When you look up self esteem on Google, you will find a spate of articles on how to improve your self esteem, low self esteem, raising your self esteem, etc. I could go on and on. Yet, no one is talking about another problem in that spectrum. What happens when you have too high self esteem?
What is Self Esteem?
Self esteem is basically the way in which you measure what you are in context of your peers, your family and friends, as well as your career and the many opportunities that you have around you. It may reflect a number of things starting from how you see yourself, to how skilled you are, how educated you are and how you are doing in socio economic terms. It may also reflect how you let people treat you and what you believe you may or may not deserve.
In a nutshell, that is self esteem. It is the sum total of our internal dialogue with ourselves after we have let a number of experiences shape us, the choices we make and the very quality of the life we lead.
What Does Too High Self Esteem Look Like?
Too high self esteem is a real thing. And it can be a real deal breaker on many levels and in many areas of your life as well. Here’s how to recognize it:
- A Sense of Entitlement: Many times, people with too high self esteem have a misplaced sense of entitlement that keeps them in their own good books. They do not realize that they are not supposed to the first priority in everyone’s world. While they are their own first priority (like we all should be), they end up taking it a tad bit further and assuming they are the first priority in everyone else’s lives too.
- Lack of Learning: Someone with too high self esteem might routinely miss the learning – teaching moments that are crucial for shaping who we are and who we become. They end up with half baked personalities and also, they sprout opinions that make them sound like they haven’t seen enough of the world.
- Opinionated Much: These are also people who use this kind of self esteem to tell themselves they know it all. And not only that, they take it a step further to tell everyone else what they may think about them and how they run their lives. As a result, these people are not very liked. You can easily spot them from a distance – they are the ones who constantly have a comment to pass on everything.
- Creating their Own Stories: Very often, people with sky scraping self esteem won’t stop to listen to someone else. If it is someone who ranks higher in socio economic terms, they may allow the said person to finish what they are saying. But only so that they can make a point. But if it is a contemporary, they will often routinely interrupt that person and rubbish their narratives to form their own stories and opinions.
- Lack of Empathy: These are individuals who always have a more bitter story to share when someone is talking about a challenge or a hardship. They do not have the empathy to see things from another person’s perspective and they often cannot place themselves in someone else’s shoes. One telling symptom is when you tell them about a problem – and their first reaction is, I told you so.
What Happens to Those with Too High Self Esteem?
Often, people with privileged and entitled outlooks are suffering from narcissism. They find that their self esteem matches how they see themselves. And more often than not, they end up doing this:
- Alienating their closest family and friends: They might seem like they have large circles, but in reality, they do not really have the love and support they would typically like from a close bond.
- Unpleasant social interactions: People with too high self esteem routinely have unpleasant social interactions and fights that lead to further breakdown in their social circles.
- Forcing others to choose them: They always use every situation to get people to choose them over others. This makes things awkward. Inwardly, these are people who need approval more than others do.
- Losing out on opportunities: Whether it is a job or a friendship or a solid relationship with a loving partner, they routinely miss out on opportunities since they feel like they do not need to make that much of an effort. For the person with too high self esteem, their brain tells them that everything should come to them and they do not need to work towards something or someone.
What to do with Too High Self Esteem?
If you recognize that you have fallen into a trap like this, you would do well to step away and watch your reality from a distance. You will see things in a completely different light. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself:
- Get Help: Seeking help from a counselor or a therapist can go a long in achieving the right balance of empathy and self esteem.
- Learn to Listen: There are a number of listening exercises that can help you practice better forms of communication. This will help you communicate with, rather than address people.
- Create Accountability: You can create a circle of friends or track your habits in a journal to become more accountable when it comes to building the right level of self esteem. Ask these close friends to stop you, or discuss a safe word they can use if you spiral into old habits.
- Focus on the Now: When you do this, you experience more. You see and hear the people around you, what they are saying and you absorb what they are feeling without bringing yourself into it.
- Be by Yourself More Often: Do not be scared of being alone. When you have too high self esteem, you might want to be constantly surrounded by people who will validate you. Stop looking for that and start looking at yourself more closely.
- Find Flaws and Be Ready to Learn: When you lose a little bit of that excess self esteem, you will find that you have learnt so much and amassed so many new skills. Surrender yourself to what makes you most scared. You will learn more about yourself and you will find opportunities to conquer those flaws and fears with new skills.
- Replace the Fear of Rejection: Learning new things is the key to replacing the fear of rejection and the need for approval. Also, when you recognize that you can learn something from someone, you will shift and distribute self esteem to become a more empathetic and inclusive, respectful person.
While choosing yourself is imperative, it should not happen at a disparaging cost to those around you. And it certainly should stop you from scaling new heights in terms of self worth, career growth, and great relationships!