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Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Myth of Confidence and Self-Esteem - Fake Concepts in America Designed to Make You Feel Insecure and Inadequate



I'm sure you've probably noticed that Americans are obsessed about things like Confidence and Self-Esteem. But have you ever really wondered what all that means? These concepts seem nebulous and thrown around loosely, often in an attempt to shame someone. Have you ever felt like there was something off about that or something fake and unreal? I certainly have.

After doing some research and traveling abroad, I later discovered that these are fake concepts invented in modern American culture to make people feel insecure and inadequate, so they constantly struggle with their mental health and have to buy more things and make more money in order to feel good about themselves. It's part of the scam and brainwashing of materialism. It's too bad the self-improvement industry in America doesn't realize this, but instead panders to it.

One thing you will notice while traveling abroad is that people in other countries are not obsessed with these things, they just be themselves usually and everything is fine. That should tell you something, namely that in the normal world outside of America, you can be yourself and feel just fine and be accepted for who you are, no need for fake pseudo "confidence or self-esteem" which in America requires constantly pumping up, like gas, to maintain, and hence is unnatural and pseudo. Also, if you look at history books, people in the past before modern times did not struggle with such issues as "confidence and self-esteem" either. Hence these must be fictitious inventions of modern American fake culture.

For more, see these two articles below. The first is from a poster in my forum, and the second is from me. Hope you will find them enlightening and liberating. If so, feel free to share and forward them to others.




By Al

Below is a copy of an email essay I sent out to a few dozen people in the "self-help" industry about 5 years ago. Predictably I only got a handful of responses. And of course they all insisted I was wrong. After all, their livelihoods depend on maintaining the myths I debunk. But they offered no evidence to disprove me, nor any useful insights.

When I read Winston's excellent blog on "attitude extremists" it reminded me of what I had written. So I thought I'd post it here for your enjoyment. You'll notice I list 3 areas to focus on in order to improve confidence. Of course if I were writing this today I'd add a 4th: Get the hell out of the US!

THE MYTH OF CONFIDENCE

    If I had a dime for every time someone told me to "be confident", I'd probably be a millionaire by now. And as a millionaire, I'd probably have a lot of women throwing themselves at me and a lot of men respecting & admiring me. And the inevitable result of all this would be - You guessed it!.., Confidence. So the next time you feel like telling someone to be confident, just throw them a dime instead. It'd be a thousand times more useful.

    In fact, I've noticed a disturbing trend in the last few years. All of a sudden, everyone's talking about confidence. (or its close relative, "self-esteem") Everywhere I read, every show I watch, every dimestore shrink I consult. Everyone's advising everyone else to be more confident.

    (a hypothetical: What if everybody took this advice and suddenly everyone had perfect confidence? Wouldn't it just level the playing field right back to where it already was, and thus, not make a damn bit of difference anyway???)

    Suddenly, all the women on the dating shows and in the advice columns are telling us how much they're attracted to this mysterious new quality called confidence. And conversely, how the lack of confidence is a big turn-off. And predictably, men now feel the need to brag about how confident they are. And the confidence fad seems to be growing at a rapid pace. But I'm about to point out how it's all just the psychological equivalent of the Pet Rock fad from the 70's. Like the Pet Rock, advising someone to "be confident" is useless and does nothing. But like the Pet rock, it allows the giver to feel like they did something nice. They didn't. Yet people keep buying it & buying it & buying it.

    The reality about confidence is so simple and so obvious, it amazes me that otherwise intelligent people haven't figured it out. Or maybe they have figured it out and they're too dishonest with themselves to admit it. Perhaps the reality is too uncomfortable. After all, it's much easier to sell books and self-help courses with fantasy than with reality.

    So here's the truth about confidence: You can only have confidence when other people give it to you.
When others in your age group like you, respect you, admire you, and are attracted to you, you get confidence. When they don't like you, scorn you, and reject you, you lose confidence. Therefore, the level of confidence you have is controlled by others, NOT by you. You can not just decide to be confident. Confidence is not a choice or decision you can make. You can't just snap your fingers and, Abracadabra, you're confident. It doesn't work that way. It can't work that way. Social confidence, by its very definition, requires support and acceptance from others before it can exist.

   Confidence is merely a byproduct of success. You need some kind of social/sexual/romantic success before you can have genuine confidence. Confidence without success is delusional and/or dishonest, thus fake, and others will quickly recognize it as such. Here's why: It's not really the confidence itself that people are attracted to. Confidence is merely what results when someone has the qualities that are really attracting us. Obviously, if someone is good-looking, or wealthy, or funny & quick-witted, others will be attracted to them. This, in turn, will give them confidence.

    So when someone tells you they are attracted to confidence, they are lying! (whether consciously or subconsciously) What they're really attracted to are the traits that make confidence possible. After all, we all know that wealth, good looks, and strong social skills are attractive to others. Are we to believe it's just a coincidence that these are the very same traits that lead to confidence? Obviously, someone who is successful will have more confidence than someone who is unsuccessful. So when someone says they're attracted to confidence, what it means is that they're attracted to success & the factors that make success possible. The confidence itself merely exists as a sign that those other factors (the real attractors) are present.

    So if you know or care about someone with low confidence, how can you help them? First, the worst thing you can do is to just tell them to "be confident" or give them a verbal list of traits they should be confident about. That's just insulting their intelligence and it's going to frustrate and depress them even more. Words are hollow and meaningless when not corroborated by actions. So if you truly want to help someone increase their confidence, here are the areas you should focus on improving:

    1) Physical Appearance
    2) Social Skills
    3) Wealth

1) Physical Appearance

    (So you think this is shallow? It is. Get over it. Physical appearance is, of course, the first thing people notice about you. And if they don't like what they see, it will be much, much harder to win them over.)

    If the individual has flaws in their appearance, the worst thing you can do is to tell them they "look fine". Instead, help them improve their appearance. If they're overweight, don't deny it. Help them lose the weight. If they have bad hair, help them find a stylish cut. If they have unfashionable or ill-fitting clothes, help them find better ones. And if you are not qualified to help them in these areas, find someone who can.

2) Social Skills

    This one could easily become a chicken-or-egg argument. Many would point out that a person does poorly socially because they lack confidence. While this may be true in certain cases, I've found in my own experience and observations that usually the reverse is true. When a person has poor social skills, they will of course do poorly socially & inevitably, their confidence will suffer. When confronted with this fact, the lazy-minded will regurgitate such hackneyed social advice as "be happy and smile more", "just be yourself", "be upbeat and positive", "just be nice", or something equally trite, short-sighted, and useless. Being nice is fine. I'd encourage it. But it's simply not enough on its own to succeed socially. If all you are is nice, you will be walked on like a doormat, used, and thrown away. To truly succeed socially (in the absence of looks and wealth), one needs two things: Material and Execution. They need strong, interesting conversational material and they need to be able to execute this material in a smooth, charming manner. How can you expect someone to have social confidence if they lack this ability?

    So if you honestly cared about someone suffering from low social confidence, you wouldn't waste their time with empty "be yourself" pep talks. You'd help them learn and practice conversational skills in a supportive, rejection-free environment. However, if you are outside of their age group, find someone closer to their age to help them. This is because what is acceptable for 50-year olds is not acceptable for 20-year olds and vice versa.

3) Wealth

    Unless you are in a position to give someone a job earning $50K+ a year, there's not a lot you can do about this one. But if you focus on the first two (appearance & social skills), increased income is virtually guaranteed to follow.

    To recap my main points:

  • Confidence is merely a byproduct of success.
  • No one can just decide or choose to be confident. It has to come naturally from others.
  • Our level of confidence is determined by the level of regard others have for us.
  • Hollow "be confident" pep talks don't work. If you honestly want to increase another's confidence, it will require genuine care and effort.
  • Therefore, stop advising people to "be confident"! If you aren't willing to put in the effort to help them gain that confidence, then you are just insulting them and wasting their time.


By Winston Wu

Have you noticed that popular concepts in America such as "confidence" and "self-esteem" seem to be like some weird religion or cult? They are treated like some "magic pill" that will solve all your problems and make you succeed at anything. Have you ever felt that there was something fake about all that? If so, you're not alone.

When you analyze such terms logically, you find that they are nebulous and devoid of substance. People who make a big deal out of them seem inauthentic and delusional, like they are trying to hype up something artificial without basis in logic, fact or science. It all sounds very fake and phony, like hype without substance.

Yet such terms are treated like magical holy words in American pop psychology, the motivational/self-improvement industry, the New Age movement, etc. The word "confidence" is popular with American men, and "self-esteem" is like some cult to American women.

Let me tell you a shocking secret that most Americans don't know:

When you leave America and go to other countries, you are never told that you need to develop "confidence" or "self-esteem". That's something you usually only hear in America. This begs the question, WHY?

Moreover, if you look at the history books and historical records of the last 5,000 years of human history, you will also notice that there things like "confidence, self-esteem and mental health" were never issues that people dealt with in the past. There was no such thing as a "self-improvement" program involving such pseudo-traits.

The closest thing to it was "bravery and courage" in that men were encourages to be brave and courageous in fighting for their country during time of war. But when it came to social affairs, one did not have to be concerned with pseudo-concepts like "confidence" or "self-esteem".

The more you look into it, the more you realize that "confidence" and "self-esteem" are FICTITIOUS inventions of modern American culture. They are products of bullshit pop psychology, New Age, and the self-help industry, all of which are mostly fake.

So you gotta wonder: WHY? Why are they such big issues in modern American life, and within the New Age self-help movement, but not in other countries -- especially countries with long rich histories like India, China or Russia? Why are you not told in other countries that you need "confidence" or "self-esteem"?

The only logical explanation is that modern American culture is very fake, artificial and toxic. It tears people down in an overly competitive, soulless and negative environment. So one must struggle to maintain basic self-confidence.

The key to understanding American culture is this: In a fake artificial culture, one MUST become fake and artificial in order to fit into it. Therefore, when you are told that "you need confidence and self-esteem" what you are really being told is that: "You need to learn to act more fake in order to fit into a fake culture".

So basically, "confidence" and "self-esteem" are not real issues. Nor are they natural. People are not born lacking "confidence" or "self-esteem". They are conditioned to lack those things in America because the system wants to tear you down and make you feel insecure so you will over-consume. Otherwise, if you were whole and down-to-earth, you would not consume excessively or buy things you don't need.

Insecure people are also easier to control and manipulate. So America wants you to be insecure so that it can sell you fake "confidence" through consumerism. By making "confidence" and "self-esteem" artificial traits, people will always struggle to attain them. And furthermore, they can be taken away any time as well, making people easier to manipulate.

This the only logical explanation for the invention of such artificial traits in America that are unnatural. Basically, it's an attempt by a fake American culture to try to fix something that's not broken. Simply put, it tries to inflate you with something you don't need, in order to manipulate you.

Now, if you try to follow these fake American self-improvement programs, all you do is end up doing is putting on a fake mask in a fake culture. It won't really solve your problems or change your life. You gotta understand that America is the king of fakeness and bullshit.

That's why people who are down-to-earth, authentic, or deep thinkers, tend to not fit into America. They are out-of-place in a culture that is predicated on fakeness, phoniness, hype, illusion, bullshit and overly materialistic values. Authentic people do not like acting fake, nor can they. But if they complain, they will be given bullshit advice in America such as that they need "confidence" and "self-esteem". It's all a victim-blaming myth and illusion.

Also, people who have deep souls will not feel validated in America, which has a soulless culture that is all about consumerism, business, and making money. Since there is no true soul or rich culture in America, therefore the soulful will feel like a fish out of water.

History and foreign countries today prove that traits like "confidence" and "self-esteem" are not a natural part of life or society. The fact that they are not issues in other countries, or in past history either, speaks volumes.

Now, the word "confidence" was used in past history, but it was used in a normal way. For example, if you told someone you trusted them, you would say, "I have the utmost confidence in you." Or if you were optimistic about winning you'd say, "I am confident we will win this battle." But "confidence" was never part of some self-improvement cult, like some kind of "drug" or "fuel" you have to keep pumping yourself up with in order to keep your spirits high and your attitude positive. To do that is so fake and has no value.

If you want to succeed, you gotta work hard at doing something you love and believe in and have some natural talent in. That's all there is to it. But merely pumping up "confidence" or "self-esteem" as though it were some type of fuel, just for the sake of it, isn't going to accomplish anything. It's just pumping yourself up with delusion.

Besides, what the hell does "self-esteem" mean anyway? It doesn't make any sense and sounds like a fake illusion. If I already like myself, why do I need "self-esteem"? Am I supposed to keep telling myself everyday, "I like myself. I am worthy." etc. in order to raise my "self-esteem" evermore? What would be the point of that? That's so stupid and fake.

Also, another negative consequence with promoting "self-esteem" is that it's not just delusional, but leads one to overvalue oneself and become unemployable as well. For instance, American workers always want top wages and think they are worth more than they are. They have an overinflated view of themselves and an entitlement complex. There is no modesty or humility in them.

As a result, companies begin outsourcing their work overseas to India, Philippines, and China, where they can find labor at much lower cost. This decreases the availability of jobs in America. It's not the companies' fault though. They are doing what's logical. I would not want to employ over-entitled Americans who overvalue themselves either.

America is delusional in that it mixes up self-esteem and confidence with narcissism, egoism, arrogance, and the overvaluation of oneself. America is the king when it comes to fakeness, bullshit, and self-delusion. Nowhere else on earth are there so many crazy people, delusional people, fake people, and mentally ill people.

Instead of promoting confidence and self-esteem, which teaches Americans to overvalue themselves, America should be teaching people traits like humility and authenticity. Such traits make people more real and easier to get along with, and less toxic as well.

The term "self-esteem" is a relatively modern invention that had no existence in the past. Even in America's past, there was no self-improvement program that involved working on one's "self-esteem". In the 1800's for example, Americans were taught to be hard-working while doing manual labor and farm work. An honest day's work was a virtue. Life was hard for sure, and one had to be tough to survive the rigors of the Wild West. But at least life was natural and authentic, not fake like modern America. People got real exercise while working and being productive. They didn't need to go to gyms to work out.

In Medieval Europe, people were taught to be brave and courageous in fighting for their king and country during wartime. People lived and fought for honor and glory. They worked hard to harvest crops so they could enjoy life during the off-season. For peasants, life was harsh and grueling, yeah, but at least it was real and authentic. There was no fakeness. People were genuine and passionate. As long as you knew your place, you could be yourself. No need to act fake or worry about pseudo issues like "confidence" or "self-esteem". Also, rulers (Kings and Queens) were more honest and open in that they ruled out in the open. Everyone knew who they were and what they were doing, unlike in America where the elite rule in secrecy behind the shadows under the false guise of "democracy" and constantly lie about their intentions.

Even in the Bible, there is no mention of "confidence" or "self-esteem". There are only stories with moral lessons encouraging faith in God and obeying his commandments. Geez. You would think that if things like "confidence" and "self-esteem" were real, that they'd at least be mentioned somewhere in the 66 books of the Bible. The fact that they aren't again speaks volumes.

Today, in other countries where cultures and people are more authentic, down-to-earth and humble, you can be yourself and are accepted as such. You don't have to try to be something you're not. It's the most liberating thing, because being free to be yourself is the ultimate meaning of freedom.

Here's the big secret: When you are comfortable and free to be yourself, and accepted for it, a true and natural confidence will come with it. And that's exactly what you get overseas. But you have to get out of America to attain it.

This explains then, why I am only told that I need to develop more "confidence" in America. But in other countries, such as Russia, women often tell me that "I seem too confident, and a great charmer of women as well", believe it or not. It's like I am two different people in different countries.

I think I know why: When I'm allowed to be my romantic charming self (which is considered creepy and taboo in America) overseas in an authentic country like Russia, for example, my natural confidence comes out. This is one of the greatest discoveries I've made in my life.

Furthermore, the social environment abroad is genuine, down-to-earth and inclusive. There is a natural social connection between people that is friendly, natural and positive. No one is trying to tear you down. Thus, fictitious issues like "confidence" and "self-esteem" become unnecessary.

After all, when you don't need to conform to a fake culture, you don't need to develop such fake traits. Only in a fake culture do you need to cultivate fake traits. Simple logic.

In addition to being fake, America is also a paranoid socially disconnected society where people live in bubbles with "ice walls" between them. (hence the term "breaking the ice" when talking to strangers) There is no human connection and people don't talk to strangers unless it's business related. Now if you've never left America, you might think that's normal, but once you go abroad, you will realize that it's not.

As a result, in such an isolating environment, it's easy for people to become lonely and depressed. Many will be psychologically weakened in such a disconnected environment. At that point, it becomes easy to make them think that they lack pseudo qualities such as "confidence" or "self-esteem", so you that can SELL them whatever you want under the pretense that they will attain such pseudo qualities. It's all a fake con based on false premises.

By getting people to blame themselves rather than on their environment or culture, you can sell them stuff, i.e. BS self-improvement materials and programs, which may make you feel good for a while, but won't really amount to anything. After all, there is no profit in getting people to place the blame on their culture or society, which is where the true fault lies. So there's no incentive to tell people the truth (unless you are trying to sell people into a cult or religion of course).

Once you understand all this, you realize that such concepts as "self-esteem" are phony as hell, and are merely products of the artificial culture of modern America and its pseudo self-improvement programs that attempt to profit off you under false premises.

Furthermore, people in most other countries are much more humble, modest and down-to-earth. In fact, when you leave America, it's one of the first things you notice. They do not act arrogant, do not have big egos, and do not have this know-it-all attitude that most in America have. Even if you go to England, you will notice that people are much more real (not fake) and act more down-to-earth than Americans do.

Thus, foreigners are much easier to get along with, since humble people are easier to get along with than arrogant people are. In dealing with them, there is not this toxic "battle of egos" that you have in America. Therefore, you do not need to artificially inflate your pseudo "confidence" to compete in the kind of ego-battle that is commonly required in America.

Does that make sense?

Furthermore, issues like "mental health" are not much of an issue in other countries either. If you don't believe me, go to other countries and ask around. Ask people abroad if they or anyone they know, have had to deal with mental health issues, see a psychiatrist or therapist, etc.

You will be shocked to find out that they don't, and that such problems are mostly issues in America -- which has been documented to have the highest rates of mental illness in the world by the World Health Organization.

This speaks volumes about how fake, insane, toxic and dysfunctional American culture and society are. No question about it. When you discover this, you will realize that the best solution to so called "mental health" problems in America are best solved (or at least greatly alleviated) by going abroad. I know this from firsthand experience. See my story here.

Anyhow, I hope you consider all that I've said. If you meditate on it, it will begin to make sense to you. Truth is something you can feel instinctively. It's not always something that needs to be proven logically.

Thanks for reading. If you find this article enlightening or informative, please share it with others, especially with those who have bought into the "confidence and self-esteem myth".

You can leave a comment below or discuss this topic in my forum in the threads below.

They Myth of Confidence

Fake Confidence and Self-Esteem: Fictitious Inventions of Modern America

For more on the myth of confidence and self-esteem, see these additional articles from authoritative sources:

Psychology Today - The Myth of Self-Esteem

Dr. Christina Hibbert - 5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth

Even the prestigious Scientific American magazine says self-esteem is a myth and ego trap, one that can lead to narcissism, and how narcissism and self-esteem are often mixed up in America.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exploding-the-self-esteem-2005-12/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/self-esteem-overrated/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-raising-self-esteem-turn-children-into-narcissists/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/self-esteem-can-be-ego-trap/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-stop-chasing-self-esteem/

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/why-do-people-mistake-narcissism-for-high-self-esteem/

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/streams-of-consciousness/how-to-avoid-the-self-esteem-trap/

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