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Self Esteem is a Disease

discover why self esteem is so crippling

Posted By: TeamTKN

Self Esteem is a Disease

Note: The video that accompanies this post is a fun one, and should absolutely stop what you are doing to watch it 🙂

 

Despite how much fun this episode is, the topic itself has been a major source of pain for me.

 

I have lived paralyzed by the roller coaster of self esteem, needing to perform. Needing constant validation.

 

I remember once admitting to Dr. Kashey that “I have done a lot of dumb stuff to get gold stars.”

 

And I really have. I have acted against my own best interests, my values, my reason all in some backwards attempt to feel good about myself.

 

I 100% believe that self esteem IS a disease. 

 

But if we are going to make these serious accusations against self-esteem, we need to come to terms. For the sake of our conversation:

Self esteem is tying the worth of your being to the outcome of your actions.

It is making value judgments about you are as a person and, based on those judgments, deciding who you will continue to be.

 

We make these judgments based on 2 things

  1. The expectations we have of ourselves
  2. The expectations other people have of us

 

Category 1: Expectations of Ourselves 

We all have expectations of ourselves based on our education, our career path, our hobbies. 

When we achieve in these areas and meet or exceed our expectations, we regard it as “good.”

 

However, when self esteem is involved, this is done in the context of your totality

 

Translation: I have done good things, so I am a good person.

(Feel free to replace good with “great,” “happy,” “successful” or any other affirmative label)

 

In the same vein, when you fail to live up to your expectations, you will regard it as bad.

 

This too is done in the context of your totality

 

Translation: I have done the bad things, so I am a bad person.

(Again you can replace bad with “slow,” “fat,” “stupid,” “weak,” “idiot,” “failure.”)

 

Category 2: Expectations of Others

When you meet the expectations of others and temporarily satisfy their conditional approval of your existence, you get the gold star.

 

It feels good. YOU are good

 

Again we are trading in your totality. 

 

But in that same vein, when you so rudely violate those same expectations—even mistakenly—it is bad. YOU are bad (slow, fat, stupid, weak, insert your favorite condemnation here)

 

When your only outcomes are 1) meet expectations and enjoy being a “good” person or 2) fail to meet expectations and accept that you are an idiot, your options are limited.

 

YOUR OPTIONS FOR MAINTAINING SELF ESTEEM

Option 1) Eliminate Risk

You can preserve your self esteem by eliminating risk. 

After all risks, by definition, have a chance of violating expectations. 

 

However, taking risks is an essential ingredient for learning. That means, taking risks is an essential ingredient for human development

 

We may want to charge into a venture with the confident cry, “failure is not an option!” But this quip is, as Dr. Kashey likes to say,”99% right and 100% wrong.” 

 

Failure is not an option. Failure is a requirement.

 

If we eliminate risk, we also eliminate growth. And stunting our growth destroys our self worth. 

 

Option 2) Be perfect.

 

This is absurd. Let’s move on.

 

Self esteem is temporary

There is an impulsive understanding that self-esteem is temporary.

 

I was always a high performer during my formative years, and it made it easy to think of myself as a successful person.

 

It also left me constantly on edge and on guard:

  • Against any imperfection
  • Against any situation I could not control
  • Against introducing any new variables into my life

 

I was constantly at risk that a single mis-step could pull the self-worth rug right out from under me. I couldn’t afford to try anything new, to be caught learning. My self-worth hung on a fragile thread of the last thing I accomplished.

 

It is in a person’s nature to understand deep down that positive feelings are temporary. Our experience validates their transience. 

When you allow your judgments of yourself to rest on your ability to continuously meet expectations, you literally train yourself to be edgy, anxious, concerned whenever you feel good about something. 

 

The Vicious Cycle

And here is where self esteem really gets spicy.

 

When you tie your value as a human to the outcome of your actions, it sends you right into a vicious cycle.

 

Now you HAVE TO perform to maintain your self esteem, but that pressure leads to performance anxiety. Your performance anxiety INCREASES your chances of failure. Your poor performance eats away at your self worth while increasing your anxiety and pressure. And around the merry-go round we go. 

Dr. Trevor Kashey explains how self esteem is a disease.

Go through this nasty loop enough times, and you will have exhausted your stores of self worth, and will be too depressed to generate the positive action needed to get any more.

 

Your need for self esteem cripples your chances of even getting it.

 

And on the off chance that you do get it, you will only be anxious about losing it.

 

You literally teach yourself to hate feeling good about anything, especially yourself.

 

The exception to this would be if you are perfect. But that would make you quite a particularly strange creature indeed.

 

So what’s the solution?

Stay tuned for the next episode.

***********************Sneak Peak************************

Exchanging Self-Esteem for Self-Respect

*************************************************************

But in the meantime, if you want to take stock on your own relationship with self-esteem, here are some exercises to help you reflect. 

  1. Complete this sentence 10 times with things you believe about yourself
    I am___________
  2. Pick 2 statements from the list that stir the strongest response. Write out why you believe the statement to be true.
  3. Review your list again. Are there any statements that you believe about yourself right now, but disbelieve under different circumstances.
  4. Reflect on a time you passed on an opportunity you wanted to pursue due to risk. What were the risks involved? Are you satisfied with your reasoning?
  5. Reflect on a time that failure contributed to your growth. 
  6. If you were not afraid of failure, what would you do?

Reflect on these questions, stay tuned for the next installment and check out more articles.

Dr. Trevor Kashey

If we eliminate risk, we also eliminate growth. And stunting our growth destroys our self worth.

Depressive Self Image

  • You HAVE TO perform to maintain your self esteem.
  • But that pressure leads to performance anxiety.
  • Your performance anxiety INCREASES your chances of failure.
  • Your poor performance eats away at your self worth while increasing your anxiety and pressure.
  • And around the merry-go round we go. 

About Jacquelyn Laporte

Jacquelyn LaPorte has had the privilege of working with TKN since 2018. The journey has been a wild one, but it has ushered her into the driver’s seat of her own life. She learned how to ask questions, answer them honestly and act on the answers. She has used this process to become a better parent to her 3 kids, a better wife, a better boss, a better learner, a better human. She believes that no experience is wasted, (not even majoring in a dead language with no career plan😊 or starting a business with 0 entrepreneurial spirit). Each experience gives the gift of new eyes. Perfect choices are not required, and that makes her free to choose.

 

“There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, and every one of them sufficient.”

-Marilynne Robinson-

Trevor Kashey Nutrition

Team TKN

Team TKN cultivates, curates and shares Dr. Trevor Kasheys’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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