Social approval and self esteem

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Good boy

Lots of parents mistakenly try to control their children’s behavior using the "Good boy approach". If the child did what was asked from him he becomes a super hero and a good boy and if he did something else then the controlling parent responds with anger, threatening or with the removal of the good boy label.

The poor child then doesn’t have any other options but to choose between being a good boy or being a naughty child.

The problem with the “Good boy” approach

The problem with such an approach is that it inserts the belief in the child’s mind that unless he is up to others expectations he will be worthless.

Years later when this child grows up he will start to put people first before his own needs just to keep the title of the good boy. the following are some examples of what this adult might do in order to preserve this title:

  • He may blindly follow fashion even if it doesn’t suit his looks
  • He may start smoking just to please his peers
  • And he may even sacrifice his values for the sake of being accepted by others!!

Another big problem happens when the person tries to suppress the bad feelings that results from feeling that he is not being himself around others. In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i explained how your subconscious mind can respond to such inner conflicts by sending you feelings of depression.

Even if you managed to fool yourself for a short period of time sooner or later your subconscious mind will feel that something is wrong and then will respond with depression.

Social approval and self esteem

The problem with striving for social approval is that it makes your self esteem vulnerable and fragile to any change in the opinion of people. You could lose self respect in few minutes just because others started to think that you are bad. This happens because you already gave them the chance to label you and the right to evaluate your deeds.

Before you do any action ask yourself one question, am I doing it because it is aligned with my goals and my best interests or is it just an attempt to keep the good boy label??

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