Indeed, recent reviews of the research on high self-esteem have come to the troubling conclusion that its not all its cracked up to be. High self-esteem does not predict better performance or greater success. And though people with high self-esteem do think theyre more successful, objectively, they are not. High self-esteem does not make you a more effective leader, a more appealing lover, more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, or more attractive and compelling in an interview.
This report might be troubling for those who interacted with cassette tapes in the car shouting, “I am great. I can do anything. I am #1.” However, it should serve as a welcomed course correction from all of the self esteem pop psychology of the past few decades.
Even among Christians, the self-esteem movement has had far too much influence. Here is a little test to see if it has unduly influenced you. When you think of the following verse, which part do you emphasize?
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 ESV)
Self-esteem folks focus on the doing all things part. Some might try to hang onto the through him (Christ) part. But rarely do folks fit it into the paragraph in which Paul is teaching contentment. Whether having much or going hungry, Paul could find contentment in Christ.
That’s not normally how see this verse used. Why don’t we take it back from the teachings that inflate personal egos?