Thursday, November 8, 2012

HIGH expectations -- LOW self esteem

“When you want more than you have
You think you need
And when you think more than you want
Your thoughts begin to bleed…
…Find a bigger place
‘cos when you have more than you think
You need more space…”

-Eddie Vedder’s ‘’Society’’

A mentor of mine relayed to me an insight from his brother, a prominent psychiatrist. He told me of a unique type of low self-esteem that is masked by over-achievement.

When one is too ambitious, yet does not live up to their own expectations, they feel deflated.

This can be tricky because we live in an ambitious society. Our world is amplified, fast paced, and in constant motion. We are living in the most advanced period in history. Along with this honor, privilege, and responsibility come the demands, expectations and pressures of keeping up with the “norm”. Everyone loves a challenge but it requires honesty, a constant balance, and the ability to yield in this supercharged society we all dwell in. While we should never UNDERESTIMATE ourselves, we cannot OVERESTIMATE ourselves either.

Similarly, another snafu can send us spiraling down the slippery slope of low self esteem: The Control Freak. If we expect to be in control of every aspect of our lives we will be harshly reminded that it is not so and if we set the bar unrealistically high we will feel unworthy due to our incompetence.

Chances are if you are ambitious you will achieve a lot in life. After all, it’s a great mindset to have! But it may not come on our terms or in our time-frames. In this fast paced society, we want results and we want them quickly but we may be jumping the gun. As crazy as it sounds we may not be able to handle our own dreams. That is the beauty of growth – it sticks. It would be foolish to run a marathon without training properly or attempt to ace a test without studying. One does not simply BECOME president of the United States (although it sure seems like it sometimes!). One may have the potential but it requires more to transform qualifications into actuality. To turn our dreams into reality.

In our “All or Nothing” society, it is important to remember that every advancement made, in any area of life, builds our capacity for greater things. Perhaps it’s building stamina, endurance, or experience and is turning you into a more capable man or woman. Maybe it’s emotional weightlifting that is opening new channels within your psyche and personality. Think of it as a chance to prove that you can do it.

Surely, this is all hypothesis and theory and like many things in life, cannot be validated. We can’t fully understand life but we can try. It all starts by customizing our own lives with the tips, tricks, tools and techniques that we all pick up along the way.



  1. This is an amazing blog. I think this particular topic is relevant to many peoples lives. I have a friend (who I'm sending this to) that is a total overachiever. He always tries to do everything and sometimes he doesn't realize he has too much on his plate. As for me, i'm a total type-A personality (a "control freak" as you put it). I actually just wrote an essay about it and how it took over my life to the point that it made me sick. So definitely learning to stop and absorb is important. I'm glad you pointed it out :)

  2. Thanks for this post. I've been in a funk and this perspective helps

  3. Thank you both for your positive feedback! Please share with like-minded people