What Happens When Your Self-Esteem Is Too High?
When discussing the process of building self-esteem, we often focus on the journey from low self-esteem to healthy self-esteem. But something that often gets left out in this conversation is the danger of building too much self-esteem. Yes, it is possible to have self-esteem that is so high that it causes issues in your life.
What It’s Like to Have Self-Esteem that Is Too High
If you have excessive levels of self-esteem, then you positively evaluate yourself to the extreme. You may praise yourself too much or when it’s not deserved – or you expect others to do the same. When you have self-esteem that is too high, you are likely to be overconfident and overestimate your abilities, attributes, and skills. Your opinion of yourself becomes overblown and unrealistic. People who have too much self-esteem may feel entitled and so self-absorbed that they lose sight of others.
The Dangers of Having Self-Esteem that Is Too High
Like low self-esteem, too much self-esteem can disrupt many aspects of your life. When your self-esteem is too high you may struggle with the following four issues:
- Relationship problems -- If you think too highly of yourself, you may suffer from unhealthy relationships. Interestingly, this can manifest in a similar way to people who have low self-esteem. When your self-esteem is low, you may crave praise from others in order to feel validated. Similarly, when your self-esteem is too high, you may also be needy in this way since you have a self-image that you feel has to be verified. This can push away potential or existing partners and friends, especially if praise isn’t given and you react in an angry or harsh manner.
- Problems with socializing -- People with self-esteem that is too high may find themselves becoming ostracised. This is because they’re often not fun to be around. Most of us prefer to be around people who are down-to-earth and humble -- people who have an honest grip on themselves. In contrast, it’s generally not enjoyable to be around someone whose self-esteem is too high. They may be prone to self-satisfied boasting, smugness, self-entitlement, and self-obsession.
- Lack of improvement -- If your self-esteem is too high, you may believe that you’re perfect, that nothing needs changing. You become blind to your faults and mistakes you’ve made. This, of course, acts as a barrier to maturity and self-improvement, leading to negative consequences, not just for you but for others you spend a lot of time with (e.g. your romantic partner, family members, friends, and colleagues).
- Inability to deal with criticism -- If you suffer from low self-esteem, then you may find it hard to deal with criticism. You take everything extremely personally. Any negative remark about you can set off a chain reaction of negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When your self-esteem is too high, you may also struggle to handle criticism in a mature manner. Rather than use criticism to beat yourself up, you may always reject it outright, believing that any criticism about you is false. In order to protect your exaggerated positive self-image, you may come up with all sorts of rationalizations for these criticisms from others. You may tell yourself that people are just jealous of how great you are.
Parents who have children with low self-esteem may excessively praise them as a way to resolve the issue. Even as an adult, if friends, family members, colleagues, or acquaintances get a sense that you have low self-esteem, they may likewise try to shower you with admiration as a way to boost your spirits. But this can backfire, leading to too much self-esteem. As I have highlighted in my previous posts on building self-esteem, it’s important to view yourself in a balanced and honest way. This will help you to achieve a healthy approach to self-development, work, and relationships.
Woolfe, S. (2019, March 6). What Happens When Your Self-Esteem Is Too High?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2019/3/what-happens-when-your-self-esteem-is-too-high