Self Esteem – “Serving others is good”… or is it?

Self esteem is central to our survival. It is the basis of our well being. Entire books have been written on the subject of self esteem and yet, there is no single one unifying definition of self esteem.

A confidence and satisfaction in oneself.
- Webster's dictionary

Self esteem is a state of mind. It is the way you feel and think about yourself and others, and is measured by the way you act. - Connie Paladino

Self esteem is a confidence in our ability to think, to cope with the basic challenges of life and confidence in our right to be successful and happy. - Nathaniel Branden

How serving others can be a symptom of low Self Esteem – realization from Life coach Carel Myburgh

Carel reflects that one of the strangely and maybe less obvious symptoms of low self esteem is to put the needs of others above one’s own. He further reflects on how this seemingly good intention is hidden or obscured by the fact that such behavior is y praised and falls in line with some cultural and religious belief systems.

“Serving others is good”… or is it?

Consider this. Just how debilitating and limiting is this “Serving others” when such behavior has a low self esteem as its actual source.

It is further Carel’s opinion that a person with a low self esteem, naturally values themselves less than others and therefore regards the whishes and needs of others as more important than their own. In doing so the self is under threat and you are in danger of losing yourself in the process of serving the needs and agenda’s of everybody else. Having Self Esteem becomes dependant on external approval gained by serving. Allowing yourself to sacrifice and suppress your own feelings and needs can then fuel resentment towards those whose approval is being sought. These feelings of resentment are suppressed due to feelings of guilt that arise as a result of cultural values, beliefs and religious convictions, and can create a sense of selfishness.

“being skilled at taking care of yourself may improve your capacity to care for others” - Ethel S Person, MD

“….we all have ample opportunity to fall into the pattern of serving the people we love before we serve ourselves. But there is good reason to be judicious about that. If you always put someone else first, there’s a tendency for others to depreciate you, to lose respect, because respect comes from an understanding that that person has his own wishes, dreams, and desires. It is possible to have equal concerns for yourself and for loved ones – there aren’t always conflicting priorities. In fact, being skilled at taking care of yourself may improve your capacity to care for others; if you’re not fulfilled, you’re only able to see other people through the filter of your own needs.”

Ethel S Person, MD, author of the book Feeling Strong: the Achievement of Authentic Power

The need for positive self esteem and identity is common to all of us. We need to feel accepted, confident, worthy, and self-reliant.

Author's Bio: 

Bennie Louw is a Life Coach, NLP/ HNLP Practitioner & Coach, Hypnotherapist

With close to 20 years of recruitment experience, placing hundreds people and interviewing thousands of jobseekers, I have come to realise how many people are stressed out, depressed, miserable or stuck and powerless in their jobs. It is my intention to offer you affordable career coaching utilising effective NLP techniques backed up by years of industry experience. The focus is transformation of your life, through effective coaching getting to know what you want and gaining confidence to go for it.

BA. Hons, Certified NLP and HNLP Practitioner & Coach, Certified Hypnotherapist