Self-Esteem, a much overused designation, finds its roots in cultural thinking.
Earnest Becker, in his book, “The Birth and Death of Meaning,” addresses the subject:
He says, “…when people do not have self-esteem, they cannot act, they break down.” “When the inner-newsreel begins to run consistently negative images of one’s worth, the person gives up.”
“When the child poses the question, ‘who am I,’ he is really asking…that he be recognized as an object of primary value in the universe. Or, “where do I rank as a hero?”
Becker says that sibling rivalry is common and also ‘competitiveness’ due to the drive for self-esteem.
But, here comes an exposing, glaring, fact based on all said so far,
“Cultural-heros have to have available to them some kind of heroic action system in which to realize their ambitions, and this symbolic system is what we call ‘culture.’” “Culture is a structure of rules, customs, and ideas which serve as a vehicle for heroism.”
So, let’s summarize with Becker’s insight:
“One of the great and lasting insights into the nature of society is that it is precisely a drama, a play, a staging”!
Status, role play, predictivness, control, competition are all in there. Good luck! No wonder that suicide is on the rise. In contrast, no wonder narcissism is on the rise.
Becker places narcissism in the context of man’s desperate effort to cope with existential anxiety. He says, “In man a working level of narcissism is inseparable from self-esteem.
But Baker’s book of psychology responds, “…those familiar with the creation story will also see in narcissism the glorious terrible dilemma in which man found himself after biting off a piece of divinity and casting himself, a poor bare creature into the contest of the powers and principalities of the air. Without armor or weapons he had undertaken the central theme in history, the agonizing interface of good and evil.
Now lets hear what the apostle Paul says.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15, 17, 18.
In closing, although we must live “in this world, but not of this world,” “as using this world but not abusing it,” we must find our acceptance in Our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Getting along with our neighbors is vital, so is entering into levels of competition; we learn to become all things to all Men. However, our goals are not identical. If I lose my job, I am loved of God; if I fail all appearance requirements, I am loved of God. If I have a besetting sin problem, I am loved of God; if I fail at Christian duty or work, I am loved of God.
Friends, perhaps we must see the personal end of our own ego; after all this is where the games began.
Crafty and measured, we face the blows of societies woes, but stay the course regardless. Were tough and tougher, we know not yet, we can win no longer; but not just yet. Around and around, the next corner promises, at last some joy and satisfaction; But, its just a Broadway play, and now I must go home. Please, please, His arms await you, you have found your desired haven in Christ. He will hold your soul in life. Love ya