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  1. #1

    Default contingent self-worth

    I have noticed that some people, like Athenian and me, base their self-worth on finding something particular of value in themselves. This often results in low self-esteem. It does for me.

    Others, on the other hand believe they have self-worth no matter what.

    How would you convince someone who believes in contingent self-worth to change his/her mind?

    In particular, please try to convince me that self-worth is not contingent on finding something particular of value in myself.

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  2. #2
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how you can objectively say self-worth is based on some value. How do you determine what that value is in an objective manner?

    For example I've noticed that good looking people often put more value on looks than the average person. Intelligent people tend to put more value on intelligence. Wealthy people tend to put more value on wealth. And so on. How do determine what truly should be of value without giving in to an obvious personal bias?

    If no objective value can be found then it is reasonable to instead assume that all people have equal worth.
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    That chalkboard guy Matthew_Z's Avatar
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    Is self-worth truly a necessary variable?
    If a deaf INFP falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

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    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I have noticed that some people, like Athenian and me, base their self-worth on finding something particular of value in themselves. This often results in low self-esteem. It does for me.

    Others, on the other hand believe they have self-worth no matter what.

    How would you convince someone who believes in contingent self-worth to change his/her mind?

    In particular, please try to convince me that self-worth is not contingent on finding something particular of value in myself.
    As very small children we all pass through the narcissistic stage. And if we are loved unconditionally by our parents, we start to relate, first to them, and then to the rest of the world.

    However if we are loved partially, or for a part of ourselves, we are unable to complete this developmental stage. And so we are left with a Narcissus Complex.

    And so for the rest of our lives we are looking for that unconditional love that was denied us as small children.

    We seek unconditional love in our partners, in our religion, even in sport or from our bosses. But all this is futile because not one of them can love us unconditionally.

    So we are left to wander the world - disconsolate.

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    What is self-worth exactly? Is it a concept that only comes into play when you're comparing yourself to others? Is it the kind of thing where you feel worthless or worthwhile compared to everybody else or worthless or worthwhile to yourself only? These may sound like stupid questions, but I'm being serious. Perhaps you could give me an example of something that would be a huge blow to your self-worth and something that would raise it. How does a person even justify having low self-worth?
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6
    Mud and rain and chaos... TickTock's Avatar
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    I'm sure the people you see as having self worth no matter what are actually basing it on something. And if you lived in their shoes you would see they are not as confident as they appear. There is such a thing as being too confident. It's more about being natural and true to yourself and focusing on what is positive in your life to build a secure frame of mind.
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  7. #7
    Mud and rain and chaos... TickTock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucrativeSid View Post
    What is self-worth exactly? Is it a concept that only comes into play when you're comparing yourself to others? Is it the kind of thing where you feel worthless or worthwhile compared to everybody else or worthless or worthwhile to yourself only? These may sound like stupid questions, but I'm being serious. Perhaps you could give me an example of something that would be a huge blow to your self-worth and something that would raise it. How does a person even justify having low self-worth?
    I wouldn't say it is only when interacting with other people, it is a constant thing. However, it is only when interacting with others that one may realize they have a low self worth. In which case it is worth addressing and repairing.
    ~ Truth ~ Freedom ~ Health ~ Love ~ Communication ~ Humor ~ Respect ~

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    That makes sense, TickTock. Thanks.

    To Ygolo and anybody else:

    I just looked at the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale. Rosenberg self esteem scale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Even though I'm constantly wanting to be better, based on that self-esteem scale, I have a high amount of self-esteem. I believe that my constant striving to be better doesn't affect my self-esteem negatively because I don't have any doubt that I can be better as long as I try to be. So I guess my own self-esteem is partially based on that belief. For example, if I was trying to improve some particular aspect of my character, I'd be happy with myself just for trying. I don't feel a void because the trait I want is missing, I feel excited because I know I'll have it some day. Heck, I feel excited just by knowing it's an option to strive for and that I could possibly have it some day. And I think that's probably the main difference between contingent self-esteem and the other, more holistic, kind of self-esteem.

    I agree with TickTock - I do think self-worth is always based on something. I guess the main thing is how complicated or specific of a thing do you base it on. I had a conversation on Ventrilo about this a few months ago, actually, with someone else who had contingent self-esteem.

    The things that I base my self-esteem are EASY things that are very broad and generally fail-proof. Haha. I believe that I'm a good person who is doing my best. I know that I'm kind towards people. And beyond my intentions alone, I actually believe that I do pretty well sometimes, that I'm unique, that I'm creative, that I'm relatively smart and capable, and that I have a positive impact, no matter how big or small, on a lot of people. I also believe that I'm constantly becoming better, regardless of how slow progress is, and that because of this, I'll be able to make even more of a positive impact and be able to experience an even deeper and richer life experience in the future. (And I'm excited about that!) Sometimes people think I'm beating myself up when they hear me say negative things about myself, but it's really just out of excitement and the will do better that I do it. The more clearly I look at my flaws, the more excited I get about possibly overcoming them or at least giving them a magnificent battle. Even when I'm miserable and clearly suffering from my own mistakes and faults, I still think I'm awesome, that just means more credit to me for trying to dig myself out of it and more glory for me once I overcome it all!

    There, that's probably the corniest thing I've ever written. I'm not an expert, and I'm not trying to make it look like I don't have my own problems, but I tried to help and contribute and that's all that matters to me. I won't base my self-worth on whether I did a good job or made perfect sense or not. (However, I will try my best to answer questions if there are any.)

    What do you actually base your self-worth on Ygolo? How hard is it too maintain?

    You wanted convincing, so here's my attempt: You're growing. You're moving UP. Relax and be happy that you're on the right elevator, the upward moving elevator. You're moving up no matter what you do, so failures, unmet expectations, and the occasional letting go of your worries isn't going to make the elevator stop and start going the other way. At the very least, you'll just move slower for a while. You deserve all the self-love in the world for moving in the right direction. It doesn't have to be any more complex than that.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Ygolo, I found it came from realizing that nobody is perfect. Including those I love dearly. And I realized that was holding the bar up so high for myself that I would never reach it, which demoralized me, and made me miserable and stop trying. That was counterproductive.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't hold that ideal, or keep striving. But learn to take a step back and smile at yourself, while you're struggling to get there. And be proud of each step you take. It's a learning-curve, a journey that never ends. Realize that if you are willing to accept othesr for their flaws, heck, even love them despite of it or even, because of it, you deserve the same thing. Flaws in someone are in fact often what makes them unique, special, endearing....human
    Perfection gets boring after a while.

    The second part of it for me, was, when I discovered MBTI, and noticed I could 'label' my strenghts. Things I'd always considered normal, natural and average, or for that matter useless to be able to do. In short, nothing to be proud of. I assumed wrongly that others were equally capable of those things, but for some reason didn't as apparently they didn't consider it valuable. So...I reasoned, they must not be valuable. I was the only one who was apparently using things that everyone else had already discarded as 'useless anyway'. When I discovered being NFP and met other NFPs, that changed for me. It made me realize that different people deal with their flaws in different ways. Some will claim to be proud of their flaws, and scoff at the 'strenghts' that would balance them out in order to keep their self-image and self-esteem intact. Others would not find those skills a priority but prioritized other things that I myself considered to be lower on the list. And then there are those that truly admire my set of skills, as I do theirs.

    Realize what your strengths are and use them confidently. Refine them. This will come naturally to you. Don't deny your weaknesses, embrace them, and try to give them a basic grace so they're not a handicap without having the need to specialize in them. We're a pack animal for a reason. Recognize when something isn't your field of expertise and ask for help, trade it for your set of skills for that matter. And genuinly appreciate the other for their skills. People will do the same for you.

    For that matter, they already do. You might wanna take a look around and realize they do
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    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Study: Self-Esteem Must Come From Within

    Crocker controlled for the students' levels of self-esteem, and for gender, ethnicity and parental income. She found that students who based their self-worth on external sources such as appearance, doing better than others or the approval of other people, even their families, showed more stress and anger and were more likely to have higher levels of drug and alcohol use and more symptoms of disordered eating.

    Surprisingly, she also found that college students who based their self-worth on their academic performance reported more conflicts with professors and teaching assistants than students who scored relatively low in their endorsement of good grades as a source of self-worth. Furthermore, although these students were highly motivated and reported studying more hours each week, they did not receive higher grades, Crocker found.

    "My research shows that when you make your self-esteem contingent on something other than your basic value as a human being, it's not a good thing, even if the source of your self-esteem is something as praise-worthy as getting good grades," she says.

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