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Re: what is Self Esteem? / Janice

Posted by bob on April 21, 2000, at 13:04:18

In reply to Re: what is Self Esteem? / Janice, posted by KarenB on April 21, 2000, at 11:27:19

Geez, my computer crashed late last night, so I didn't get a chance to squeeze this in before Mark:

KarenB wrote:
> To me, depression is lack of hope in general ("everything sucks") - and maybe low self esteem is lack of hope in myself ("I suck"). So, yes, I think they are separate but related issues.

Well, Karen, that's only if you mean the "I suck" in an existential, holistic, evaluative way. If it's more performance-oriented, like "I suck" means "I can't do X", then we're back to self-efficacy (as alluded to by kelly above) which can actually be quite independent from self-esteem, taken from an expectancy x value perspective. ;^)

Borrowing from the Offspring, here's a simple, one question forced-choice low self-esteem measure ... it might help erase some doubts out there about the concept.


Please select the response that best describes how you feel for each statement:

1) The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care.

A) Very true for me
B) Somewhat true for me
C) Not that true for me
D) Not at all true for me

Your response:_______


Mark wrote:
> Every major religion in the world speaks against pride, hubris, clinging to self. Yet we still put bumper-stickers on our station wagons that read, "Proud Parent of an Honor Student at Vacaville Middle School," as though our children's worth and lovability had anything to do with their grade point average.

Personally, I kinda like the bumper stickers that say "My kid can beat up your Honor Student" ...

I'm glad you pointed those out, tho. In terms of what we know about the psychology of motivation to learn, those bumper stickers are a stupid idea. Like you said, it fosters a valuation of GPA, and GPA has little to do with how well a student learns wht they have been taught. It supports the pursuit of external rewards and not internal rewards.

In short, those bumper stickers are educational malpractice.

then KarenB wrote:
> About the statement you made on "guilt" - do you mean to say, "shame?" I think that shame, rather than guilt, would be the flip side of pride. It is my understanding that guilt refers to a particular action that was wrong and the normal, healthy feeling of sorrow for one's actions that should follow. Shame rather says, "I am bad" and centers on unhealthy self evaluation. Shame, unlike guilt, does not promote change but only further wallowing. Would you agree?

One take on how we come up with excuses -- causal attribution theory -- claims that "guilt" is the feeling we get when a bad outcome is caused by something we did, but it's something we have control over and it doesn't have to happen again. "Shame", on the other hand, comes from a sense again that it's our own fault, but due to something that is out of our control to change and something we're stuck with.

If you agree with that assessment, then yeah, I'd say that shame fosters wallowing more than guilt would.





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