chapter  Chapter 9
13 Pages

The relational turn

Self-esteem and self-actualisation
WithChris Steed

This chapter explores the notion that self-esteem is an inadequate container for the view of human personality proposed. Self-esteem, or its lack, is not a thing but an ingrained mode of thinking. Strategies for raising self-esteem often engender the opposite effect. The theory that deficits in self-esteem lead to a broad array of dysfunctional behaviours has run a long distance. The California’s Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and State Responsibility generated unabashed missionary zeal in the cause of high self-esteem. The drive to sustain self-esteem is a massive concern in the West. Widespread belief in “raising self-esteem” as an all-purpose cure for social problems has created a huge market for self-help manuals and educational programmes. Self-esteem is often promoted to be a major cause of dysfunctional behaviour ranging from youth involvement in crime to adult failure to succeed in life, the root of all the problems in the world.