It's understandable why many people think that high self esteem is the antidote to low self esteem. In life generally, if you have too little money, lots of money is attractive. If you don't have enough food, a banquet is highly appealing.
But you need to think about high self esteem differently. Self esteem is more like paracetamol – the right amount will help you, but too much is a very bad idea indeed.
Truly low self esteem is a terrible thing; having the opinion that you yourself are worthless – are rubbish – is a condition no-one should have to endure. But high self esteem is a serious obstacle too, if not for you, then certainly for those around you.
Some characteristics of people with high self esteem are:
- Being prone to self satisfied boasting
- Tending to be smug and superior
- Abusing relationships, assuming their needs come first in any situation. If this doesn't happen, they will become angry and bullying
- Adopting an air of superiority, simply because they have skill or luck in a particular area of life
- Being blind to their own faults and so are unlikely to change or improve themselves
- Tending to have impulse control problems
There is also now a wealth of evidence linking high self esteem to criminality.
I often hear clients suffering from real low self esteem compare themselves with the swaggering, loud uber-confident lad at their school, or the superman in their boardroom, but that does them no justice at all. I would much rather spend time with someone who has lower self esteem than someone with super-high self esteem – they are generally just nicer people!
Understanding that that super-confident individual has a handicap as real as their own can make a great difference to the way they feel about themselves.