The Price Of Fallacious Self-Esteem

How many times over the years have we heard the experts tout building a child's self-esteem as a cure for all of the childhood trials and tribulations? Too many, by my count.

The problem with the attempt to cure the self-esteem deficit is that it created even bigger problems.

These investments in self-esteem paid off royally, according to a report, “Egos Inflating Over Time.” Jean Twenge of San Diego State University and a team of psychologists combed through the answers of 16,475 college students nationwide who took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory survey between 1982 and 2006. Their conclusion: Today’s American youth are the most self-absorbed since we’ve studied the subject. “We need to stop endlessly repeating, ‘You’re special,’ and having children repeat that back,” Twenge told the Associated Press. “Kids are self-centered enough already.”

It turns out that self-esteem is overrated. By building self-esteem through false praise or making sure that no one is ever seen as losing, kids get an overblown idea of their self worth and come to have unrealistic expectations about what is owed to them. It's usually one hell of a big letdown when reality smacks them in the face and they find out that they aren't all that special after all.

To give you an idea of how unimportant self-esteem is in the grander scheme of things, there are plenty of inmates sitting on death row that have great self-esteem. It's not a great endorsement for the idea.

If I had the choice of flying in an airliner whose pilot has great self-esteem versus a pilot that really knows what he/she is doing, give me the pilot with the experience any day.

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