A Short Contemplation About Self-Esteem

“If my aim is to prove I am ‘enough,’ the project goes on to infinity–because the battle was already lost on the day I conceded the issue was debatable.”

–Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Yesterday the thought occurred to me that we are easily persuaded about the subjectivity of perception; I see from my point of view, and you from yours. There is no objective color out there, for example. There are wavelengths, and the impression those wavelengths have on your senses.

That’s necessarily subjective, because the perception is happening to the subject, not the object.

Why then do we have such a hard time wrapping our heads around the fact that judgements of value are also subjective?

Of course, it’s a rhetorical question; we are social creatures, and banishment by the tribe could spell an early death, or greatly diminish our chance to thrive.

But there is no metaphysical sense in which an objective judgement exists–unless there exists only one vantage point. Even if you believe in an objective observer like a personal God, you still have to contend with the fact that judgement is necessarily subjective.

Our judgements about ourselves may be very obscure; we may need to question them and reveal them to ourselves through contemplation.

But in the end, your judgement is a valid judgement. You have a unique perspective and your judgement from that perspective is final–at least when it comes to value ascribed to yourself.

There is no reason not to love yourself unconditionally.

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