Is Building Self-Esteem a Cultural Thing ?


In today’s global economy, when something goes wrong in the USA, the impact can be seen instantly almost everywhere on the planet. Even Iceland is on eBay.!!!

Global Leaders have to be aware that employees perceive bad news differently and the way to cope is very cultural.  Regarding self-esteem, there is a huge difference between Westerners and Asians in general.

The Japanese culture for example, put the group’s interests first and individuals that stand out of the crowd will be “hammered down like pointing nails”. On the opposite side you have the American way of praising kids all the time, at school, at sports, on the playground even if children perform average, they get a lot  of “Great”, “Good”  and “Fantastic”, maybe the best way to produce great entrepreneurs ?

During bad economy, people cope differently when they have lost their jobs or/and their homes and they handle the stress and fear of failure with various strategies.(See article about stress management ). If people are afraid of making mistakes, it is easy for them to get caught into negative self-judgment, blaming or engaging in self-rejection. It creates a lot of pain that prevents people to make the right decisions and take appropriate actions. Sometimes the self-esteem is so low that some people cannot function, they develop anxiety and avoid contact with others, which makes things worse .

Top 10 tips on building your Self-Esteem:

1-List Things you Love and Enjoy About your Life: Drop your self-defeating and negative thoughts and focus on what is good in your life, your dreams and aspirations.

2-List your Strengths: Try to do as much as possible things you enjoy and good at. It is usually more productive to invest in your strengths than fighting against your weaknesses

3-Have Compassion for Yourself and Others:Recognize your emotions and feelings about yourself and be aware of your coping strategies and behaviors

4-Discover what you tolerate and “Zap Tolerations”. People tolerate a lot of things in their lives that drain their energy down: a messy closets, a negative person etc: Send me an email if you want a complementary list of 200 common tolerations.

5-Be aware of your weaknesses:Without putting too much emphasis on the negative, try to learn how to transform weaknesses into strengths.

6-Know your needs and become “Needless”:If your needs are constantly not met because you don’t ask what you want or you think others must have their needs served first, then you cannot function in a healthy way and be happy.

7-Ask what you want and what you don’t want in a direct way. People with low self-esteem have difficulty to ask others for what they want or saying no without feeling guilty. To build your self-esteem use direct language, learn to say NO in an appropriate way, practice shameless self promotion.

8-Know your values and build your life around them: Look at yourself like a whole person, have a holistic approach to develop your body and mind; the way you think impacts the way your body respond and vice versa, a strong healthy body can boost your positive emotions and give you more energy overall. Your values are deeply rooted and not aligning what you do with your values may set you for failure and unhappiness.

9-Set realistic, achievable, manageable and measurable Goals. Always under-promise and over deliver rather than over promising and under achieving. Celebrate your achievements by small bites rather than waiting for the whole plan to be achieved.

10-Learn from both your successes and your failures. Always ask feedback, people will be happy to give their opinion, but remember it is just their perception and you need to make the difference between constructive criticism and judgment.

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5 thoughts on “Is Building Self-Esteem a Cultural Thing ?

  1. J. Scott Shipman July 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm Reply

    Very good post, thanks for sharing!

  2. GutsyLiving July 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm Reply

    Anne,
    I just found you on Twitter and love the comparisons you make. As someone who grew up in Paris, England and other countries then moved to the U.S. and married an American, I can totally understand your comparisons. I have 3 sons who grew up in the US and my European friends don’t understand me when I say things like, “It’s important to love yourself.” Such an American way of looking at things which I’ve grown used to.

    • Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach July 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm Reply

      Hello Sonia, I am glad you found me on Twitter and thank you for sharing your experience.
      I have exactly the same feelings, my son is 9 and was born in NYC but my husband is French.

  3. John Falchetto July 28, 2011 at 7:58 am Reply

    Having lived on three continents I would say yes. Most traditional societies (anywhere outside the West) will put the group, tribe, family before the individual. This obviously doesn’t help one’s self esteem. Priorities, understanding and loving our strengths before the group’s, a tough one but essential to grow as a person.

    • Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach July 28, 2011 at 10:21 am Reply

      You are absolutely right John. Take France and education as an example, both family and school focus on correcting mistakes rather than developing strengths.

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