The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

31 May 2007

Esteem cleaned

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone ... um, wait, wrong brain thread.

[whir r r r]

Just yesterday morning I said this:

No one under the age of 70 needs self-esteem. It does teenagers no good — every high school is Lord of the Flies writ large and illegibly — and once they've achieved adulthood it's more trouble to maintain than it's worth.

The esteemed Tamara K. has been thinking along similar lines:

I am absolutely sick and tired of the very phrase "Self Esteem"; embodying as it does the concept that one should have warm fuzzy feelings about one's self for no adequately explained reason whatsoever, as though by simply existing, one was doing something inherently good rather than merely converting oxygen into greenhouse gas. With "Self Esteem" came the notion that we were to go to any extent to avoid things that may damage it in our little tricycle motors, even if it meant dumbing down grades and no longer keeping score at kiddie sporting events. All this seems to ensure is that we're producing whiners who will expect the real world to be as careful of their self esteem as the artificial environment of William Golding Memorial Elementary School was, and who will proceed to vote for anyone who promises to make it that way.

But she takes it a bit further than I did:

Whatever happened to self respect? The idea that one should have some sort of internal code and judge one's self based on how well one lives up to it? Or would that reveal that so many people are worth very little esteem at all?

Incidentally, there exists in my hometown a firm called Esteem Cleaners, not far from the palatial Surlywood estate.

Posted at 11:20 AM to Almost Yogurt

I think there's a balance that needs to be maintained--although what that balance is, I have little idea. I mean, you can't have no self-esteem; you wouldn't want to be a manic depressive doormat. On the other hand, you wouldn't want too much self-esteem either--that leads to arrogance. And if you think you're the best, you'll become complacent and never get anything done (or strive for anything better).

Posted by: sya at 2:09 PM on 31 May 2007

Anyone who's self-esteem is so bloated as to blind him/her from his/her faults does not have a 'self-esteem problem'. He/she is just a fool.

Avoidance of an honest assessment (and engagement) of one's own faults is far more common than not. I think ittakes a healthy self-esteem to take that honest look an get to work on oneself, rather than mope/avoid/deny when faced with one's shortcomings. Self-esteem doesn't mean the problems aren't there, rather it means a person has value in spite of them.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 8:39 AM on 1 June 2007

Self-respect begins in self-contempt. You can't get there from self-esteem.

(The above is probably not true; pithy little aphorisms never really are.)

Our local dry cleaner is called the Pantorium, which is cooler than "Esteem cleaners". I hope that's not a blow to your self-esteem.

Posted by: Moira Breen at 8:50 AM on 2 June 2007

Not me. I throw everything possible, and some things impossible, into the washing machine.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:35 AM on 2 June 2007