Think of Yourself Less
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
Thoughtful words from C.S. Lewis, but do they equate to real life happiness? Our self-esteem is a bit of a tricky topic, because current research on self-esteem paints a very inconsistent picture: it seems that high self-esteem is certainly related to happiness, but it can produce other problems with the ego.
For instance, a variety of research suggests that self-esteem that is bound to external success can be a fickle beast—certain students who tied their self-esteem to their grades experienced small boosts when they received an acceptance letter (grad school), but harsh drops in self-esteem when they were rejected.
Indeed, similar findings were reported for those who base their self-esteem on career success and appearance. Conversely, those who do not tie their self-esteem as strongly to external motivators tend to have less of a “roller coaster” of emotions to the things that happen to them, and are generally more happy as a result.
Perhaps the most insidious danger of high self-esteem is that it can lead to a focus on the avoidance of failure over the quest for success, which can cause a mindset that “protects” the self-esteem by self-handicapping so one isn’t ever seen as a failure.
(“Well, it doesn’t matter that I failed, because I wasn’t even trying…”)
Instead, find a happy middle ground by heeding the words of C.S. Lewis—don’t think less of yourself as a person, but think of yourself less, focusing more on betterment of yourself for the sake of those around you, rather than for your own ego.
Info found here The 15 Habits of Incredibly Happy People
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