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How to Build Self-Esteem (And Does it Even Matter?) | Mark Manson

Self-esteem to measure success

During the 1960s, psychologists started studying what made some people more successful than others. They believed the answer to be self-esteem.

Self-esteem was a measurement of how a person felt about themselves. If you have confidence in yourself and can accomplish your goal, you have high self-esteem. If you feel unaccomplished with little success, you have low self-esteem.

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How to Build Self-Esteem (And Does it Even Matter?) | Mark Manson

How to Build Self-Esteem (And Does it Even Matter?) | Mark Manson

https://markmanson.net/self-esteem

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Key Ideas

Self-esteem to measure success

During the 1960s, psychologists started studying what made some people more successful than others. They believed the answer to be self-esteem.

Self-esteem was a measurement of how a person felt about themselves. If you have confidence in yourself and can accomplish your goal, you have high self-esteem. If you feel unaccomplished with little success, you have low self-esteem.

Promoting self-esteem

The theory is that if everyone has high self-esteem, then everyone will be successful and live a happy life. If a society was inoculated with high self-esteem, it would end poverty, crime, and violence.

But, one should take into account that high self-esteem could be the result of success, not necessarily the cause. Also, thinking that only one thing can explain how to be successful, is probably naive.

Self-esteem and success

There’s actually very little correlation between self-esteem and success.  Research on self-esteem strongly correlates with how good people feel, in general

Self-esteem is complex and can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what is measured. 

Healthy vs toxic forms of self-esteem

Researchers have found that there are different types of self-esteem. There are two broad categories:

  • Healthy self-esteem. You base the way you feel on the things you can control in your life.
  • Toxic self-esteem. You base your self-worth on external, uncontrollable things in your life that can make your life fragile.

Toxic forms of self-esteem

Toxic types of self-esteem arise when we pursue self-esteem for its own sake, instead of letting it be a byproduct of being a well-adjusted human being: trying to feel good about something instead of becoming good at something.

Setbacks are inevitable in life, but that is what grows us. If we believe that we always deserve to feel good regardless of circumstances, we can develop a delusional sense of entitlement.

How to spot toxic self-esteem

Toxic self-esteem is easy to notice. One can see a disconnect between how the person sees himself, and how the world sees him.

It is your coworker who’s incompetent in their job but takes credit for other people’s work.

Those with a toxic self-esteem feel good about themselves but are very fragile. In order to keep up their self-esteem, they need to constantly feed it.

Lasting high self-esteem

Self-esteem is how we think we are doing in our own worlds. It is made up of an internal valuation of ourselves. It cannot be an objective assessment, as we decide what our metrics are.

Prioritize your good self-esteem (for instance, how honest or compassionate you are) over the toxic ones (how nice your shoes are.)

Accept your low self-esteem

First, give yourself the headspace to work on a solution by accepting your feelings surrounding your low self-esteem. Your feelings are temporary. Accept them for the moment. Don't cover them up. Don't try to overcompensate for them.

Put your focus on the skills you need to acquire, not on how you feel.

Practice self-compassion

People with low self-esteem tend to be hard on themselves and take everything very personally.

When you catch yourself being very critical of yourself, stop. Take a step back and see the situation from the viewpoint of a good friend. Ask yourself if it is really that bad. Remember that there are things you can't control.

Accept what you lack

True self-esteem is not thinking that you lack nothing - it's being comfortable with the fact that you're not great at everything. Accept it and move on.

Accept yourself for who you are with all your flaws and peculiarities.

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Self-esteem

Self-esteem is the subjective evaluation of your own worth. There are two sources to fulfill this need:

  1. The need for respect from others that is obtained from recognition and admiration.
  2. The need for self-respect in the form of self-love, skill or aptitude. If you buy things because you want to prove yourself, you will fulfill your need for self-love.
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    Self-actualization is the realization of one's uniquely creative, intellectual, or social potential. It is a very personal experience.

    When their need for self-esteem is fulfilled, where they have accepted themselves for the good and the bad, people move on to self-actualization.