Finally!! A major study by an expert in self esteem commissioned by the American Psychological Society to study the benefits of self-esteem, and the finding is “disappointing.” Professor Roy F. Baumeister of Florida State writes in the Tuesday Opinion Section of the Los Angeles Times:
1. Does not produce better grades
2. Does not produce better work habits or quality
3. Does not result in more friends or better relationships
4. Does not produce better leaders
5. Does not keep people from becoming bullies
6. Does not keep people from cheating, stealing or experimenting with sex or drugs
Other findings suggested that
1. Humility was better predictor for leadership
2. Kids told to suck it up were more likely to get better grades
Some benefits may be that those with self-esteem are happier, bounce back from problems faster, and exhibit more initiative. It is not clear that these benefits can be derived from trying to build self-esteem. It may be that these individuals think well of themselves because they are predisposed to, or that they are actually doing well.
The author suggests discipline and self control are more likely to produce the results that the self-esteem movement only promised, but didn’t deliver.
In an e-mail exchange with the professor, I suggested that unconditional love resulting in feelings of being valued or having worth might also produce the results that the self-esteem folks hoped for. The only source of such unconditional love is God. He responded: “ as for feeling valued rather than esteemed, this is an interesting distinction i had not thought about. boosting self-esteem for its own sake probably contributes to narcissism, and the christians among my friends seem refreshingly immune to becoming narcissistic, so they must be doing something right!”
Once again the Bible of the ages trumps the scientists of our times.