Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Can I offer you some low self-esteem?

Having low self-esteem is considered an insult in our society. You can be accused of this affliction if you are anything from reserved, to very loud (you must be compensating for something), depressed, a push-over, a masochist, etc. Terms like low self-esteem and low confidence are thrown around all the time. However, saying that someone is a person with low self-esteem is just as erroneous as saying that someone is a person with hunger. It is a passing phase that happens often and to all, and some more often and strongly than others. I am certain that everyone has had periods of their life where they have experienced feelings of inadequacy or experience these feelings with respect to different aspects of their lives.

There has always been a negative connotation with low-self esteem whereas high confidence has been associated with positive attributions - i.e. confidence brings success, happiness, friends, money..etc.But being confident isn't necessarily all its cracked up to be. As Charles Darwin so eloquently stated, 'Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge'. This means that knowing your limitations, and even underestimating your abilities can actually be more powerful than believing too much in yourself. I find this especially true in relation to your academic and professional life.In a psychological study done at Cornell University, students found that people who performed the worst in tests of logic, grammar and comedy also were the ones to have most overestimated their abilities. Those who performed better, were better aware of the limitations of their abilities. (

Evidently, if you begin to dwell too much on your limitations - because trust me EVERYONE has A LOT of them, it may prevent you from attempting new things. Having perpetually low self-esteem can lead to self-pity and depression. However, a healthy dose of low self-esteem is always good - it is better to err on the negative side as opposed to overestimations, as these could certainly lead to precarious outcomes!! Just be careful not to overestimate your abilities of underestimating your abilities!!


Anonymous meemers said...

i've seemed to have underestimated your insightfulness! kudos!

June 12, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

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