1 reason why self-esteem programs kill self-esteem in the long run
Ralfi’s “sitting on the rock” thinking look.
Kindergarten, school and even at work you will bump into self-esteem programs designed to raise it. What a disservice it is to the people and mentors involved in programs like this. Simply put, when the primary focus is that everybody wins in just about everything, then the end results is that no one really ever wins and you end up teaching folks how to be egotistical, or worse yet, narcissistic.
Programs like this at its core are designed to turn challenges and setbacks the individual encounters into something positive. In short, negative feedback is shunned and there is a trophy in the future for everyone.
There are some key issues with this approach. While there is undoubtedly a short term positive impact on the people whom are affected by the praise, what happens when the external motivation gets removed? There are no well-meaning teachers and parents hovering over the “short ones” when the college and working life starts. The younger the children, the greater the challenges later in life because they have been groomed to expect praise for everything they do. Danger is that they focus more on themselves than others.
Issues, problems, failures, etc, call it what you like, you need them in order to increase self-awareness, compassion and empathy. Without focusing on others and your surrounding environment, the individual loses solid grounding potentially turning into a attention and praise seeking rock star.
It is the skills you learn and the experience that comes from first-hand knowledge how things work, and when they do not work out for you. Think of how many hard knocked lessons you will never forget, because you learned them the hard way? Did you not feel great when you mastered them? In fact it is the new skill you learned, or the experience and competencies that you picked up, that gives you inner satisfaction and ultimately self-esteem.
Building up self-esteem with programs that focus only on self-esteem are not long term sustainable. A sports game is a game with rules and when you lose, you lose. At the Olympics there were three winners at each event – all others won the experience what it is like participating at such a great event. When you have a theater group you can either act well, or you should take an ensemble role, or you need to be part of the audience. You think this is harsh? Well, why do you think American Idol’s Simon Cowell was so controversial and yet so successful? He told the candidates quite a bit of the hard truth as he saw it. It was genuine feedback though.
Would you not rather have this, sit on a rock, think hard, make correction, and move on with your life doing something else? Nothing is worse than building up a fake world and false reality. Do not waste your time and do not do this to others either (Click to tweet this).