RSS

Category Archives: Self-esteem

Opinionating

I suspect that simply ‘giving your opinion’ about things is a very easy way to get an ego or ‘self-esteem’ boost.

(Which is why I so often give my opinion about things. Apart from genuinely wanting share and ‘develop’ ideas that I think are interesting.)

And why might ‘giving your opinion’ give a quick ego-boost (boost in self-esteem)? Here are some possible reasons:

When you ‘give your opinion:

a) You get to possibly show that you know more than someone else. This demonstration of ‘superior knowledge’ could also allow you to feel superior to another person (if you think that ‘knowing more’ means ‘being a better person’). Actually ‘knowing more’ is not even necessary here. If you can convincingly express your opinion you may manage to convince others (and even yourself) that you know more than those who are listening about the area concerning the expressed opinion.

b) You get to advertise your cleverness (especially if you believe that your idea is ‘original’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘elegant’ or clever in some other way).

c) You get to emotionally ‘affirm’ what you believe and to indulge in ‘zealousness’ about what you already believe.

d) If you believe what you are saying is ‘provocative’ – you get to demonstrate that you ‘don’t care what others think’, that you are brave and courageous enough to ‘speak your mind’ etc.

e) If your opinion has a ‘target’ – you get to condemn or find fault in the process of giving your opinion (another way of feeling superior).

f) You may get to crystalise your own beliefs by putting them into ‘verbal’ form – and so increase your sense of certainty (or decrease your sense of uncertainty) in the process (which may also increase your self-esteem).

g) You get to be the centre of attention – while expressing your opinion.

h) You simply get to ‘add one more brick’ to your identity structure. By giving your opinion – you simultaneously build the idea of who ‘you’ are in your own and other peoples’ minds. Your sense of who you are may appear to become more ‘real’ by having yet one more belief ‘associated’ with you.

By this account, an ‘opinionated’ person may be a person who has chosen ‘expressing their opinion’ as a primary means for attaining and maintaining self-esteem. (e.g. where other ways of attaining and maintaining self-esteem appear less efficient at attaining these goals e.g. through ‘success’ in work, play, love).

When we consider all the above ego-boosting possibilities associated with ‘giving your opinion’ it becomes clearer why so many traditional spiritual traditions provide clear indications surrounding mindfulness of speech, which types of speech are helpful and which are not etc. Even the most ‘innocent’ of processes ‘opinion giving’ might serve as an opportunity for maintaining one’s sense of being a separate self through getting ego-boosts. Giving your opinion when you don’t really NEED to would probably come under the category of ‘idle speech’ in Buddhism.

http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/rightspeech.htm

That said – ‘giving your opinion’ may not always mean you are getting an ego-boost. You may give your opinion simply because you think it may be useful/helpful, because you are asked for it, because its your job to do so, because its a way to start an interesting conversation, because you are ‘showing what you know’ for the purposes of showing how well matched your skills are for a job, because you enjoy or feel compelled to share and develop ideas etc. These actions may or may not be undertaken with the specific purpose of boosting one’s self-esteem.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , ,

Why do we feel vulnerable? How did vulnerability evolve? Questioning beyond Brené Brown’s TED talk

Brené Browns talk on vulnerability now has over 3.5 million hits, making it one of the most frequently viewed talks on TED.

One of my passions for years has been trying to understand what it is that is actually open to being ‘hurt’ when we are emotionally ‘vulnerable’. Its clearly not our physical bodies we are talking about – so WHAT is it?

Many psychologists say its our ‘self-image’ that is hurt in these situations. But think about that a second. How can you HURT an ‘abstract’ concept like a ‘self-image’?

“People are so accustomed to reacting to threats to their self-image that they rarely stop to consider how odd it is to regard their mental image of themselves as something that can be damaged by another person’s inconsiderate behavior or disparaging remark.” (Mark Leary – The Analogue-I and the Analogue-me, 2009)

It seems that somehow during evolution or during our childhood years we learned to experience emotional ‘hurt’ to our self-image, almost as if it were physical hurt to our body. How might this have happened? (Some speculations here.)

When this realisation is made – that our ‘selves’ are NOT a solid body but rather a very much ‘unsolid’ abstract thing – then perhaps we can experience emotional ‘hurt’ in a different type of way e.g.:

“Someone says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way you become invulnerable” (Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now, 1997).

Synopsis of TED Talk by Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

TEDxKC talk synopsis: In our anxious world, we often protect ourselves by closing off parts of our lives that leave us feeling most vulnerable. Yet invulnerability has a price. When we knowingly or unknowingly numb ourselves to what we sense threatens us, we sacrifice an essential tool for navigating uncertain times — joy. This talk will explore how and why fear and collective scarcity has profoundly dangerous consequences on how we live, love, parent, work and engage in relationships — and how simple acts can restore our sense of purpose and meaning.

 

Tags: ,

‘Being Clever’ as a description vs. an ‘identity’. Fight Club scene

If you invest your ‘identity’ in ‘being clever’ (or stake your self-esteem on ‘being clever’), you feel good when you appear clever, but bad when you fail to appear clever. On the other hand, if you don’t identify with ‘being clever’ – it doesn’t matter so much what happens.

(about 50 seconds in)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Ego, Ego-threat, Self, Self-esteem

 

Tags: ,

Better to have high self-esteem than low self-esteem but best of all is to have no self to esteem?

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: