When Praise Trumps Self-Esteem, Part II
How the praise we receive affects our self-esteem
Submission in the workplace can sometimes promote self-esteem.
Staff members are often criticized for their lack of performance, but praise often promotes narcissism and discourages true ambition and motivation. At times, employees who have submitted and submitted instead of working against the status quo may be rewarded for that. In the U.S., narcissism is a very real issue, evidenced by its high popularity and popularity in popular culture.
The functions of the ego are to protect us from hurt, loneliness, pain, and loss, and so praise requires us to go a step further to protect ourselves. It teaches us to believe that not only does it prevent pain and loss from being felt, but that it actually enhances us so that we can be better people.
The motivational power of narcissistic praise and praise alone in our career may help to gain promotion, but it won’t lead to a change in or improvement in our self-esteem. Our ideal qualities and talent requires developing self-perceptions of ourselves in pursuit of those qualities, but narcissism teaches us to believe that the only way we can be better than others is to be superior in our humility, sensitivity, and ability to make mistakes.
Our prestige from compliments forces us to be more self-involved. We then demand more of praise because it is our belief that we deserve it, even if others may disagree. Praise then becomes a form of reward; a perpetuation of the narcissist’s power to appear superior.
The Presentation of Self as Competent Believer and Veteran
Self-competence is promoted through the writing of works such as Andrew Pascal’s several books about narcissistic leadership, How to Make A Better Dog Whisperer, and many articles on how to improve yourself and build authority and leadership skills. Pascal wrote that his talents were such that he “earned my stripes.”
Applying that same type of praise to our self-esteem, our belief that we are great in some way is a validation of our self-worth in the eyes of those who object. Those who discredit our dedication and hard work, or those who criticize or laugh at our achievements are seen by the narcissist as the ones who are refusing to cooperate with the ego to achieve fame and glory. However, they actually find it humiliating, and often subject their own staff to similar treatment.
At a time when narcissism is rampant and self-esteem is at such low levels, what can we do? Narcissism is a powerful driver to promote self-indulgence and self-absorption. Self-satisfaction, the nth step of a narcissistic program, depends on continual praise and being praised. Narcissism can get us what we are looking for but it cannot sustain us, nor is it a tool for success.