"Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon." E.M. Forster
BURSTING THE SELF-ESTEEM BUBBLE
People with high self-esteem may be more of a threat to society than those with a lower sense of self-worth. Controversial study findings by Nicholas Emler, Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, reported in Psychology Today (March/April 2002) indicate that people with high self-esteem are more likely to be racist, violent and criminal. Emler reviewed seminal research on self-esteem as well as hundreds of study abstracts before concluding that low self-esteem increases the risk of eating disorders, suicide and depression, but it is not a factor in delinquency or substance abuse, nor is it a risk factor for poor academic performance.
Emler found that people with high self-esteem may have an unrealistic sense of themselves. "They expect to do well at things, discount failure, and feel beyond reproach." High self-esteem seems most dangerous when it colors racial and ethnic tolerance. "People with incredibly positive views of themselves feel anybody who differs from them is an insult," explains Emler. "They just don't like people who are different."
For other views on self-image, check out the Beginnings Workshop training kit, "Building Self-Image," at www.ChildCareExchange.com.
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