Children and Prizes–Hindering Intrinsic Self Worth

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    Ben Levi

    Bombmaniac, thanks for the clarification,

    The self-esteem that you speak of is it dependent upon one’s actions?

    Meaning if one does no good what so ever should he have the same self- esteem as one who does do what’s right?

    If your answer is that it is linked to one’s actions that the quastion is if one who does no good should have no self esteem, how will he ever get out of the rut so to speak? According to what youve written there is no way for a person with a lack of self esteem will have no reason to do good.

    On the other hand if someone who does no good should still have a healthy level of “self esteem” then considering the fact that you define self esteem as healthy level of respect for oneself then why should he ever do good, he respects himself, and therefore finds himself worthy of respect regardless?


    i did not say that, but now that we are sort of on the same page, let me explain. a person who sees himself as so above others, does not care what other people think of him, because in his eyes he is already perfect. a person who thinks himself worthless, (not that they SHOULD not act to gain respect from others…) is so downtrodden, so down on himslef, that you just cant get any lower. therefore, no matter how low others think he is, it pales in comparison to the low he feels about himself. therefore, the balance is to have enough confidence to know that he is worth something, but not to be so full of himself as to not care about what others think of him. i think i have made myself quite clear.

    Ben Levi

    Bombmaniac you have indeed made yourself clear however you’ve neglected to define what exactly self-esteem is.

    Yes, the balance you have spoken of is necassary and if you define self worth the way I originally defined it then you have that balance.

    Self worth means that one realizes his immense capabilities and the fact that he was created for a purpose, a purpose that that individual alone can fulfill. If someone has that realization he automatically is intrinsically aware that he is not worthless, far be it he is in a sense “invaluable” for there is no one like him.

    At the same time one who is equipped with a proper sense of self worth cannot possibly think that he is perfect for he is only to well aware of the immense responsibilities that lie upon him, for he must do what no one else can.

    It is this concept of self worth that is embodied in the words “Bshvili N’Vra H’Aolam” and one who fully understands this concept can begin to understand the immense value that a Jew places on human life.

    On the other hand self esteem teaches one that his individual value is not connected to anything whatsoever and as such inherently teaches one that he has the right to be conceieted for by his very nature he is perfect or close to it.

    From my understanding it is for this reason that we Rav wolbe was so forceful in his denounciation of “Bitachon Atzmi”.

    In light of this I would beg to ask that instead of speaking in generalities perhaps you can define specifically in your mind what is self-esteem, why is it important and where in Chazal is there a source for it?

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