Paul A. Hauck (Foreword by Albert Ellis)
It is not easy to understand why self-rating is not in your best interest. After all, it goes totally against our usual ways of thinking about people and their behaviours. I hope the following summary of what I‰Ûªve said so far makes it all a littler clearer:
Teach your children NOT to strive for high self-esteem. This is nothing less than teaching them arrogance, conceit and superiority feelings.
Teach your children never to rate themselves negatively. That leads to guilt, depression, feelings of inferiority and insecurity.
Instead, urge your children to seek SELF-ACCEPTANCE. That avoids all self-rating and the wide sweep of emotions from conceit to self-hate.
All statements of self-esteem are statements of over-generalization since most of the qualities we possess are ignored in favour of the ones we happen to focus on for the moment.
The self refers to millions of characteristics. It cannot be measured by fewer than all the traits which go to make up the self.
When you refuse to rate your self you avoid all feelings of guilt and inferiority. Both lead to depression by self-blame.
When you refuse to rate others you avoid all anger and its many forms: resentment, bitterness, hate, aggression and fury.
Self-rating is unhealthy, painful, grandiose and wrong. You cannot be a contented human being until you accept your strengths and weaknesses for the present, change what you can, and accept what you can‰Ûªt.
To love yourself is to rate yourself and will only give you trouble when what you want is security.
Psychological health is achieved most fully by performing three operations: rating things ABOUT people, but never rating people themselves; developing your skills to the maximum (see Chapter 4); and making others respect you (see Chapter 5).
When you are told you are bad, your response had better be ‰Û÷At what?‰Ûª Always be specific, never general or global.
In short, leave your self alone. Then how do you rate yourself? You don‰Ûªt. ACCEPT YOURSELF.
Finally, try never to feel embarrassed, humiliated, insulted or ashamed. They are all varieties of self-rating and give you away instantly as an insecure person.
In an earlier book I wrote a short prescription for self-acceptance. I‰Ûªd like to share it with you:
Hold your head up high and fill your heart with hope. Do not let the pessimism of the world drown you in messages of despair. You are a member of the human race, the most spectacular achievement in our world. Though you are imperfect, you are far more gifted than you are faulty.
Accept yourself with your shortcomings if you cannot alter them. With guidance and hard work, however, you can reduce your weaknesses and your flaws to a point where they do not interfere with your enjoyment of life.
Stop neglecting yourself. You are not much good to others if you are not good to yourself. Hold your head up high, for you are one of a kind. Be proud that even with your limitations you have enough talent, intelligence, and resources to fulfill your destiny to a reasonable degree.
Hold your head up high and face the world with curiosity and gentleness. More often than not others will respond in kind. But if they should not, then do not hesitate to become firm with them, knowing deep in your heart that these are not bad people, they are like you, merely imperfect. But because you value yourself, you will not allow them to abuse you.
However many years you have left on this earth, use them well. Satisfy your deepest desires and needs to a reasonable degree. And always give yourself the attention and the care you would give those you love the most. To show respect for others but not yourself makes a mockery of your best intentions. Teach others the morality of self-acceptance by setting an example of it in yourself.