Click here to go back to the Society of Richmond Children's Centres website.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Cult of Self-Esteem

The Cult of Self-Esteem
August 15, 2011

If you believe everything you read, better not read.
-Japanese proverb
"What starts off as healthy self-esteem can quickly morph into an inflated view of self — a self-absorption and sense of entitlement that looks a lot like narcissism," observes Jean Twenge, co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic, in Atlantic Monthly (July 2011).  She explains....

"Narcissists are happy when they're younger, because they're the center of the universe.  Their parents act like their servants, shuttling them to any activity they choose and catering to their every desire.  Parents are constantly telling their children how special and talented they are.  This gives them an inflated view of their specialness compared to other human beings.  Instead of feeling good about themselves, they feel better than everyone else.

"In early adulthood t his becomes a big problem.  People who feel like they are unusually special end up alienating those around them.  They don't know how to work on teams, as well as to deal with limits.  They get into the workplace and expect to be stimulated all the time, because their worlds were so structured with activities.  They don't like being told by a boss that their work might need improvement, and they feel insecure if they don't get a constant stream of praise.  They grew up in a culture where everyone gets a trophy just for participating....  They grew up in a bubble, so they get out into the real world and then start to feel lost and helpless.  Kids who always have problems solved for them believe that they don't know how to solve problems.  And they're right — they don't."

From Exchange Everyday