Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Self-esteem

Yesterday, I was reading an article about how psychotherapy has become so common among Christians who are supposedly struggling from psychological dysfunction. The said article quoted a key point that Dr. James Dobson mentioned in his book about women. The key point the author of the article wrote is that most women in America suffer low self-esteem. I was totally taken aback! All this while I have always believed that American women are the most confident women in the world. How in the world did that happen?

As an Asian woman, I have wished I had the confidence of an American woman. I used to not feel comfortable around men, especially talking to them. I didn't feel comfortable saying "thank you" to someone who tells me that I look pretty. I didn't receive compliments well. It was not convenient for me to voice my opinions without being asked. I used to view giving unsolicited advice as cockiness. I, therefore, avoided giving it to people to the best of my ability. I used to wait until people discover my talents and abilities. I, definitely, was not the type of person who tells the world what I was good at. If I appear to be a very confident woman now, then it is purely because of how God changed me.

I have no idea where Dr. Dobson was coming from when he said that most American women are suffering low self-esteem because I haven't read his book. I am just bewildered over that report. American parents are so good at affirming and building their kids' confidence. Something ordinary Filipino parents need to learn. So where does this low esteem come from? I don't know. But here's what I think... from my experience teaching 15 teenage girls with my husband at our old church and from spending time with our American friends and family, I think the problem that most American women are suffering from is high self-esteem. Most of them think they're better than what they are and have now. In saying this, I don't mean to say that it's wrong to be ambitious, because it is not if the said ambition is in line with God's purposes for our lives, but if it means discontentment and covetousness then it will surely lead to depression.

When I think about depression among women, I think about how many women believe that they deserve better than what they are and have now and be angry at the world they are in. There is no contentment because they think highly of themselves.

3 comments:

janet said...

hi dines,

good article to discuss.

when you say american women suffer from high self esteem, i would put it otherwise. (just airing out my opinion, yeah? ) i believe it when james dobson said that. while you see them having confidence and having high self esteem, i would say... i see them suffering from superiority complex. well, it sounds so brutal and rude to say that... and very judgmental... but i have been around american women too... and i observe them a lot. i don't say all of them suffer from superiority complex... coz a lot of american women i know have confidence that is built upon a good foundation which is confidence in the Lord... (there are a lot of asian women i know that have that kind of confidence too) but some... i observe is really suffering from superiority complex. and of course, the root would be insecurities. there are two outcomes for being insecure: 1. to feel superior over the rest and 2. to feel inferior. most americans would have the superiority complex while most asians would suffer the inferiority complex. but of course, this is a general observation. so james must be talking about the superiority complex thingy... which would boil down to being insecure.

but one thing i believe is that you would know a true confidence that would exude and remain if given situations.

Gigie said...

well hehehe can't comment anything, i should be more expose to them first.

Dines said...

thanks jan. but to be fair with american women, asian women like us need to learn that generally their "confidence" is not cockiness the way asians view it. we just tend to think it is cockiness because we were not raised that way. also, you're maybe right about dr. dobson.