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Tough Love Can Improve Self-Esteem

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Dr. Jim Taylor, Ph.D., Psychology and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco claims that our entire nation has self-esteem issues.

The issue, he argues, lies therein the fact that for the past 40 years, we’ve spent so much time stepping around everyone’s feelings that we’ve fostered a culture who has high self-esteem based on zero merit.

In a Huffington Post article penned by Taylor, he writes that “Self-esteem is commonly thought of as how we feel about ourselves, our appraisal of our own self-worth. But real self-esteem is a complex attribute that has become one of the most misunderstood and misused psychological characteristics of the last 40 years.”

Taylor continues to write, “America's self-esteem problem began because parents and other influences on self-esteem (e.g., teachers and coaches) got the wrong messages about self-esteem from those experts. Instead of creating children with true self-esteem, our country has created a generation of children who, for all the appearances of high self-esteem, actually have little regard for themselves (because they have little on which to base their self-esteem).”

Taylor argues that our political correctness and our fear of hurting our kids’ feelings is to blame for low self-esteem levels. While we may tell ourselves we have high self-esteem, many Americans have nothing on which to validate our esteem other than the grooming over the years of being told ‘you’re smart’, ‘you’re pretty’ or ‘you’re a great athlete’.

Taylor argues we’ve all got issues, while a research team from Switzerland unearths a few more specifics regarding self-esteem in America.

Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland analyzed U.S. data on self-esteem and found differentiation of self-esteem levels are based largely on race and age.

In a report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the researchers analyzed U.S. data of more than 7,000 young adults from 1994 to 2008, ranging in ages from 14 to 30 years old.

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