Self-esteem also has its dark sides, which appear when self-perception borders on narcissism and the person sees no other than himself. Self-love, to be healthy, needs a balance that prevents it from falling into a lack or an excess of self-esteem.
Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.
Last update: 15 November 2021
Excessive self-esteem is neither good nor healthy. Excess self-confidence, as well as an excessive ego, are often given by problematic behaviors and attitudes. An example of this are people who live showing off a perennial air of superiority, without becoming aware of their mistakes and showing a marked narcissism.
We know that self-esteem is undoubtedly one of the favorite topics in the field of personal growth. Every year the publishing market produces numerous publications that aim to teach us how to strengthen this psychological component which is so important for our personal well-being. Nevertheless, often it is not possible to engrave on that reverse side of the coin that this dimension brings with it.
The antidote to low self-esteem is high self-esteem. All excesses are dangerous and counterproductive. We must not compensate for a lack with an excess, because by doing so rather than solving the problem, we will be creating a new one.
It is important to clarify the difference between healthy self-esteem and excessive self-esteem. We live in an era where it is very easy to feel the need to maximize areas related to personality such as leadership, self-love, self-efficacy or self-confidence. But we must consider how the concept of “the more, the better” is not always positive or functional. So let's try to understand where the limit of healthy well-being lies.
"Have faith in what exists in there."
The profile of a person with excessive self-esteem
One of the most interesting books by the psychologist Albert Bandura is undoubtedly Self-efficacy: theory and applications. From this work it is clear that aspects such as perceived effectiveness and self-esteem are crucial for overcoming difficulties and for achieving personal fulfillment.
Among the most dangerous dynamics, and which most easily prevent us from achieving our goals and even happiness, are low self-esteem and excessive self-esteem. Both are dangerous in equal measure. Let's see in detail the profile of a person with too much self-esteem.
Excessive self-esteem in a world without limits
There is an aspect that is repeatedly highlighted in the context of child psychology. Our children must quickly understand that the world has limits, that there are rules and that we cannot always get what we want. Learning to tolerate frustration is important in life, and failing to do so can lead the individual to a whole host of collateral problems.
There are many children and young people who grow up with the belief that they can get everything they want. Little emperors who feel entitled and in possession of sufficient authority to do and have anything. Educating them in such a way as to develop such inflated and excessive self-esteem in them leads them to cultivate self-centered, abusive, arrogant behavior and totally lacking in impulse control.
Excessive self-esteem and its dangers often originate in the education received.
Having too much self-esteem does not lead to success or happiness
Contrary to what we might think, having 200% self-esteem will not automatically push us towards our goals, rather:
- Excessive self-esteem causes people to think that projects, jobs and tasks assigned to them are not up to them. A pride that ends up losing several interesting opportunities.
- Their arrogance and their belief that they deserve everything they want creates a deep rift with the social environment around them. Theirs excessive ego ends up generating uncomfortable situations.
- They are people who are blind to their mistakes and therefore do not learn from them. If they fail, it will always be someone else's fault and never yours.
- Relationally, they usually take on the role of the abuser or the narcissist unable to see other perspectives beyond one's own. An attitude that generates big problems on an emotional level, at work, in friendship, etc.
Excessive self-esteem and delinquency
Criminal conduct has long been associated with low self-esteem. In recent years, however, it has been shown that even excessive self-esteem can lead to violent acts. As he explains to us a study by Dr Robert Roy F. Baumeister of Princeton University, ego superiority is a deciding factor in many criminal acts.
In fact, there are many criminal profiles in which narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy go hand in hand with excessive self-esteem, generating adverse behaviors. These are people with a largely overestimated sense of self, convinced that they can have everything they want. The means of obtaining it does not matter.
As we have seen in this article, the flip side of self-esteem hides a dark and dangerous side to be taken into high consideration. It remains obvious that even low self-esteem is dangerous, like any extreme. The secret is to achieve that perfect balance in which to work on a healthy self-appreciation where, however, always reigns a sense of respect for others.
Self-esteem is nothing more than the art of self-appreciation, never the unhealthy excess that tends to border on narcissism.