After Wikipedia, what I got when I googled “self-esteem” is a site called Psych Central. Here’s their opener on the subject:
Have you wondered about what self-esteem is and how to get more of it? Do you think your self-esteem is low? Do you know how to tell? Do you know what to do about it?
We’ve been gnawing on this bone for a long time. Publishers have churned out mountains of books on self-esteem. It’s made careers, and filled thousands of hours of therapy and television—a slew of anxieties and adorations around the holy grail of liking ourselves better.
But for all the wringing of hands, money spent, the talking and toil, the search has flopped. People aren’t wiser or happier for it. Except for maybe the advice peddlers. At least they’re richer.
But what about artists? That’s a vocation where getting your self-esteem pummeled is pretty well the norm. When you’re not being ignored completely, rejection notices arrive in steady parades. Aside from those, the attention you do get—unless you’re a commercial success—often takes a peculiar form: rancorous questions and insinuations about the utility, if not very point, of what you’re doing. And speaking of money, unless you chose your parents wisely or you’re a star (just room for a few of those), there’s the matter of never having enough of it.
With all that to navigate—and look forward to—wouldn’t at least a small injection of self-esteem be helpful for artists? Instead of long days and nights of self- and other-inflicted beatings, mightn’t a shot of I’m-okay-and-maybe-sometimes-even-a-little-bit-better-than-that be just the thing to spur artists on? Wouldn’t liking ourselves more help us push out a few more words, verses, pictures, or notes?