When you seek self-esteem in an unhealthy way, you do things to get approval/validation from others. You'll suck some blood from girls who like you, suck some blood from jobs you apply for that want you, tell friends about all the high-end interviews you have and the cool things you're doing. But after you've gotten what you need from the girls, the jobs, the friends, you realize you never really wanted any of them. And that you wasted your time in the process when you should seek what YOUR OWN PATH is. Self-compassion/kindness is when you become your own sustainable bloodsource of self-esteem and it is critical for your survival and success.
(eg. psychotherapy, negative third party social group stereotyping, pop culture references, second person framing of self-help advice as casual banter, capitalia, shameless and fundamentally American reformation of compassion in an ego-linked context...)
For starters, I didn't notice any citations in your claims of academic relevance. Have you read papers from reputable institutions that support your positions as their central thrust (rather than a side note or speculation)? If so please cite one and let us know how many of your points are part of its central argument.
Taking it down a notch from academia, even the Wikipedia article on American stereotypes does agree with your list. Too many biased Americans on WP? Even anecdotally in countries I've lived and stayed in, many people were happy to share their American stereotypes and I enjoyed the discussions, but they never mentioned your list.
Some of the things I'm used to hearing: Americans are fat? Not a pleasant thing to hear but objectively true. Americans are gun crazy? Not everyone but still, there is solid foundation here. So this is not a matter of (just) being insulted, I simply call into question your ability to back up your specific claims with sound evidence and data.
Finally your claim that self compassion is "fundamentally juxtaposed" to eastern meditative traditions is incorrect (I assume you meant to write opposed). On the contrary, it is vital component of some practices and one of the first things studied (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mettā#Mett.C4.81_meditation).
With everything happening in the US right now the last thing we need is people making false assumptions that all of us support the same leadership, same homogeneous viewpoints, same personal failings, etc.
Second, I prefaced to ensure this was taken as tongue in cheek as intended. Clearly you missed that part.
Third, having spent many years researching Buddhism we must agree to disagree regarding your suggestion that self-targeted compassion and Pali metta are similar.
Finally, a passing generalization is clearly not the same as viewing everyone as identical.
Incorrect. "ethnocentrism: evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one's own culture"
>I prefaced to ensure this was taken as tongue in cheek as intended. Clearly you missed that part.
I didn't miss it. Writers get to imply as they like. Readers are free to infer as they like. That's how it works.
>Having spent many years researching Buddhism we must agree to disagree regarding your suggestion that self-targeted compassion and Pali metta.
I'm sorry, this is just completely untrue.
1) From your own sources: "Right at the start loving-kindness should be developed towards oneself."
2) From my source: "[In] practices that focus on compassion...the practitioner is targeting oneself"
3) Choose any master you like who has written on metta/lovingkindnessand and compassion. By long tradition the start of the path is self compassion.
>a passing generalization is clearly not the same as viewing everyone as identical.
I hope not. The problem with generalizations and false stereotypes is they tend to encourage that sort of thinking.
No disrespect, but it's so American that someone should use it as an academic linguistic example of culture-specific communication!
(Eg, psychotherapy, negative social groups of social groups, pop culture referrals, second-person counseling as casual jokes, capitalia, shameless and fundamentally American reform of compassion in a context Linked to the ego ...)
Penises and vaginas. Since those with ambiguous genitalia are a rounding error, they can flip a coin.
Please don't take this the wrong way.
this is so American
I felt that the commenter was expressing themselves in a way that was particularly unique to Americans.
someone should use it as an academic linguistics example of culture-specific communication!
I believe the example is of such a high quality that it would be useful in an academic context (ie. college/university courses) as an example of communications made within one culture that are unique to that culture versus other cultures speaking the very same language, ie. people born in Scotland or New Zealand would generally never communicate in this way.
The examples list arguably American cultural traits present in the paragraph.
(Edit to explain points: 'psychotherapy' = more prevalent in US culture, 'negative third party social group stereotyping' = ~all those people are <negative-something>, 'pop culture references' = vampires, 'second person framing of self-help advice as casual banter' = grammatical form where "you gotta X", or "you should Y", or "when you X you Y!", 'capitalia' = THIS BIT IS GRATING, 'reformation of compassion in an ego-linked context' = compassion for self, which is fundamentally juxtaposed to traditional not-self usage as linked to eastern meditative traditions (vipassana, etc.) and where increased egocentrism is widely considered a quintessentially American cultural trait).
In particular, there's about 140,000 hits for "emotional vampirism" when you Google it in Russian (pop culture, eh?).
Same thing about writing in ALL CAPS: http://lurkmore.to/CAPSLOCK
May I ask you, which many languages, besides English, do you browse the Internet in? I am curious about your the basis for comparison.
^People are becoming more open about seeing a therapist (психолог), but it's something out of reach of most people.
the list goes on
I am now a few years post-divorce and in a relationship with a wonderful future wife v2.0, and I will be the first to tell you that my perspective on others', careers, and behavior patterns has changed significantly because I'm exposed to a very different slice of American culture than I was with wife v1.0. You'll find similarities where you didn't expect to find them. The same is true of differences.
Still lower than a lot of other professions. I do wonder how the difference in work-culture affects the data though. I have talked to programmers in the UK who say that the environment is completely different -- 35-40 hour weeks rather than the churn and burn that you see at a lot of businesses here.
This is a misconception. If you work in a cost-centre (biz speak for not making direct dollars) your task maybe cut. I've seen whole divisions in corporations cut when savings were required. Startups are notoriously flakey for employment for reasons other than direct failure. If you work in an area with measurable sales (product) you may make a lot of money.
Tech at the moment reminds me of Rock music in the 70's. Lots of cash splashing about, deals done, people making money in making music. If there is a re-adjustment due to technology, for example the move to coughDigital/CDscough in the 80's using our music analogy?
Seems to me like there are plenty of jobs for people to get into tech and make a decent living, if they prioritize for their happiness rather than compensation or doing something 'cool'.
I'm still a bit like that, very often I did things for wrong reasons, validation. My brain was very efficient and very pleasuring when seeking mental complexity, appearing smart; but socially inept to interact emotionnaly with people in sane honest ways.
A fun problem.
> The Mountain Goats - Damn These Vampires
> Bright Eyes - Devil Town
But anyways, amazing song, AMAZING artist - one of my favorites.
And yes, love yourself.
> Atreyu - The Crimson
I think this is the opposite of what the article was saying.
The article says that instead of looking for "self-esteem" from your successes (and avoiding failures), you should stop chasing self-esteem altogether, and instead choose self-compassion.
> it is critical for your survival and success
I think the article is trying to say "It's okay not to succeed, go easy on yourself."
This might sound weird but I try this sometimes. "Thanks, past self, for having done this on time, now I can enjoy the weekend because I'm done with this tedious work!" You don't have to literally talk to yourself or anything, but it's IMO a healthy state of mind. It's also the only way I've found to directly tackle the underlying problem of procrastination instead of just telling yourself to "not be lazy, stupid!".
I often think of this geeky comic when the subject comes up: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/13
e.g. $10 is most useful right now, slightly less useful a day from now, and much less useful a year from now. This is for real reasons -- inflation -- and psychological reasons -- I'm more excited about getting that $10 now than in a year.
There are equations for this stuff but it's been a long time since college.
You can replace $10 with other "goods" like time, sleep, relaxation, etc.
That phrasing helps immensely. Sometimes it's worth it to push out the pain, but usually it isn't.
I often will consider my past and future as a separate entity or person than myself today in the present. And acknowledge things theyve done good or bad. Or to be kind to your future self as if you are doing a favor for a close friend.
And of course, social media plays a huge role in this reduction of the complexity of emotional life to more superficial things, to what can fit in a camera lens or a blurb.
The kind of self-esteem that people have, I imagine, must be like malnourished populations that are also obese. They don't have any lack of social interaction quantitatively, but they're still emotionally/spiritually hungry.
That idea interest me. Can you elaborate it? Maybe some link?
EDIT: actually this is an excellent resource for the HN crowd, 100% BS free. It explains DMN and much more:
How do you form good unconditional friendships you ask? Hey, I didn't say I had all of the answers. One thing I might add is that, at least in my experience, a bad friendship is actually worse than being alone (though one might hesitate to call it a friendship to begin with), so tread carefully.
I think human relationships come with conditions. If there is not some reciprocation of affection, support, time, kindness, etc, then what you have is not a positive relationship, usually for either side, though they may not see it. I think we see good relationships as "unconditional" because the reciprocation comes easily and without calculation, but there are still conditions.
It's unconditional when it doesn't feel like there are conditions, and when your friend doesn't require anything extra of you beyond the things you do.
If you just want to argue some petty semantics, then your point stands.
It's incumbent on all of us to evaluate our relationships and make sure we're doing our part and not being either the one taken advantage of or the one taking advantage. Indeed, I would argue the "conditions" are what makes it a friendship and that being aware of those conditions is actually pretty healthy. As I matured I found myself noticing a number of my relationships were not healthy. Without that self-reflection, I think I might be much worse off today.
Your friends who are unconditional friends are not good friends. If you value your temporary happiness over personal growth, and friends who will help you become a better person, then you are chasing a false sense of self worth. Do you really want to feel artificially good about yourself by surrounding yourself with `yes men`?
Sometimes your friends will make you feel bad, and that's okay. Sometimes you should feel bad.
So, in the category of "It works for me, YMMV.":
I am active in two hobby related clubs, one is a local ham radio club, the other is a local robotics club. Both consist of a self-selected pack of nerds that share a common interest. The members of both tend to be quirky individuals... I suppose I am, too. Both communities are large enough that I have formed lasting friendships with compatibly quirky individuals from each.
The common interest anchors the relationship, so any peripheral differences can be glossed over or ignored while working together to solve a particular problem together.
Wherewithal might be 'on my own' or with assistance or guidance from others. It might require creativity or just persistence. But without it, we feel helpless, hopeless and ultimately dependent and depressed.
How can people who lack a sense of agency develop it in a healthy way?
My understanding of compassion is that it is more than trating yourself as a best friend -- that is a short-hand if you have diffculty generating loving-kindness for yourself.
Life does not always give you a choice. You are not always in control (though one should still keep their wits about them). A sense of agency can again, augment the false sense of self, no more different than self confidence or self esteem.
Self compassion is different. It is loving-kindness directed to oneseld whether one is doing great or doing bad, on top of the world or hiding in deep shame, heroically rising above or writhing in guilt, having a strong sense of agency or lacking it.
It is much more painful to recieve loving-kindness when you are wounded. Loving-kindness doesn't soothe away pain so much as bring it into greater attention and allow the pain to be felt, accepted, and change can take place. It is only then that there is a transformative effect.
It can be difficult to generate loving-kindness towards oneself if you've lived a lifetime of self-judgement and self-harm. You might have forgotten what it felt like.
She was pretty harsh on helicopter parenting, and she did a good job setting expectations with parents, teachers and staff that the students really are becoming young adults in high school and they need to be given respect and responsibility.
Her speech was pretty impressive, and I doubt my explanation is doing it justice, but it was the first I'd heard the term and it really struck a chord with me.
Reminds me of a book "When I Say No I feel Guilty", which suggests assertively stating what you desire to others -- even if it's "Because that's what I want and I don't have a good reason" -- as opposed to trying to struggling to frame everything in terms of "Because That's How The World Works".
> Striving, by its nature, often results in setbacks, and setbacks are often what provide the essential information needed to adjust strategies to achieve mastery.
(from the book on learning Make It Stick)
The self serves as a useful model for behavior, but it changes so much based on context. A universal self-esteem makes no sense when you accept the fact that a human being cannot ever exist in isolation (I always exist in relation to my environment).
Something that comes un-earned to me has no value.
This extends to my relationship with myself. I'm hard on others so it only makes sense that I'm hard on myself.
This is what happens when your parents get divorced and you're raised by a shitty step mom. Not that my own mother was that great to begin with (cheated on my dad etc.)
It’s a pay-it-forward kind of model. And if you choose to you can absolutely “earn” (or at least repay) every bit of kindness that’s offered to you. By stepping up and also being kind to others in need.
Stuff is hard.
For example, you can decide that by simply being human, one deserves to be treated well as a standard, taking that away when someone earns the right to be treated lesser.
You can decide that you earn someone's affection simply by being yourself around the person. That's more work than folks let onto.
You can decide that sure, the past was shitty - but you've worked and persevered nonetheless and earned the things you have. You can choose to see that while those folks were shitty, others around you haven't been. You can choose to not be a victim to the past. People do it all the time.
You can choose to be a bit easier on yourself. This isn't easy and takes a bit of detachment and reminding yourself that you tend to be hard on yourself so that you can set more obtainable goals.
You can choose to get therapy to help you with these things. You've already the self-awareness of much of this, which puts you steps ahead of others.
This sounds an awful lot like the "happiness is a choice" speech. If self improvement and changing deep seated thought patterns were as easy as just choosing and deciding to act and think a certain way, the world would be a much better place.
The truth is it is a lot more complicated than that - it takes effort, practice, and guidance over a long period of time to actually enact these choices and decisions.
I do choose to fix this, I do decide to be easier on myself, this is why I've been seeing a therapist weekly for almost a year.
To be fair, though, I'd have said many of the same things in your response 6-7 years ago. One day, it just clicked.
On a different note, happy to hear that you are getting help. I hope things have eased up over the last year for you and that they continue to do so.
Friendship isn't earned, it is discovered and built up :)
No, this happens when you accept that you are a victim and declare that you have zero control over your emotional shortcomings because of a past event. And it will continue to happen aslong as you reinforce this in yourself.
It's not about identifying yourself as the victim etc., it's about identifying patterns that you're not even aware of.
My comment was now in retrospect - I didn't even at the time consider my childhood to be especially bad until after therapy.
This post is riddled with misunderstanding and you have provided a classic example.
At what age do you want to stop seeing yourself as a victim?
CHOOSE to be happy and you will!!! Embrace change!!
What a load of crap, you shouldn't be commenting on things you aren't familiar with.
Go stay up for 6 days in a row and then tell me how well you function, how well you can make sound decisions and control your thoughts.
This is very similar.
My comment judging myself and about my childhood is in retrospect after now having spent a year in therapy. It's really brought these things to light and now that I am aware I can attempt to fix them.
And I can assure you fixing them is a lot more fucking work than making some trivial declaration that I choose to be X or choose not to be Y.
What a fucking a joke to hear people talk about this when they have no clue.
You're probably a cat person, and definitely not a dog person?
Kristin Neff, the author of the research in TFA, brought these terms directly from her buddhist experiences AFAIK.
Karuna and Meta (compassion and kindness) are very important mind "algorithms" in the Buddhist framework that apart from social and behavioral effects also have quite significant cognitive function. It allows to see things so much clearer, when you understand how complex and interdependent the reality is and how little control over reality we all are.
It's especially telling when you look at the natural progression of these mind states that one is encouraged to develop: Compassion -> Kindndess -> Symphatetic Joy (appreciating wellbeing of others) -> Equanimity.
Very often, I've found myself going "oh yeah, i'm trying to do that!". Along with several other things as well. this is largely what drove me to build my project to adopt such changes in perspective (http://willyoudidyou.com).
And in addition to yourself, it's good to show compassion to others. But it's definitely easier to do this for others once you have done it for yourself.
Failure is an option, because we aren't perfect. We will fail, and how we carry on afterwards is the part that matters. Developing this attitude in one area will carry over to others. Professionally, I had a terrible habit of thinking (impostor syndrome) that I should know what I was doing, wouldn't ask for help, suffered from analysis paralysis, etc. This personal growth helped me out tremendously there.
I find a lot of my hesitations disappear when it comes to my project. Shyness just isn't an option. You have to keep pushing it no matter what if you want it to be something. This has had some interesting side effects for me - seeing another, much stronger and resilient side of me come out to make my project a reality.
But yeah, baby steps are everything. Otherwise I just get overwhelmed or discouraged - but small wins can turn into bigger ones, and failure is certainly an option!
Thanks for the comment.
Eventually the thing you're trying to internalise becomes a mental habit, and starts to pop into your head all on its own at just those moments when you need it most.
But simple? I wish it were so, for me. My thoughts move in too many directions, and i can so easily deceive myself, that there were a great deal of things that were not just mantra but voices screaming in my head to do something that would rarely/ever get done. And attempts to undo them were themselves undone with time; which made it all just very stressful.
But you know, surrounding the concepts of behavioral and cognitive changes are a number of old school/new school concepts, such as this, that I think are worthwhile to explore more.
thanks for the thoughtful comment
I think this is a good description of the effect of LSD.
A lot of the concepts that come up in your mind are things you have probably herd before, but in that moment you feel like you not only have understood their meaning, but also internalized it - attached an emotion to it so to say.
That's why I think it has such potential in psychotherapy: There might be a lot of useful concepts that you might have rationally understood, but actually 'discarded' them on an emotional level.
FYI, the top portion of the homepage is wider than my phone's screen, but I can't scroll sideways to read all of the text. Let me know if you want a screenshot...
Thanks for pointing out the display issue, I'll push up a fix!
If you are in a position of weakness, feeling sorry for yourself, recovering from something you are judging yourself on - then you absolutely should start with self-compassion, being kind to yourself.
To continue in this mode would ultimately hit your ambition and drive, so if you are in a bit of a stronger position mentally, a higher gear, then boosting your self-esteem is more important.
I might be misreading your subtext, but it sounds as if you're implying that ambition is a universal pro.
The GP was implying that I think, I mean that it might not be the case.
As a PhD student I have this imposter syndrome feeling whenever I hit a wall. Being self compassionate and realising that almost every PhD student hits one or more walls during their PhD has helped me to cope with this.
Is this statement true for most of you?
I was a fat kid (and fat young adult) and always thought I was unattractive. Even though it may not have affected me as much as it would had I been a girl, it remains prominent in my self image
As far as stability, I think it has to do a lot with your physical and mental health. I noticed that most of the guys I knew who were out of shape and had basement dweller habits tended to stick with self-hating tendencies. And some people who didn't have key periods in their life, like having a mate or living on their own, have stayed that way after about age 26.
This talk given by Irish comedian Blindboy Boatclub (of Rubberbandits fame) describes the concept as simply, succinctly, and beautifully as I have ever heard.
If your self-worth is too low, you may be used by other people. If it's over the top, you may act arrogant. So yeah...
Self-confidence is more like the
Also, at the opposite end of the spectrum here is a reference to a show called 'Black Mirror' with an episode which is about the need to constantly be seeking other peoples approval (for self-esteem boosting):
I highly recommend watching this, very sobering.
So swearing at myself, basically? Strange advice.
So to speak.
To me, your comment reads as a cheeky way of saying that not all people are fluent in overt compassion and that this is fine.
I would agree, as long as there is an underlying implied compassion in these relationships, and that both parties have understanding of this. We are all human at the end of the day, and the need for social support is universal.
This is obviously false, counterexamples are everywhere you look.
When doing any task, you need to be confident that what you're doing is the correct thing to do, even if it's only an experiment and you accept that it may fail. When designing or writing a program, I choose a path, and proceed confidently. When I hit a dead end (a bad design, an unsolvable problem), because I'm not overconfident, I'm able to reexamine my choices and correct. If I lacked sufficient confidence to begin, I'd be stuck at the design stage trying to decide between the twenty different frameworks available, analysis paralysis. Or I'd be second guessing myself at each stage and progress would be remarkably slow.
When going out on the field or into a ring for a sport, you have to be confident in each movement so that the movement is fluid, deliberate. Lack of confidence induces hesitation, and hesitation is more likely to lead to failure (by some metric). Which creates a feedback loop continuing the reduction of confidence and the increase in hesitation, resistance to progress.
It is one thing to feel confident while at the same time, one feels the connection with other people. When someone uses the feeling of being "right" as a shield, it veers into asshole territory.
We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14316098 and marked it off-topic.
I'm sure being patient and understanding with yourself (and with everyone else) is an approach to life that has a lot of benefits, but these articles are nothing more than pornography for our narcissistic idea that we have this huge power to shape who our kids are by simply embracing a new outlook from a paperback or using new words.