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Exploding the Self Esteem Myth

For countless centuries, the scholarly and collective perception on the premise of self-esteem relied on the belief that it greatly contributes to an individual’s well-being. However, the scholarly approach of psychologists Roy Baumeister, Jennifer Campbell, Joachim Krueger, and Kathleen Vohs (2005) rebuffs the traditional and academic comprehension of self-esteem, primarily arguing that the very concept of self-esteem is a psychological state of mind that has no formal ground for determining its extent.

Baumeister et al further solidified the implausibility of self-esteem by correlating it with major determining factors such as physical appearance, academic excellence, teenage sexual activity, alcohol and substance abuse, and emotion. Baumeister et al, however, found no link, even on the slightest degree, between self-esteem and the aforementioned determinants. Baumeister (2005), primarily, defines self-esteem as an individual’s assertion of his or herself and other people’s perception of that individual, regardless if it is positive or negative.

On the other hand, self-esteem can also be defined as the ability to cope up with life’s basic challenges and being happy (Mruk, 2006). Given the complications on the definition of self-esteem alone, Baumeister and his colleagues excellently proved the fallacy of the concept. The main thesis of the article simply complements and explains the complexity of self-esteem and its application on varying areas, thereby making a very persuasive argument. Moreover, spicing up their main points with the aid of scholarly research has given credence to what the scholars are trying to say.

As much as Baumeister et al present an almost flawless argument regarding the concept of self-esteem, there appears to be no explanation if whether self-esteem is influenced by other factors such as socio-economic status. This is because personal or familial economy, to a certain extent, also influence people’s overall assessment of themselves.

References

Buameister, R. F. , Campbell, J. D. , Krueger, J. I. , & Vohs, K. D. (2005, January). Exploding the Self Esteem Myth. The Scientific American, 6, 50-51. Mruk, C. (2006). Self-Esteem Research, Theory, and Practice: Toward a Positive Psychology of Self-Esteem. London: Springer.

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