PragerU Video: Why Self-Esteem Is Self-Defeating

"Self-esteem actually prevents improvement, because you can only improve if you first acknowledge what you’re not good at."

The whole concept of self-esteem is actually something that can hinder improving yourself. That's what columnist Matt Walsh argues in PragerU's latest video. Self-esteem is a myth since people shouldn't unnecessarily admire themselves.

Walsh recounts that when he was in junior high school, one of his teachers had the class rank their self-esteem on a number system.

"When I asked my teacher why I should have high self-esteem, she said, 'Because you’re special.' When I asked why I was special, she said, 'Because you're you!'" says Walsh. "I found this an odd statement at the time, coming as it was from the woman who'd just given me a D on my last math quiz."

While most of the kids in his class ranked their self-esteem highly, "some of them would grow up to be unemployed alcoholics" and Walsh suggests they still probably consider themselves as having high self-esteem.

This highlights the problem with self-esteem — it results in people having "unearned confidence" in themselves, thus depriving them of the motivation to improve themselves.

"The person with 'high self-esteem' (also known as a 'narcissist') feels good about himself on the basis of nothing," says Walsh. "We may ask him: 'Why do you esteem yourself?' And his learned response will be: 'Because I'm me.'"

Walsh adds, "Like a modern day Narcissus, he can’t see the world outside the window because he’s too busy whispering sweet nothings to his reflection in the glass."

As a result, the "narcissist" won't take the initiative to improve himself since acknowledging areas in his life that he's not particularly good at would harm his self-esteem.

Therefore, Walsh recommends that people shouldn't put any thought into self-esteem.

"Do good things with your life and you'll have all the esteem you’ll ever need," Walsh concluded.

The full video can be seen below:

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