities for growth. Mistakes that you need to correct. Fallen walls that you need to build. Or maybe insecurities and shortcomings that you need to accept and live with (if they can’t be changed). And …
- Seeing them as imperfections that you will do your best to improve on what can be improved at, and you’ll live imperfectly with the rest of them. Without the feeling that they make you less of a person because you have them.
In brief, admitting the wrong, fixing what can be fixed, accepting the rest, and doing all that without ever letting this “wrong” define us or making us believe that we are worthless.
That is not easy.
I understand that I’m telling you to look at the ugly things about yourself and consider them. And then, to not tie them to your self-worth.
For some people, it might mean admitting that they have problems with their social life. Basically, socially-awkward and shy. Yeah, ugly names.
But it’s OK. They work on improvement shame-free.
Those negative beliefs about themselves are parts of their self-esteem.
But then, most importantly, they should not consider those beliefs as proofs that they are bad and fundamentally broken in ways that make them unworthy of anything worthwhile in this world.
And from that place, they should start working on fixing their social skills problems without being shame-ridden. (With other problems and negative things that they can’t control or can’t change, they should start accepting them and living with them).
This will lead to a healthy self-esteem eventually.
They will end up developing positive beliefs about themselves. All that while handling the negative beliefs effectively. (Improvement, or acceptance, without feeling unworthy.)
This is the type of personality that will be secure about its positive traits and also negative traits.
This is the type of personality that will always keep developing and improving in a healthy way without feeling like it worth nothing.
This type of person might not be feeling good all the time, but generally they feel worthy and work on improving and growing. Not perfect, but yet still feel worthy. Secure about having good traits and also secure about having bad and negative traits.
Improving what can be improved and accepting the rest.
All that while feeling worthy within and not allowing the negative to delude him into the land of overcompensating and entitlement.
But, caution! This might be painful at times to be this way, to expose the negative and handle it. But it’s worth it. A healthy self-image is worth the tears, the fear, the pain, the hard work, and the uncertainty.