James Carroll's Reviews > Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem: Twelve Keys to Finding Peace

Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem by Ester Rasband
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's review
Sep 11, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: religious
Recommended for: everyone
Read in January, 1999

This is one of my favorite all time LDS books! Excellent.

The world says: Your good enough, your smart enough, and gosh darn it people like you.

The gospel says: your not good enough, your not smart enough, and it shouldn't matter what people think, but God is good enough, God is smart enough, and He loves you enough to die for you, with His help, you can accomplish anything that is in accordance with His will. By God's power, He will change our very natures until He makes us good enough, smart enough, and like Him, by His grace not our works.

This is the gospel, and illustrates the difference between "self esteem" (otherwise known as pride) and real self worth.

The problem with pushing the "your good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it people like you" garbage is that one of these days, everyone notices that they are not good enough for something they want (certainly not good enough to be perfect like God), that they are not smart enough, and that at least some people dislike them.... and then what do they do? If their feelings of self worth are tied to these concepts, then they simply fall apart. The more we seek for self esteem, the more we either loose all powers of honest self introspection (because we must lie to ourselves to convince ourselves that we are good enough when we actually aren't; we must try to convince ourselves that all our problems are someone else's fault, and thereby loose the ability to recognize our failings, the first step to repentance), or else we loose the ability to make true peace with ourselves (because we never feel that we measure up to even our own expectations, becoming depressed and filled with doubt). One or the other must be lost in a "self esteem" philosophy.

The more we focus on finding self esteem, the more it slips through our fingers. It is only when we give up on our "self esteem" that we can find our true "self worth."

The worth of an object is determined by the price that a knowledgeable buyer is willing to pay for the object. The Savior, (truly the most knowledgeable of buyers) has decided that our "worth" is infinite, EVEN THOUGH we are not good enough, or smart enough, and regardless of what some people may think. Do we really think that the Savior made a mistake when he chose to pay this infinite price? Because our potential is infinite, Christ paid an infinite price for us, despite our current nature, not because of it.

Thus the Gospel can give a true feeling of self worth and confidence, but never of self esteem.

We aren't number one, because God is no respecter of persons; we aren't special, because the worth of ALL souls is great even the worth of the least of God's children and we shouldn't be comparing ourselves with them anyway; and we don't need to "find ourselves," rather we need to serve others as God serves us.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom Well-said, James. Not that I've read the book.

message 2: by Tom (new)

Tom I also like the word "confidence" (i.e., with properly-placed faith).

James Carroll "Then shall your confidence wax strong in the presence of the Lord"

message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom That's where I get the term from, yes. Not sure if it's commonly used elsewhere (haven't specifically searched on it), but I still like it (vs. terms like "self-esteem").

message 5: by James (last edited May 26, 2010 09:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Carroll The concept is certainly everywhere. My favorite example is in Moses 1.

When Moses was worried about having to confront Pharaoh, God showed him a vision, in which he learned that both he and Pharaoh are "nothing" because "man is nothing" compared to the wonder of God's marvelous and eternal creations, but then he is told that he is God's son... in other words, Pharaoh may build pyramids, but God builds worlds... and He loves you... and He is on your side... so why are you nervous about facing Pharaoh with God as your ally?

If a modern psychologist found a patient worried that he isn't good enough, he would try to convince the person that he is indeed good enough, but that is NOT how God approaches the problem. There is no mention of how MOSES is good enough to face Pharaoh, because he isn't. There is only a mention about how God is good enough, and about how He will be with Moses, thus Moses need not worry.

message 6: by Ashley (new) - added it

Ashley Dudley I haven't read this book, after reading your review I don't even feel like I need to,(although I want to) this simple concept seems absolutely genius. If I had understood this as a kid my life would be far greater. I hope to instill this in my own children now. Thanks for convincing me to read it

James Carroll Thanks Ashley, I hope you read it and like it! I love it. Let me know what you think when you are done.

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