In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss self-esteem – is it really anti-God or anti-spiritual?
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Now, let’s talk about self-esteem – is it really anti-God or anti-spiritual?
“I don’t know if you realize, or not, that your self esteem idea is directly opposite of what the Bible teaches, and is going to do great harm; being taught to our children in school. God’s word teaches humility. I’m sure you don’t want to here (sic) this. Job: “I heard about you by the hearing of the ear, but now, mine eyes hath seen you; there-fore I hate my-self.” Apostle Paul: “Oh, wretched man that I am”. James: Blessed are the humble”. And there are many more. You’ve done great harm to many people with your self esteem, self love, ego, pride, profession. It’s made you a very successful man in this world – Atheists love it. May God have mercy on you, I pray.”
Lionel L. – Alabama
Lionel contacted me after reading my book “Finding GOD –Spiritual Strategies to Help YOU Find Happiness, Fulfillment and Inner Peace”.
The book actually promotes love and compassion as the pathway to experiencing God. Ironically, Lionel wrote me a second time saying “Please repent of what you’ve done.”
It’s intriguing that a book that promotes love, forgiveness and compassion would drive one man to write that it is evil to teach people to have self-esteem.
But this article is not about Lionel; it about his comments about self-esteem.
Self-esteem is how much you like yourself, how significant and how capable you feel.
It is not about narcissism, egotism, pride or entitlement.
I also have spoken out against the narcissism, entitlement, selfishness and purposelessness of the many celebrities who are idols to children – Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus and so forth.
In fact, in an interview I gave to MSNBC news in 2007, I said that Paris Hilton’s over inflated self-esteem wasn’t authentic or real, but rather it comes from a place of being disconnected from the world, along with insecurity and lack of purpose and meaning in life. Watch the video here.
There are also two forms of narcissism – the one where parents and the media are encouraging and driving self-promotion, selfishness and entitlement without any regard for or connection to other people, and; the second one, which is a disorder based on subconscious self-loathing but compensated by constant self-promotion, attention seeking and an inability to form meaningful relationships.
(Listen to the radio interview I gave Sally Jessy Raphael discussing a study that reveals college students are more naricssistic and self-centered than ever before: “Generation Me”: with Professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University – narcissism, self-love and self-esteem.
Nonetheless, does the teaching of self-esteem contradict the Bible? Is it “directly opposite of what the Bible teaches”, and is it going to do “great harm.”
The answer is quite simple: Jesus commanded to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
That means to love your neighbor the way you love yourself; express compassion to your neighbor the way you express it to yourself; forgive your neighbor the way you forgive yourself. It doesn’t mean to love your neighbor the way you want to be loved because that isn’t what the commandment teaches. Jesus didn’t say ‘love your neighbor the way you want to be loved.’ No. He said “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This teaching promotes loving oneself and loving others.
“Loving onseself” can only be negative and destructive when it is an artificial love – a ‘love’ that places oneself above others, driven by ego, selfishness, entitlement and callousness towards others.
“We praise our kids a lot thinking they are just going to be wonderful people. And in reality we have created them monsters. They are over-praised; it has led to inordinate self-esteem. Self-esteem is a good thing; inordinate self-esteem is a bad thing …This over-praise leads to a fixed mindset where talent is genetic and you have it baby,” – Anti-bullying expert Paul Coughlin, founder of The Protectors, speaking at a seminar at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California
Notice Paul’s reference above to “inordinate self-esteem” – extreme unwarranted self-esteem.
Authentic self-esteem and loving others involves respecting oneself. And when you respect yourself you will respect others and vice versa.
While appropriate humility and contextual selflessness are healthy, I think it is misleading and damaging to teach children to have low self-esteem and to believe that everyone else is above them.
Children who suffer from low self-esteem are easily influenced and fall victim to drugs, promiscuity and even gang activity.
The key is balance: teaching and encouraging children healthy self-esteem coupled with love and respect for others.
Finally, there are over 41,000 Christian denominations in the world and therefore tens of thousands of clashing interpretations of the Bible and Christianity. Is it possible to truly believe that God would want Christians and everyone else to hate themselves and have low self-esteem when the Bible clearly states that God loved the world so much He gave His son to die for everyone? If God believes people are worthy, who are we to say God is wrong and we all should have low self-esteem?
Does hating oneself and having low self-esteem bring one closer to God?
Does hating oneself and having low self-esteem help in relationships and life in general?
You can post your comment on this newsletter below.
I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.