The common pop-psych approach to raising self-esteem has always seemed nonsensical to me. Sure, being positive with our children and teaching them optimism are likely to help them have a positive, optimistic outlook toward life in general, including how they see themselves. But the idea of continual praise (earned or not), a barrage of feel-good phrases, and removal of all competition and disappointment — what I call “puppy dog self-esteem, akin to patting a child on the head and saying, “good girl” or “good boy” all day long — seem just stupid. Not to mention the approach assumes the kid is a complete idiot who has no idea when things actually go wrong.
Through two sources I read over a decade ago, my thoughts were crystalized.
- “Who Put the Self in Self Esteem” in This People magazine
- Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem: Twelve Keys to Finding Peace by Ester Rasband
In a nutshell, I don’t think self-esteem can be find by working toward it. I believe it comes as a by-product of esteem for others and by knowing that we are children of God.
But in lesson 58 of the 100 Day Challenge, I was pleasantly surprised (again) at the uncommon sense presented.
Doing good begins to the be same as feeling good. The periods of emptiness when we search for the meaning of it all, begin to fill with acts of kindness.
Profound and so, so true. Look outside yourself and to the needs of others to find peace and happiness within.
Join me in the 100 Day Challenge!