Everyone is worried about not having a good self-esteem. Parents worry about building self-esteem in their children. Parents themselves wonder if they have good self-esteem. We feel sorry for the people who don’t seem to show good self-esteem. Some parents seems to think they have to praise their children for everything; ranging from just getting out of bed in the morning to just breathing. They encourage their children to say, “ I am special “ as though other are not.
Self-esteem is not an elixir of life that can be given or an entitlement but rather it is something one has to earn. I can’t see how a child is going to have good self-esteem by telling him “good job for getting up in the morning.” That should be a given that they have to get up. The real self-esteem comes when the child is rewarded for some effort in trying to complete or fully engage or focus or absorb in some activity. The child will make the link between an activity that require effort, a parent acknowledging or validating that effort and the healthy self-esteem. The praise without the effort encourages narcissism not self-esteem. There are people in this world who have good self-esteem, which they do not deserve, they are likely to do harm.
Real self-esteem leads to compassion and false self-esteem leads to narcissism. Most would agree that we need more compassion and not more narcissism.