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Actress Sally Field
This is a sign of emotional intelligence, and "other esteem". It is natural for children to be approval seeking. But when a child grows up in a dysfunctional home, this causes big problems.
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Here are some notes from Nathaniel Branden's work (from his book The Six Pillars of Self Esteem)
Your life is important. Honor it. Fight for your highest possibilities.
p 21 "Our motive is not to prove our self-worth, but to live up to our possibilities". [And by so doing, others may see our worth to the species.]
"If one error is to deny the importance of self-esteem, another is to claim too much for it. In their enthusiasm, some writers today seem to suggest that a healthy sense of self-value is all we need to assure happiness and success. The matter is more complex than that. Self-esteem is not an all-purpose panecea. Aside from the question of the external circumstances and opportunities that may exist for us, a number of internal factors clearly have an impact -- such as energy level, intelligence, and achievement drive. (Contrary to what we sometimes hear, this last is not correlated with self-esteem in any simple or direct way, in that such a drive can be powered by negative motivation as well as by positive, as, for example, when one is propelled by fear of losing love or status rather than by the joy of self-expression.) A well developed sense of self is a necessary condition of our well being but it is not a sufficient condition. Its presence does not guarantee fulfillment, but its lack guarantees some measure of anxiety, frustration or despair.
He then adds this footnote:
Chapter 14 - Self-esteem in the schools
"To many children, school represents a 'second chance' -- an opportunity to acquire a better sense of self and a better vision of life than was offered in their home."
Branden says a teacher who can "project confidence in child's goodness and competence" and who treats students with respect can "offer a powerful antidote" to the many dysfunctional messages a child may receive in the home.
Branden suggest that a teacher who "refuses to accept a child's negative self-concept and relentlessly holds to a better view of the child's potential" can be the turning point in a childs life. When Branden says such a teacher can sometimes even literally save a child's life, I agree. A suicide may be prevented when a begins to feel a glimmer of hope after years of hopelessness. A death by abuse at the hands of a parent, step-parent or a mother's current sexual partner might be prevented if the child feels empowered enough and worthy enough to report the abuser.
Branden also gives this example of how a parent can de-value a person.