Time.com Article on Self-Esteem

Yes, I Suck: Self-Help Through Negative Thinking

John Cloud, Time.com, Wednesday, July 8, 2009, Thanks to Chris Bullock for sharing this article
The fascinating premise of the study referenced in this article is that all the work being done in the counseling and religious communities and our pop-psych society to talk people into thinking positively about themselves is a waste of time.  Go check out the article HERE and then share your feedback by clicking on “Add a Comment.”

2 thoughts on “Time.com Article on Self-Esteem

  1. First of all, let me say that getting into a discussion on schools of psychological thought is kind of silly for a novice like myself. But being a novice hasn\’t kept me from speaking on subjects before. So I\’ll share…This article and the complementary article on Steven Hayes that was referenced in the last paragraph of the article make sense to me. As with most shifts in thinking, I don\’t think you eliminate everything from previous viewpoints, but you allow new insight to inform and change aspects of conventional wisdom. As someone very much acquainted with low self-esteem, I understand perfectly the scenario where someone goes on and on about how good you are at something and then you end up feeling even worse about yourself. Pastoral ministry is notorious for leaving its practitioners with this awareness that when people complement you on your preaching, your nurturing or your leadership, you argue those complements with your self-knowledge that you could have done more, studied more, or cared more. From a religious perspective, I\’ve heard countless conversations and sermons that fall on both sides of the self-esteem movement. Some say you should never think anything of yourself because humans are inherently sinful and therefore should think of themselves as hopeless apart from the salvation of Jesus and the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. Others have said it is specifically because you have been created in the image of God, redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit that you should feel valued and important. Healthy self-esteem, it\’s argued, reflects the view that God has of you. While I have come to side with the second opinion, I also recognize that there is the need for negative self-messages to be observed, considered and then either acted upon or dismissed. Without an awareness of your limitations, you can lose your sense of your need of God, you can become unreflective and you can lose the capacity to grow as a human created by God to grow, evolve and change. And sometimes it is important to realize that you just can\’t do something and give up. Sometimes we choose to do something that we shouldn\’t, that we aren\’t capable of accomplishing or that is completely unrealistic for us to have ever considered in the first place. Coming to terms and accepting failure allows us to reconsider our life\’s direction and specific subsections of life (family, career, health, etc.). What the great successes of the 20th century have taught us again and again is that you fail many times before you succeed. There can be a great blessing in realizing you are wrong. It allows you to take another chance at getting it right.I appreciate this third-wave approach because it teaches you to not immediately accept the self-thought as true or false, but invites you to reflect and consider whether it is right or wrong. We need to consider whether the thoughts running on repeat in our heads are the result of objective, verifiable realities or are the result of environmental and genetic predispositions that influence how we approach every aspect of life.But no matter what our brains are telling us about ourselves, I am convinced that there is a great need for developing a lifestyle of encouraging and complementing others. We do need to hear complements. We need to know that others value us. Everyone needs those messages to blend into their streams-of-consciousness to balance and offset the false messages that bring unnecessary negativity from themselves and others.

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