Jason Joy

This conversation is closed.

The central role of self-esteem in our lives.

I'm fascinated about the big role self-esteem plays in our lives. it was probably just created to know your position in our ancient tribes and to avoid fighting a stronger male and dying. but like we have come up with a lot of strategies to cheat evolution (imagination and future- forecast as imaginary fights instead of real ones ) and our circuits wired in our brain (eg. television as living other lifes), we have now lots of methods to satisfy this need to feel worthy which in the beginning evolved to push us to climb higher in hierarchy.
Comedy: isnt comedy, jokes all about laughing about people more stupid / poor / ugly... than us or bring higher positioned people back to earth. istn laughing the relief, that other people are worse than us or not better than us. so comedy is just abouth laughing at other people and therefore feeling better about themselves. So for me comedy, mobbing, casting shows at the beginning serve the same need: satisfy the need to feel good about himself.
i think it also plays a huge role in our social life: men dont want to have one-night-stands for sex, but for feeling more self-worthy as a man. woman dress themself up and go out for being looked at by man, then rejecting them and even complaining about the behaviour they themself evoked, all for feeling better. man and women define their self-worth by the partners they can get. sex often isnt the main driver, but ego and social acceptance.
if we look at the success of social media (facebook as the second-biggest homepage after google), it shows what pressure and pain gets evoked by no social acceptance in real life. persons have to collect imaginative friends and check every seconds their page for the need, the desperate need of social acceptance.
it drives also the job market, the drive of man to make career, to get social acceptance and impress woman.

  • thumb
    Jan 8 2012: Valuing yourself is the major protective factor. Unfortunately, some people never feel valued even at the start of life when they are at their most vulnerable. Survival then depends on them being secondary to others thus they find it difficult to see themselves as worthy of respect, both from others and themselves. Self-esteem, if nurtured and developed can equip us with resilience but it needs a strong start, which all too often is undermined by criticism.
    • thumb

      . .

      • +1
      Jan 8 2012: Self esteem is paramount to a fruitful human life. Society only benefits from having constructive adults. So making children genuinely feel valued is the obligation of every grown up.

      Thank you Sue for putting it so concisely.
      • Jan 12 2012: Question. How do we protect self-esteem in a society where people aim to tear it down for their own benefits? I've seen it happen so many times that it's depressing and frustrating because I can't imagine why anybody would want to do that.

        Self-esteem is such a hard thing to build and even harder to gain once its been lost.
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2012: You need skills... Preferably, ones that pay the bills. Like, Numchuck skills, or bow staff skills... hehe.

          In all reality though, real mastery, is a vital part of self esteem, and one lacking in modern society. I went on a tour of Italy with my parents when I was a teenager, and they took us by the Murano Glass factory. One of the oldest and most profitable businesses in the city, a huge factory where they still blow beautiful complex glass sculptures, and glassware, by hand.

          Pay is great... Benefits, retirement plan... The kids just don't want to do it, it takes almost a decade to master, and it's a tough job. No one stays with the company, so it's just a few left over 40-50 year olds working over time. Doing anything really well takes a lot of work, and patience, that people just don't have anymore.

          Once you have truly mastered anything, warehousing, plastic molding, 3d CAD, law, literature... whatever... Put a decade into something you love, and feel truly confident in your understanding of every aspect of what you do... Then you will have a self esteem that is very difficult to injure.

          Learn to play an instrument... It takes years to get adequate... then you never forget, and never want to stop. It's good for the soul. Learn a couple songs and play on a street corner, or at a park, you'll be surprised how generous people are. Feel comfortable knowing that you do at least one thing absolutely wonderfully... I think neuro scientists will try and tell you it takes you 10,000 hours... but it's worth it.

          No better job security, than being irreplacable. No better stepping stone to self esteem than job/food/roof/electricity security... Well maybe love security... but love's always a gamble, and like anything in the world with real mass, love appears to require a colossal amount of energy, simply to exist for even the briefest moment, in time and space.
  • thumb
    Jan 8 2012: Hi Juliette, I've seen so many children crumble when faced with negativity from the very people that should be most sensitive to their needs. Thanks for your kind comments.
  • thumb
    Dec 24 2011: To guard against the de-energizing effects of negative assessments of one's self by others, and against the false postivite effects of flattery. Keep it real. Know thyself.
  • Dec 18 2011: I agree with you, Jason, that self-esteem is exceedingly important in everyone's life. You are on to something important here.
  • thumb
    Dec 17 2011: for me the guy ritchie film "revolver" is really fascinating, where the ego is the devil all inside us. but its also a main force. i think sigmund freud saw unsatisfied self-esteem as the driver for people wanting to get famous, so self-esteem is the driver of art, culture, dictatorships, science and most we achieved as humanity in the good and the bad way.
    should we take the buddha way and try to forget about our selfes? Should we try to channel this force in every human with the right incentives to get good things out of it (like wikipedia)? should we just accept our egocentricity and even thank it for being the main driver of our achievements?
    how else could we use this basic need for achieving things good for humanity? what do you think?
    • thumb
      Dec 19 2011: In general I agree with you... and "Revolver" is a hell of a flick... but I would argue that there are two ego. One based in the self, and one based in how we fit into society. You seem to ignore the one based internally.

      For example, you talk about how self esteem, can protect you from attacking a stronger male and dying... I would argue, simply, that I have an entirely different type of self esteem. I tend to call this a self actuallized ego... I wouldn't attack a stronger male, and die, for no reason... but I am a human being and I deserve great things. I deserve free will, free speech, the right to protest my government, own a little piece of land to raise a family on etc... If a stronger man, will kill me, if I don't trade those freedoms to him... Then I would rather attack him, and die, than let him make me his subject.

      "Give me liberty, or give me death"... To me that is the rallying cry of every human being who has ever had "real" self esteem. Real self esteem has nothing to do with your place in society, it has to do with your sense of self despite your place in society.