Is “self-esteem” killing us?

Therapists who think and work with their clients in terms of “achieving a higher measure of self-esteem” or a higher conditional positive self-image may be misguided.  It is not more realistic and helpful to teach them how to attain self-acceptance (or unconditional positive regard)?

For example, a “good person” is one that is alive and is sincere, honest or authentic in what they do. As long as they are themselves they have good value. Three ways to insure one’s self-acceptance is to:

1)      Never rate yourself – just your behavior.

2)      Develop confidence in the things that you value and allow you to be imperfect in those things – just as everyone human is.

3)      Develop assertive responses to others criticisms or judgments  (whether it is directly to them – or just an assertive response in your head) when needed.

The disease of self-rating leads to either feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem, guilt, or depression. On the flip side, it can also lead to beliefs of superiority, vanity and conceitedness (and in these cases it is very difficult for people to have a close relationship with you or for you to be happy or satisfied with others).

The “self” is a sum of all the good and bad judgments that can be made about your traits and behaviors – (there are so many there to look at) that you as an entity cannot be rated – only the numerous things about you can be. Always separate the rating of you from the behavior.