Please see below recent self-esteem-related change.
- What's New? - Self-Esteem
- What's Changing? - Anxiety
- What's Changing? - Depression
- What's Changing? - Fear
- What's Changing? - Health
- What's Changing? - Therapy
- What's Changing? - Wellbeing
- Perfectionism is typically represented by the "make your weakness a strength" sort of answer in interviews. However, in cultures that place high value on discipline, there can often be a darker side to the trait. Psychologist Margaret Rutherford looked at the thin veil between perfectionism that can be positive and that which becomes destructive.
- For The School of Life, it is a measure of our collective delusion that we are so ready to be proud of high-achievers and so slow to detect the wound that powers them on. It would be a less gilded world, but also a far happier one, in which we were readier to reassure the self-hating titans of success that they were worthy of love all along.
- In a survey, 55 per cent of women and 42 per cent of men reported some measure of dissatisfaction with at least one element of their appearance. The degree to which people are concerned about their bodies ranges widely, from not liking one particular feature to a serious mental health condition called body dysmorphic disorder, in which people focus obsessively on their appearance. People with the disorder often limit their social interactions and frequently experience other mental health problems such as eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder. Body image concerns are not merely superficial, but can affect many aspects of people’s lives. This means that developing a positive body image can have positive consequences for both mental and physical health and wellbeing.
- HBR shared research showing that self-criticism is a poor strategy. When used excessively, it is consistently associated with less motivation, worse self-control, and greater procrastination. In fact, self-criticism shifts the brain into a state of inhibition, which prevents people from taking action to reach their goals. Naming one's inner critic leverages cognitive defusion - a process by which we separate ourselve from our thoughts. Defusion is shown to reduce discomfort, believability, and the stress of negative thoughts. It also promotes psychological flexibility, or the capacity to steady your mind, manage your emotions, and be aware, open, and adaptive to changing demands.
- For The School of Life, self-love is the quality that determines how much we can be friends with ourselves and, day to day, remain on our own side. When we meet a stranger who has things we don’t, how quickly do we feel ourselves pitiful – and how long can we remain assured by the decency of what we have and are? When another person frustrates or humiliates us, can we let the insult go, able to perceive the senseless malice beneath the attack – or are we left brooding and devastated, implicitly identifying with the verdict of our enemies? How much can the disapproval or neglect of public opinion be offset by the memory of the steady attention of few significant people in the past?
- Psyche argues that, from a young age, we learn how to be a good friend to others. In kindergarten or nursery school, we’re taught how to share, cooperate and play. Any child who calls other kids dumb, losers or ‘fart face’ is swiftly scolded or given a time out. All in all, we grow up learning to follow the golden rule: ‘Treat others how you want to be treated.’ Yet many of us receive no guidance on how to be a friend to ourselves. In fact, we might even get counterproductive messaging about what it means to treat ourselves with kindness. We might come to believe that being kind towards ourselves is self-indulgent, lazy or weak.
- Kristin Neff, an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, warned that high self-esteem can result in a kind of fragile narcissism that crumbles under potential failure. “Self-esteem is contingent on success and people liking you, so it is not very stable – you could have it on a good day but lose it on a bad day,” claimed Neff. Many people with high self-esteem even resort to aggression and bullying when their confidence is under threat.
- In his TED Talk “The Psychology of Your Future Self,” Harvard psychologist Dr. Daniel Gilbert explained that a bias that almost all of us have: we tend to think that the person we are today is the person we will always be. Most people, when asked if they are the same person they were 10 years ago, will say no — but we have a much harder time seeing potential for change in the future. Gilbert and others refer to this as the “end of history illusion.” Despite awareness that our past self is clearly different than our present self, we tend to mistakenly think that who we are right now is the “real” and “finished” version of ourselves, and our future self will be basically the same as who we are today.
- New World, Same Humans warns that in 2020, and in the global ‘west’ as traditionally defined, the individual is elevated to a near-kingly status. Brands compete to serve our every desire. Politicians promise to give us what we want. And our culture endlessly tells us the same story: that of the individual protagonist, guided by an inextinguishable light, which is their essential, rational, human self. The central western story is that of the heroic individual. However, as our societies become more advanced and interconnected, they become better at serving any given individual’s preferences. But they also increasingly efface us as individuals, by dwarfing us within a massive and dizzyingly complex social space in which it becomes impossible to feel that we really matter. In 1929 Sigmund Freud published Civilisation and Its Discontents. In that book, he argued that a deep tension was present in the very nature of civilisation itself. We humans, said Freud, have a deep need of civilised forms of life: to keep us safe, and serve our needs. At the same time, though, these forms of life demand that we crush certain crucial and deep-running aspects of ourselves, such as our boundless desire for power over others. Civilisation, then, is paradoxical. It serves us while it enslaves us. We both want it, and don’t want it
- While researchers, notably Myers-Briggs, indicate that around half the global population are introverted, a new study suggests introverts in the workplace may become victims of unconscious bias. The Silent Worker report, by experience management software provider Qualtrics, reveals that just under two thirds of the 1,000 UK workers it questioned, who identified as introverts, believed they were not given the chance to be heard. Just over half also felt their opinions were neither valued nor listened to.
- We almost all have a character inside our minds whom we might call the "inner critic". It tends to pay its visits late at night, it waits until we’re very tired or physically depleted – and it then it starts to whisper vicious and appalling things to us in order to destroy all possibility of peace, self-confidence and self-compassion. It is at base convinced that we shouldn’t really exist – and it’s extremely subtle and inventive about telling us why. It is, in extremis, the inner critic that tells people to go and kill themselves, warns the School of Life, before examining a range of ways we might try to fight off the inner critic.
- IAI News explained how the pursuit of transcendental values defines not just who we are but who we hope we'll become.
- IAI News also considered how the self endures even amid the onset of dementia and memory loss.
- Big Think wrote about how ecotherapy (also referred to as nature therapy) has been proven to be effective and is used in various practices and cultures around the world. While we stroll around the forest, breathing in the fresh air, airborne chemicals like phytoncides (a chemical many plants give off to fight disease) are also entering our system. When this happens, the human body responds by increasing the number of natural killer blood cells (a type of white blood cell) which attack virus-infected cells. In one 2009 study, participants spent 3 days/2 nights in a forested area. Their blood and urine were sampled before, during, and after the trip. Natural killer cell activity measured significantly higher during the days spent in the forest and the effect lasted up to 30 days after the trip. The results of a 10-study analysis proved that both men and women have similar self-esteem improvements after experiencing time spent in nature, and the boost in mood particularly impacted men.
- Human beings are often desirous of many things - both material and emotional. We like to live comfortably and we need emotional relationships with others to fulfil our desires for intimacy and emotional support. Human beings have aspirations, not only for ourselves but for others too, yet it has been demonstrated that a discrepancy between aspiration and achievement leads to a sense of frustration and affects self-image, resulting in low self-esteem.
- Many of us spend our lives believing we need permission. We don’t quite know whom we are asking, and we can’t say precisely what approval would look like, but in an archaic part of our minds, we’re still waiting to be given endorsement for many of our most cherished plans. We want to know from some potent but undefined source that if we act we’ll still be good people, that we won’t be punished, that this is allowed.
- Studies have shown that, at work, women are significantly less self-assured than men and less likely to self-promote or self-advocate, through fear of negative repercussions. Research continues to find there is no gap between performance or ability in men and women; the difference is a matter of self-perception. For women to continue to smash glass ceilings, confidence is just as important as competence.
- One of the questions we ask ourselves in relation to new friends and acquaintances is whether or not they like us. The question feels so significant because, depending on how we answer it in our minds, we will either take steps to deepen the friendship or, as is often the case, immediately make moves to withdraw from it so as to spare ourselves humiliation and embarrassment. We assume that there is a more or less binary answer, that it is wholly in the remit of the other person to settle it – and that there is nothing much we could do to shift the verdict one way or the other. Either someone wants to be our friend – or they don’t. We are hereby failing to apply to other people a basic lesson we can appreciate well enough when we study the functioning of our own judgements: we often don’t know what we think of other people. Our moods hover and sway. There are days when we can see the point of someone and others when their positive sides elude us entirely.
- One of the reasons why our lives are harder than they might be is that most of us have not got a firm handle on the art of mature self-assertion; that is, the ability to put forward our interests in the face of contention in a way that comes across as credible, dignified, serene and effective. For The School of Life, at the root of our failures tends lies one woefully familiar psychological problem above all: self-hatred. It is because we haven’t learnt to love and respect ourselves (indeed, the very concept sounds instinctively alien and somewhat disgusting) that we say nothing, trusting that we have no right to take our own positions seriously.
- Anyone with ambition has ego. People who marshal their skills to meet their goals have ego. Artists, athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs achieve their objectives by harnessing the focus and desire to create and discover. But, too often, argues Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, while ego is necessary for getting ahead, an unhealthy belief in how important you are has the opposite impact and blocks your progress.
- In Awkward, the Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome, Professor and TED speaker Ty Tashiro demonstrated a special faith in awkward people. He urged them to see accepting their oddities and special talents as the doorway to achieving amazing things and explained that high achievers - whom some other people might see as awkward - have the ability to focus intently on a limited area. They search with zeal for answers to questions outside the mainstream.
- A key cause of high anxiety can be self-hatred. People who have grown up not to like themselves very much at all have an above average risk of suffering from extremes of anxiety, for if one doesn’t think one is worthy, it must – by a dastardly logic – follow that the world is permanently and imminently at high risk of punishing one in the way one suspects one deserves. It seems to fit that people may be laughing behind one’s back, that one may soon be sacked or disgraced, that one is an appropriate target for bullying and rejection and that persecution and worse may be heading towards us.
- The School of Life believes that, more than ever, modern life forces us to confront our own mediocrity. Our computers and phones constantly bombard us with news of the achievements of exceptional people: actors winning awards; athletes performing incredible feats; royals being praised for their beauty and philanthropy. As we sit and scroll, we can’t help but feel distinctly ordinary - and inferior - by comparison.
- The School of Life also argues that our culture has tried to project an idea of an organised, poised and polished self, as the standard way most people are, which encourages us to get impatient and disgusted with ourselves when we don’t live up to expectations. We want to shout that we need to buck up, get it together and stop being so weak or so weird. But in fact no one is ever quite normal.The only people we can mistake for 'normal' are those we don’t yet know very well. From close up, we are all gloriously compulsive, over-anxious, confused and bizarre. This is no reason for shame, just confirmation of our essential shared humanity.
- Further reading:
- A Way Through Panic Attacks - The School of Life
- How Badly Adapted We Are to Life on Earth - The School of Life How to Avoid Being a Bore - The School of Life
- Life coaches are the new personal trainer — Quartz at Work
- On whether narcissism is an effective life strategy - iai
- Why Did They End the Relationship? - YouTube
- Workplace stress is inevitable, but in many situations it is women who feel the pressures of their careers more acutely, argued the Financial Times. Beyond managing the expectations of homes and families, women - in their work - can have the less tangible feeling like they do not belong, a particularly common occurrence in male-dominated fields. Anybody who is viewed as being lower in social status, standing or importance in a field can experience rejection sensitivity: an anxiety about being undervalued or not taken seriously. Women are not the only individuals who experience this, but for the FT it is clear that women are frequently plagued by worries, especially when they find themselves in competitive situations where they have not previously been present in high numbers.
- The School of Life noted that, because shyness can grip us in such powerful ways, it’s tempting to think of it as an immutable part of our emotional make-up, with roots that extend far into our personality and perhaps biology - and that we would be incapable of ever extirpating. But in truth, shyness is based on a set of ideas about the world that are eminently amenable to change through a process of reason because they are founded on some touchingly malleable errors of thought.
- The School of Life also noted that, in many challenges - personal and professional - we are held back by the crippling thought that people like us could not not possibly triumph given what we know of ourselves: how reliably stupid, anxious, gauche, crude, vulgar and dull we really are. We leave the possibility of success to others, because we don’t seem to ourselves to be anything like the sort of people we see lauded around us. Faced with responsibility or prestige, we quickly become convinced that we are simply impostors.
- Further reading:
- The School of Life believes that self-analysis can work because, as we reflect, we let our sadness take its natural, due shape. We dwell at length on the wounds. We give space to our nostalgia. There may not be an immediate solution to the sorrows, but it helps immeasurably to know their contours and give ourselves a chance to square up to them. Our pains need a hearing. The more we think, the more our fears, resentments and hopes may become easier to name. We may become less scared of the contents of our minds. We may grow calmer, less resentful and clearer about our direction.
- Rimmel launched #IWILLNOTBEDELETED, a campaign to fight cyberbullying. The Coty-owned makeup brand surveyed over 11,000 women aged 16-25 across 10 countries, and found that 1 in 4 have experienced cyberbullying, 46% of whom have gone on to self-harm. Launching on the Cybersmile website in 2019, a tool will guide users to approved local resources and organisations that can help those facing cyberbullying.
- For The School of Life, the sublime grants us a perspective within which our own concerns are mercifully irrelevant. Bits of our egoism and pride seem less impressive. We may be moved to be more tolerant, less wrapped up in our own concerns. We’re reminded of our fragility and transient occupation of the world – which can move us to focus on what’s genuinely important, while there is still time. The Sublime foregrounds a sense of equality, which we can otherwise find it hard to hold onto. In the face of vast things, the grades of human status lose meaning.
We too often assume that we must accept the levels of confidence we currently possess. However, confidence is not a given: it is a quality we can learn about and develop in ourselves, argued The School of Life, who wants to remind us, for the sake of confidence, not to think too well of others; to learn to watch our tendencies to self-sabotage; to imagine strangers sitting in the bathroom; to speak to ourselves in kinder tones; and to remember that the greatest thing we should fear isn't messing up, but dying without having given it a go.
- Lifefaker claimed to be the world’s first online life-faking service, where users can sign up by purchasing packages that range from photos of perfect pets, holidays and meals, and post them as their own. The website offers thousands of ready-made photo packages to fake a perfect life on social media without the trouble of actually living it. The purpose of Lifefaker is to remind users of the pressures of social media, highlighting that 62% of people feel inadequate when comparing their lives to those online. Part of a campaign by mental health startup Sanctus, the site confronts unhealthy behaviours that can harm mental health and explores ways to change them.
- Evolution made it hard for humans to ask for help, suggests recent research. The fear of losing status within a community is hardwired into primate brains.
- Some now believe that social media sites like Facebook are competitions for the most imaginary friends.
- Back in 2010, University of Houston research professor and author Dr. Brene Brown gave a TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, that stands up just as well today. She said meaningful human connection is impossible without a willingness to be vulnerable. People with low self-esteem often feel unworthy of social connection and suppressing their vulnerability merely intensifies their shame. Breaking the cycle means finding the courage to take risks and reveal your human side.