Self-esteem, feedback and motivation

Caring relationships are more likely when self-esteem is healthy - when you know you're worthy of being loved and accepted. Photo by Tony McGregor
Caring relationships are more likely when self-esteem is healthy - when you know you're worthy of being loved and accepted. Photo by Tony McGregor

Where does self-esteem come from?

Each of us has a picture of ourselves which we carry around with us everywhere and all the time. It is not a physical picture we can keep in a wallet or purse and show to others. Rather it is a picture in our mind, a picture which sometimes looks a little like the person who looks back at us from a mirror, but sometimes not.

This picture, also called the self-image, is built up from the myriads of psychological cues which we pick up every moment from the reactions of other people to what we say and do. It is not a process of which we are always conscious, but it is happening all the time, each and every waking moment.

The process is called feedback, and it is telling us how what we are doing or saying is impacting on the other person, how they are understanding us, and, perhaps most importantly, how they feel about us.

This process goes on constantly and most of the time we are not aware of it, and most often we are not aware of the implications of the information flooding into our minds. Nevertheless, this information is vital to our well-being, both psychologically and physically.

Self-esteem is the value we put on the picture we have of ourselves. Perhaps we like the picture, perhaps we don't. And that has an effect on the way we think about ourselves. Because as much as we have relationships with other people, we also have a relationship with ourselves. And as relationships with others can make us feel positive or negative, so the relationship we have with ourselves can make us feel positive or negative. We all know how much our attitude can affect us and our performance. If we are positive, then things seem to go well, when we are negative, everything feels like a burden, we have the weight of the world to carry around on our shoulders, which tend to buckle under the strain.

In sum, the better we like the picture of ourselves we have in our minds, the better we are able to cope with the inevitable ups and downs of daily life, the boredom and elation, the drudgery and the joy. So having a positive self-esteem is critical to getting on with life, to staying afloat and not giving up.

The map is not the territory, but it can tell you quite a lot about the territory
The map is not the territory, but it can tell you quite a lot about the territory

Two models

To understand this better two models have been developed over the past half century which give insights into the effects of feedback and how self-esteem affects motivation.

Firstly the famous Johari Window which helps to understand feedback and how to improve the quality of the feedback we give and receive. Secondly the Hierarchy of Needs developed by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1940s which is a model of human motivation.

A point I would like to make about models is that they are not reality. It is important to realise that, as a map is not the territory, so a model is not the reality. However, as a map, properly understood, can tell us a great deal about the territory, like where there are hills and valleys, rivers, roads, and perhaps even buildings; so a model can tell us a great deal about the reality which the model attempts to explain. A model is a framework on which to hang our experiences in such a way that we can get a better understanding of their meanings, so that perhaps we can more easily and effectively use the experiences to get on better with ourselves and others.

Through a glass, darkly. Photo by Tony McGregor
Through a glass, darkly. Photo by Tony McGregor

Through a glass, darkly

What happens when our self-esteem is based on an inaccurate self-assessment?

Clearly if our self-esteem is not based on fact then we are in danger, because a high self-esteem based on an inaccurate self-assessment is delusional. Such a high self-esteem, instead of being helpful to us, will actually lead us to behave inappropriately.

This is what happens most obviously in, for example, dictators or kings, who only hear the positive things about themselves because the people around them are too scared to tell the truth, often for fear of their lives. Remember the story of the Emperor's New Clothes?

I have heard it said that Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom thinks the smell of new paint is the smell of her whole country!

This is one of the great dangers of absolutism and authoritarian approaches to life – we get to smell only the new paint and don't see the old decrepit things festering and rotting out of our sight.

If we make no effort to discover the truth about ourselves we are likely to live in delusion, making decisions and generally living based on fiction and not fact.

Very often, if our self-esteem is delusional, we can even become violent when the truth confronts us. If we have built a life on falsehood and a self-esteem on lies, it is hard to adjust to reality, and we will do whatever we can to maintain the self-esteem we had. Bullies, psychopaths and murderers often have inflated and unrealistic self-esteem which they will defend at all costs.

Basic communication model showing feedback. Graphic by Tony McGregor
Basic communication model showing feedback. Graphic by Tony McGregor
The Johari Window. Graphic by Tony McGregor
The Johari Window. Graphic by Tony McGregor

Through a window, clearly

On the other hand, a self-esteem built on accurate self-knowledge, will lead to open and appropriate behaviour, and a genuine valuing of self and others.

Act I Scene II of Shakespeare's great play The Merchant of Venice gives an interesting example of the lovely Portia getting a dose of corrective feedback to her inaccurate self-image. She complains to her waiting-maid Nerissa, “My little body is aweary of this great world.” Nerissa replies, with considerable wisdom, and, I think, some bravery, “You would be, sweet madam, if your miseries were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are: and yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing.” In other words, get a grip, lady, and be grateful for what you have, stop moping and feeling sorry for yourself.

We are all prone to dramatise ourselves, to think we are the most unhappy, most clever, most anything, when we are usually pretty much the same as everyone else. What this implies is that we all have blind spots with regard to ourselves, we tend to not know with any great accuracy certain things about ourselves, and this leads us to unrealistic self-appraisals.

On the other hand, there are often things which we do know, but sometimes would prefer that others did not know – fears, feelings of inferiority, incompetencies, even secret joys – and we put up fronts to hide these things from others, we build a façade which we present to the world, believing that others will believe it and accept it, as we accept the false buildings in movies which are nothing but scenery made of cardboard painted to deceive us.

Then there is the vast sub-conscious, that dark and sometimes frightening aspect of ourselves that we cannot know, except to a limited extent in dreams and Freudian slips, which let us peep under the heavy curtain which hides this part of us. This part of ourselves is always on the go, always making us act, sometimes in ways which we do not expect or understand.

Then the is that part of ourselves where communication is en clair , open and available to all. Here communication is relatively easy, and we share a lot of ourselves with others, who respond in kind.

These aspects of ourselves were brilliantly captured in the Johari Window model developed in the 1950s by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham

The point of this model is that to know ourselves better and more accurately, we have both to share information about ourselves with others, and ask others to share information about ourselves with us. To tell us, in other words, more about ourselves. This is the process of giving and receiving feedback.

Giving feedback, telling others about ourselves, reduces the size of the façade and simultaneously increases the size of the open pane of the window .

Asking for feedback reduces the size of the blind spot also while increasing the size of the open pane. In this way, if we are deliberate about it, we get an increasingly accurate self-image, so that our self-esteem can be based more and more on fact and less and less on fantasy.

A self-esteem based on fact is strong and will not be shaken too easily, nor will we feel threatened by others and thus have to take defensive action to keep our self-esteem as we would if that self-esteem was based on fantasy.

Abraham Maslow, father of Humanistic Psychology
Abraham Maslow, father of Humanistic Psychology
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Image from Wikipedia
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Image from Wikipedia
South African sawmill worker. Photo by Tony McGregor
South African sawmill worker. Photo by Tony McGregor

Human needs and motivation

Motivation, according to Wikipedia, is “the activation or energization of goal-orientated behavior.” There are many theories about motivation and what motivates people. The one which has over the years had a great deal of currency is that of Abraham Maslow, who devised his famous triangular “Hierarchy” diagram as a kind of visual prompt to assist people to understand his theory.

Motivation is often thought of as either extrinsic, in the form usually of either punishment or reward, or intrinsic, which is values based. Maslow, after careful observation of the behaviour of monkeys, during which he found that the needs of the monkeys were in a sense prioritised. Some needs seemed to take precedence over others. This led him to think about needs as having a hierarchy, that certain heeds would have to be satisfied before other needs could be satisfied.

The first four levels he termed “Deficit” or “D-needs” meaning that they were only operative as motivators when they were absent – as soon as they were satisfied they would cease to motivate. He used the metaphor of homoeostasis to illustrate this – without adequate food the body will seek such food, without adequate shelter the person will do all in his or her power to obtain shelter. But once the food and shelter are taken care of other needs will come into play.

In the 1980s in South Africa there was an interesting example of how this could work even on a societal level. Considerable pressure was being put on the apartheid government, and on corporations within the country, by threats of sanctions and disinvestment, by the strictures of the so-called “Sullivan Code” initiated by the Rev Louis Sullivan. Many companies within the country attempted to meet these pressures by improving the way blacks were treated within their organisations. One tactic used by some companies was participative management, a popular management style at the time.

Participative management appeals to the belonging and esteem needs of people. But for most black workers the needs that motivated them were physiological and safety needs – they perceived themselves to be under paid, they lived in often appalling conditions in segregated townships where crime and disease were rampant, where the security forces were seen more as oppressors than as providing any kind of safety.

Many attempts were made to implement such schemes through employee share options, quality circles, and so on. Many of these attempts failed. The reaction of many white managers was that blacks were not able to deal with these processes. I think the real reason was that black workers in those companies were rather more concerned about physiological and safety needs than belonging or esteem needs. Participative management within a divided and extremely unequal society seems not to be a viable option. I think Maslow could have told the companies this and saved them a lot of trouble and expense!

The fourth level of the hierarchy is the esteem needs level. In this level Maslow distinguished between a higher and a lower order of needs. The lower order he saw as in a sense external to the individual – the need for respect, status, glory, reputation, appreciation of others. The higher order was more internal to the individual – a need for competence, self-respect, achievement, confidence, independence and freedom.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

The level of the saints and the gurus

The fifth level of the hierarchy is what Maslow termed “self-actualisation”, a term he borrowed from his colleague Kurt Goldstein, author of the book The Organism. The self-actualisation needs are what Maslow termed “Being Needs” or “B-needs” and a person motivated at this level is free of the needs in the other levels. This is the level of the saints and gurus.

According to Maslow the self-actualised person has the following values:

Truth, rather than dishonesty.
Goodness, rather than evil.
Beauty, not ugliness or vulgarity.
Unity, wholeness, and transcendence of opposites, not arbitrariness or forced choices.
Aliveness, not deadness or the mechanization of life.
Uniqueness, not bland uniformity.
Perfection and necessity, not sloppiness, inconsistency, or accident.
Completion, rather than incompleteness.
Justice and order, not injustice and lawlessness.
Simplicity, not unnecessary complexity.
Richness, not environmental impoverishment.
Effortlessness, not strain.
Playfulness, not grim, humourless, drudgery.
Self-sufficiency, not dependency.
Meaningfulness, rather than senselessness.

The role of values

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."- Albert Einstein

All behaviour is value-driven. What we say, what we do, how we live, all are driven by our values. That is why understanding our values is so important, because then we can make informed choices instead of blindly following what everyone else is doing or thinking.

Which brings us back to the issue of self-esteem, which earlier I defined as the value we place on our self-image. If I value my self-image positively, and if my self-image is accurate, then I will have confidence, I will not need to defend my self-image and my self-esteem will be maintained.

I will likely attract to myself others who are similarly comfortable with themselves. We will value ourselves and each other and so treat ourselves and each other with compassion, respect and unconditional positive regard.

If I am confident about my self-esteem I will be able to put myself into the shoes of a person very different from myself without having to prove myself or to dominate or control the other person.

A high self-esteem based on an accurate self-image is critical to the health of the individual and the society in which he or she lives. And part of the accuracy of the self-image is knowing what one's values are.

Self-esteem

Finally, I found this great passage on a blog by Ann Brock called "The Old Black Church" and I thought it really sums up a lot of what I have written here:

You can't touch it, but it affects how you feel. You can't see it, but it's there when you look at yourself in the mirror...You can't hear it, but it's there every time you talk about yourself.... What is this important but mysterious thing? It's your self-esteem!Self-esteem isn't bragging about how great you are.... It's more like quietly knowing that you're worth a lot (priceless, in fact!). It's not about thinking you're perfect — because nobody is — but knowing that you're worthy of being loved and accepted.

Copyright Notice

The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Tony McGregor 2010

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Comments 47 comments

jandee profile image

jandee 6 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

All very good material Tony and I admire your depth of intellectuality but to be honest if I delved into it it would smash any confidence I might have ? I have to just push on with the feeling of stuff and take the consequences !!!m


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Maxine - thanks for the comment which I appreciate and which I'm not sure I understand fully? I would really like to understand what you mean so please come back and maybe tell me some more?

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


jandee profile image

jandee 6 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Hello Tony, sorry to be unclear.

Self image-if one didn't like self-image then one wouldn't do anything.(so best to hide away,like a coward)

If I were to be heavily critisized I would probably fade away-so don't tell me! ( I'm a coward again)

Through a glass darkly- love the words!are they your words ? or am I being being ignorant in that they are famous maybe?

Tony forgive me if this is unenlightening and just blame it on the fr.rouge ,from m


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Fantastic hub, Tony.self -image can become very distorted. How you put this together amazes me. Awesome. thank you.x

love and peace as always


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

I'm certainly familiar with Maslow's hierarchy. I sometimes announce what kind of day I am having...some days food and shelter on the only thing on my list other days I shoot for guru status!

I like the analogies that apply this to society and not just the personal level. I think our level of psychological development plays a huge role in how things play out locally, nationally and even globally.


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

very useful hub. I am familiar with Mavlov's work, and tend to agree with this theory. Your example of the companies and the black workers was interesting, almost humerous, because I have also seen people make judgments on others based on their own limited understanding of what is actually happening. Voted up and useful. (:v


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Maxine - thanks for the clarification. I appreciate very much that you came back. The problem when one doesn't like one's self-image can be dealt with by really looking into the reason for or cause of the dislike. If it is something that you have control over, something that you can change (a habit, or a tendency to over-eat, perhaps?) then put in place a plan to change it. If it is something over which you have little or no control (like the shape of your hands, or the colour of your eyes, perhaps?) then the solution is to put itinto a perspective, like it's really not important, it doesn't define who I am, and so on. And keep in mind Ann Brock's lovely words which I quoted in the Hub: "you're worthy of being loved and accepted," no matter what!

The issue of criticism is a very real one, one that many people struggle with. Criticism is not good. Feedback is good. For the difference see my Hub on feedback. At the very least think to yourself that the criticism levelled at you by someone else says more about them than about you!

Finally, the words, much as I would love to have written them, are actually St Paul's, from 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV): "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Which is as beautiful a description of giving and receiving feedback (as opposed to criticism) as has ever been written!

And I think you are a wonderful writer - I have given you feedback on your Hubs to that effect!

So once again I thank you sincerely for taking this as seriously and intelligently as you have!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Dim - thanks for the comment. Yes a self-iamge can become distorted, and that is why we need to get feedback, proper, constructive feedback, and not criticism!

Thanks again for your kind words.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Christine - thanks for stopping by and making such a useful and interesting comment. I appreciate it very much indeed! Keep shooting for that guru status!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Valerie - thanks for your insightful comment. Glad you found it useful.

Thanks for stopping by - your visits and comments are always welcome!

Love and peace

Tony


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Brother Tony, from a successful reporter of events and an accurate historian, you are becoming quite an impressive teacher. I sit and watch with pleasure as I try to learn from you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Dimitris - thanks so much for the kind words. If you, such an experienced and learned man yourself, can learn something from my humble offerings, then I am more than delighted, my brother!

Thanks again for the visit and the wonderful comment! BTW have you booked your plane tickets yet? LOL!

Love and peace

Tony


jandee profile image

jandee 6 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Thank you Tony,

you have explained beautifully in fact .m


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

Great hub, have been a fan of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs for many years with regards to applying it in workplaces. Great explanations and illustrations.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

hi tonymac. voted up and awesome - possibly twice because i clicked away and came back; voted again cause i wasn't sure the first one took......anyway! Love it. I like how you structured your hub: explaining self esteem and then explaining 2 models. Also, liked how you used the Shakespeare example to elaborate. This is packed full of information and good insights. Thanks for a pleasurable read.


ainehannah profile image

ainehannah 6 years ago from Dublin

Useful, awesome and beautiful - but enough about me ;-) OK, so that was just to let you know that the first 'beautiful' tick was from me, and I was way behind it finding it useful and awesome. Thanks Tony for being a highlight of my day.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

Tony you always write about a subject that causes one to look inward. Self-esteem, to me, is something you grow with, as you build character, you gain self-worth, but as your hub suggests, we have to be careful that we don,t inflate our worth. It,s difficult to remain humble at times, i guess that,s that old ego that slips in when

we least expect it.Great hub.

Love and Peace


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

To contract for self-image is an interesting concept...to search for judgement is a postive use of ego;)


HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Wonderful Hub Tony. I found it very useful and I'm going to save it to re-read when times get rough. It's true that it's always good to truthfully self examine yourself to make sure you are on the right track. There are days when I think I am completely out of synch with everything. This will be helpful to re-align. Thanks again and take care.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Ah, the tickets... No, Young Tony, you must learn to distinguish wishful thinking form reality :-)))


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Tony, this is an awesome hub, thoroughly researched and presented. You have such a leisurely though captivating way of sharing your knowledge, insight and vision. I am in awe of you, and I have to admit to myself you are my superior. But that’s okay, at least I am somewhere in the line behind you, heading to the well filled with ultimate knowledge and wisdom. Yes, in our hearts we are all pretty much the same; the differences lie in our developed manners and habits, which we had to develop in order to survive in our specific environments and situations. This hub is bookmarked with the greatest respect and appreciation and voted UP UP UP! Alles van die beste tot die sesde!


amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

You remind me a bit of Rabbie Burns 'to see oorsels' as ithers see us'. It would indeed be a 'giftie'.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Tony, this is really an amazing Hub.I have read through it earlier today, then later, I came back and read again. This is one of those works that I will let gel in my mind for a while. For me, finding words is usually no problem, but it is like staring at a sculpture or great painting, and being struck silent. Thank you for presenting this to us on Hub Pages.


KT Banks profile image

KT Banks 6 years ago from Texas

Wow. You're lucky you don't live next door to me. I would be pestering you all the time for more of your insight. This is a hub I will come back to read again - and to tell others about it. Wow.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Excellent, well-organized & -clarified presentation of a subject of major importance to everyone. How one feels about himself or herself is not only reflected in realistic expectations of what is due him or her, but in realistic responses to & treatment of others, all of which you've pointed out so well!

One point I might want to add is the vital role of parents & those close to an infant during the first few years of its life. Those years often set the self image basis & expectations for the lifetime of the person. This can even cause other later feedback to be distorted or rejected.

So strong are the self-images gathered & internalized during those years by a youngster that if he's convinced that he's a "bad" kid, he can be physically ill if he's treated like a "good" kid. It can even become imperative to his well-being that he act out the negative bad image by which he defines himself sufficiently to restore the balance with his internalized sense of self.

Probably one reason self image at those young ages is so firmly and easily instilled is that the individual is more or less a "clean slate" & whatever is put on it has deep effect & significance from then on.

Another reason is that so much that is being learned & deeply absorbed then is it's mostly at a sublingual level, especially as far as fine-tuning goes. The body language & tones used toward the child sink in all the way to the subconscious level & hit home more than words & with more permanent status. Declarations of "I love you" coupled with any harsh treatment or demeaning actions will be drowned out & unabsorbed into the little one's sense of self & worth.

It may be true that an overestimate of one's value causes problems, but perhaps they're mild compared to those caused by a negative self-image, which has a strong tendency to self-fulfillment. Therefore it wouldn't conflict with the reality it's helped create but would be even more confirmed by it. An overestimate of one's positive worth may produce gaps between it & reality but at least they may tend to make the person live up to it. Of course ideally, the self image/self esteem should be in line with the facts, but facts are in flux when it comes to human subjectivity. As you point out - self-image is being challenged, set, re-set, defined, redefined & in short, being created constantly. There are choices & motivations involved as well. "Positive self-talk" is not just empty words, nor is "negative self talk". I agree with what you said about lending postitve feedback & reassurance to others. And of course- to oneself.

I do admire Maslow & had the opportunity to study his works quite a bit years ago when they were "hot" topics. You did such a great job of describing the Self-Acualized person's attitudes & responses. Again they're not static, but in constant dynamic flow. I liked what Mulberry said in her comments above about some days the lower heirarchy needs dominate her list & other days she shoots for guru statius. hehe Astute! Love it!

The overall characteristics of self-actualized people, though, are probably that they don't easily lose the higher-needs attitudes even if they're hungry & they're fairly unflappable when it comes to a lot of pettty stuff that bends less actualized people out of shape rather quickly. They're less likely to jump to hasty conclusions without finding out underlying facts as well as obvious ones. Their ability to appreciate simplicity makes it easier for them to gratify their tastes & preferences, so they have a more satisfied outlook. They focus their criticism on performance rather than personalities - including their own. In the position of that company's directors, they'd be most likely to consider the actual need level of the workers rather than assuming that their own preferences would apply across the board, too.

But their relative serenity can be misunderstood as being less "feeling" or even too self-satisfied. They really "need" less from others than most folks because they find their satisfactions fulfilled more within. The BEING needs are like that. But D-needers are less likely to fathom it.

I hope you continue to bring us more great articles like this, Tony. I'm awed by your ability to present so intelligenly with humor and in-depth understanding & a high degree of self-actualization! It is priceless!


Loves To Read profile image

Loves To Read 6 years ago

This is a very well researched and written hub Tony.Sadly our self esteem goes back to childhood and our upbringing.I would hope that the majority of people were raised in loving homes as that is where our personality is formed. Children who are spoilt have very selfish issues that govern their self esteem. They may see it as their right to order people around or they may in fact feel robbed of affection. Those who are abused mentally, physically or spiritually will grow up feeling worthless and unloved. Sadly i know a few people who fall in this latter category and it is heartbreaking to hear the way others have belittled them. It is a big problem and we as Christians need to help them to raise their self esteem to a new height in the love of our Lord.

Peace and Blessings


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Leanman - I think we might have something in common, training in the workplace. In addition, I was also in the car industry for a number of years. Maslow's theory does have a lot of relevance for personal development in business.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Kim - thanks so much. I appreciate your words and deeds!

Aine - you are most welcome, and thanks for your very kind words.

Ruby - thanks for your thoughtful comments. The ego does indeed interfere where its least wanted!

Acer - a positive use of ego indeed!

HS - thank you and you take care also!

Dimitris - turn the wishes into reality! Go on, you can do it!

Martie - ek is baie dankbaar vir jou wonderlike woorde. I don't think I am superior to anyone, least of all you! We all have gifts and I couldn't write the things you write!

Amillar - yes, I was thinking of Rabbie and that poem of his while I wrote this piece. I didn't use the quote though because I had used it in a previous Hub. A "giftie" it is indeed!

Thanks all for the really amazing comments which I do appreciate very much indeed.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Lilly - thanks so much for you kind words. I am so glad you found it useful.

KT Banks - thanks for the comment and you would be most welcome indeed! Glad to share.

Nellieanna - wow, lady, you have added a whole new dimension to this Hub. Thank you so much for your incredibly generous comment, which I appreciate beyond words, really! I write what I'm passionate about, and I'm quite passionate about a lot of things, so the Hubs will keep coming. It just takes me a while to write them so they don't come too quickly! Thanks again, dear lady.

LTR - yes our upbringing is very often a source of negativity. I do think that we are able to rise above it, most often with the help, support and honest feedback of others. Thanks for the insights you shared here.

Thanks everyone again for the wonderful comments. I really appreciate that you all stopped by and left such supportive comments. Great, wonderful!

Love and peace

Tony


ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

great stuff. I love the value part of the self-actualised person. It appears this is the maturity process as we age (hopefully)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Bill - thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes one hopes that maturity will come with age!

Love and peace

Tony


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Another excellent article, Tony. It is good that you mentioned how false self-esteem is delusional. In America, education is based on false self-esteem; as if by telling a short kid "you are tall" will make him tall. What it really does is make him angry when it becomes apparent most other people consider him short.


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Tony, I could not help but smile at the remark on the hope for maturity to come with age. What will we do without our beloved hope.

For myself, I am going to sandblast Maslow's values for a self actualised person on a big mirror. This mirror will be hung on a prominent place in my home, where all my kids, including me, can see it on a daily basis.

Nice reminders like this can definitely help us to grow into a better people. What a wise man he was!

Perhaps I am not too old yet, as to grow and understand a little bit more. ( But I only grow with positives, and negatives usually affect me very badly, guess I am still too much of a "baby".)

If we all can start to like ourselves as you described it above, I suppose the world will have an end of the "mess's" we see around us.

Great article. I loved it and learned from it.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

James - thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I don't know about education in the US being based on false self-esteem! The example you give is nothing to do with self-esteem and sounds like a simple lie, which will do no-one any good at all. However, the point about self-esteem is that in normal communication, which includes a teaching-learning relationship, honest feedback needs to be given with the intention of at least maintaining a person's self-esteem. In other words, simply showing the person some basic respect.

I also see nothing wrong with helping a person see the positive side of themselves, their strengths. Of course, again with honesty.

That excellent resource for school teachers, ERIC, has this to say about self-esteem at school: 'Self-esteem is most likely to be fostered when children are esteemed and treated respectfully and receive the right kind of positive, meaningful feedback in the form of appreciation, rather than empty praise and flattery. Appreciation is positive feedback related explicitly and directly to the "content" of the child's interest and effort. A teacher might, for example, bring a new reference book to class in response to a question raised by a child. In this way, the teacher provides positive feedback without taking the children's minds off the subject. Self-esteem can be based on increased understanding and competence, as well as on contributing to the work of the group.'

There is no doubt that false attempts to improve self-esteem, or inappropriate means of raising self-esteem, can lead to negative effects like narcissism. Lies never helped anyone.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Tony this hub was not only clear, well presented and totally compelling, I learned a great deal about human behavior, a subject that I find fascinating. Motivation, happiness and personality are all linked and there will always be conflicting theories as to what makes people act and think as they do. Is childhood development the key?...Are we all born good or bad, happy or sad? Is one's chemical make-up responsible for delusional or dependent behavior? It's all still highly debated; however, what you left me with was the fact that most people who struggle with motivation and self-esteem can turn it around only when they acknowledge that their unhappiness and/or life's frustrations can be reversed and when they accept responsibility for their own well-being. It often means just "getting off it" and working truthfully with others. Rated up and awesome and useful!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Francis - thanks so much for your great comment. I do think that the change we would, I hope, all like to see in the world, along the lines of the self-actualised person, do have to start with self-examination, an awareness of what our own values and motives are.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Love and peace

Tony


Midtown Girl profile image

Midtown Girl 6 years ago from Right where I want to be!

Very interesting and complex topic - and always of interest to me. You provided solid information. That, along with the comment exchanges, keeps this conversation going. A wonderful contribution. Thank you!


WestOcean profile image

WestOcean 6 years ago from Great Britain

Great hub. I remember learning about the Johari window in a training course a long time ago - it's a very insightful perspective on human knowledge.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Green Lotus - thanks for stopping by and making such an interesting comment. Your contribution is valued indeed! I agree that taking responsibility is the key.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

MG - thanks for the great comment. I appreciate it. And I too am enjoying the conversation!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

WO - the Johari Window is a very useful tool to aid understanding indeed! Thanks for the comment.

Love and peace

Tony


Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

tonymac, Bravo, I loved this article on self esteem. As a psychotherapist by trade, I know you worked hard on this article. Great organization, clear, and helpful. Thanks so much


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Laura - thank you so much for your very kind words. Your visit and comment I appreciate highly indeed!

Love and peace

Tony


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

" Criticism is not good. Feedback is good ". As a teacher, I have practiced this all my life. Finding this in your hub confirmed to me that my not using criticism, that is a strenght - not a weakness. I am so very pleased. I believe that a person can be "lead" to correcting incorrect singing, piano performance etc. by the instructor, thereby providing the student with stepping stones to self confidence. I feel that criticism only tears down - while earned praise and recognition builds the self-esteem. It works for me! :-)

So many people have been educated and helped by this much-needed and very well written hub. I glean barrels of knowledge from you Tony. This is a magnificent article which deserves a hub nugget nomination. This hub also deserves to win! Thank you my HP friend - you are supportive, kind and an example to us all sharing topics of value and need. Blessings and Peace.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Audrey - thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. Your kind words bring blushes to my cheeks, and I thank you for them!

Love and peace

Tony


Jalus 6 years ago

This is truly a great hub and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Very valuable information - Thank you!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Jalus - thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your comment very much indeed.

Love and peace

Tony

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