Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Self-Esteem" And "Law Of Attraction"

I have heard many claims that people attract attention based on how they feel about themselves. I do not believe that this is true. In fact I have seen many cases of the opposite. If you feel too good about yourself, other people will want to tear you down. If you feel too bad about yourself, other people will want to cheer you up.

A related claim is “The Law Of Attraction” - that like attracts like. I have also seen many cases to the contrary. There are many macho men who attract very feminine women. There are many kind people who attract very mean-spirited partners. There are many wise gurus who attract very stupid students. In none of these cases do we see like attracting the like.

So it goes that people believing such things are told to work on self-esteem and suchlike in order to improve what they are attracting. I have reasons to say that this approach is wrong. You do not attract people based on how you feel about yourself. You attract them based on what they think you to be. If others think that you are a jerk, they will not be good to you however you feel about yourself. If this is the case, the correct response is not working on your self-esteem but surrounding yourself with the kinds of people who value what you are. That way you will be surrounded by people who esteem you rightfully, whether or not you esteem yourself well. If you are a poet and you are surrounded by people who have no value for poetry, you will not be esteemed well regardless of how well you esteem yourself. You will be esteemed better however if you surround yourself with people who do have value for poetry.

Now I have been exposed to many people who have such ideas, and any number of them have made all sorts of negative claims about me. Quite simply I have a massive bullshit detector, and these are some of the forms of bullshit that I detect. There are many valid reasons to challenge these ideas. Especially with the issue of self-esteem, the idea has gotten far too big for its merits. Rewarding self-esteem does not make better people; it makes worse people. If you have high standards for yourself you will find it harder to feel good about yourself than if you have low standards for yourself. Rewarding self-esteem rewards low standards; and that means, worse people.

With the Law of Attraction, we see even worse things. If anything bad happens to you, you have caused it. So then, logically, if a witch who believes such a thing gets burned at the stake, she will have to say that she has brought it about. If a New Age community comes under attack from Islamists, they will have to say that they have caused it. This kind of thinking robs people of ethics and compassion. Which means that it is an evil set of beliefs.

As for the treatment that you attract, it is not based on how you feel about yourself. It is based on how others see you. Sometimes they would feel like you feel too good about yourself and will want to tear you down. At other times they would feel like you don't value yourself enough and will want to build you up. I have known some amazing people who felt badly about themselves. I did not treat them based on how they felt about themselves, but how I felt about them. I have also known jerks who thought of themselves too well. I likewise did not treat them based on how they felt about themselves, but how I felt about them.

In short, all of these attitudes have gotten far too big for their merits. And all of them are wrong, for reasons stated above. Not everyone who has bought into such things is an idiot, but even those who are not idiots are deluded. People's treatment of you is not a reflection of what you think about yourself but of what they think about you. Different people attract different things for all sorts of different reasons. And self-esteem is an absolute canard and a concept that degrades the character of mankind.


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