I would like to share some quotes from Albert Ellis’s book: The Myth of Self-Esteem, to introduce two different psychological positions we can take, in our relationship with ourselves and our performances:
Self-rating: Rating and labelling ourselves based on our performances
Self-acceptance: Accepting ourselves as globally ok and worthy while limiting our tendency to rate and label, to our individual performances and behaviours.
Of course, Self-rating and Self-acceptance tend to involve vastly different emotional and behavioural consequences as well..
So let’s see some insightful observations and recommendations by Albert Ellis:
“…You realise along with a modern philosopher, Alfred Korzybski, that your performance is part of you, but certainly not all of you.”
“As Korzybski said, you are not your behavior. You are that and thousands of other behaviours – good, bad, and indifferent.”
“Rating or evaluating your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors but not your self or totality: Telling yourself, “It is good to achieve my goals and purposes, because I desire to fulfill them. But I am never a good person or a bad person, no matter what I do. I don’t have to rate my self at all – only what I think, feel, and do.”
“You can choose to (1) keenly dislike your, other people’s, and life’s happenings (As) and still accept those Adversities that you cannot now change.”
“…He confuses his self, his total personality with his performances, and he automatically evaluates and rates the former along with the latter. Consequently, he very frequently ends up by damning himself and other people (that is, denigrating his and their intrinsic value) rather than merely appraising the efficacy or desirability of his or their performances (his and their extrinsic value).”
“If you elevate or defame yourself because of your performances, you will tend to be self-centered rather than problem-centered, and these performances will, consequently, tend to suffer.”
“We had better rate our important parts – our thoughts, feelings, and actions – to see how they helped or hindered us.”
“…I see individual clients, I have REBT groups – mainly to help people stop rating themselves while still evaluating what they think, feel, and do to presumably live more successfully.”
“As Alfred Adler noted, you recognize your superior skill – good! – and see yourself as a superior person – not so good!”
“… my act, is bad and I am responsible for it, I am not it, but a person who did it and who can change and act better next time.”
“…I will always feel equal to other people – never superior or inferior.”
“Accept without liking your failing and incompetence. But try, try again!”
“Accept that acceptance is largely compassion – for you and your self, for others and their self, and for the troubled world and its self.”
I hope you’ve also found these quotes thought-provoking and they helped you reflect beneficially on this important area of Self-esteem.
Albert Ellis (2005). The Myth of Self-esteem: How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Can Change Your Life Forever