View Full Version : self esteem (as theme in writing)

07-13-2007, 09:26 PM
Something Iíve been exploring in my writing is a life issue of great interest to me. Itís that nobody wants to see self pity even though itís something human that anyone can be prone to. Could it be assumed that a healthy person might possess both a mixture of this and of hope / ambition / confidence as he journeys to a certain destination whose path is bound to have ups and downs? I think so. I think if a person still has the energy to get up each day and continue along the path as opposed to giving up or self-destructing, then that person should be seen as somewhat decent / admirable. But what if the personís energy goes unrecognized? What if a person unwittingly gives off an appearance of unhappiness / vulnerability and thereby elicits a reaction from others that is opposite from what he or she wants (which is to be admired)? Do we typically view people who expose vulnerability as weak? Unattractive? Someone we donít want to be or be with? Or might we see that person as brave? After all, it takes a certain amount of confidence to be oneself, to reveal flaws or weaknesses that might be considered unattractive by others. There must be something else hidden in a person who exposes vulnerability or else they wouldnít expose it in the first place would they? Iím trying to look at it from the angles of both someone reacting to someone and being the one who gains a questionable reaction from someone else. If a person with enough pride to expose his or her flaws is seen as weak, should that person change? Maybe, maybe not. I just think itís interesting how sometimes we can be affected by the way others see us, how it can make us want to fight and defendÖanyway, Iíve just been thinking about this for a while Ė any thoughts?

07-13-2007, 09:58 PM
Personally, I think humility is a strength. Not many can do it well, or they're doing what we call "false humility" in search of praise or validation in the process. I don't see talking about one's weaknesses as being weak -- I consider it wise. No one is perfect, and the ability to identify and poke fun at one's weaknesses is actually refreshing. Comedians do that all the time, and we laugh WITH them, not at them, because we admire their wit, self-awareness, and what they learn from it.

I guess it comes down how you do it. If you're moping and saying things like "I suck, and nobody loves me" as in you REALLY believe in that, then people can see that kind of low self-esteem as very unattractive. However, if you instill humor and laugh it off: "I suck, and even my own mother has to think about if she loves me or not, but then she decides she has nothing to lose" -- then I think people will see the strength in this self-deprecation and awareness. That, my friend, is rather attractive.

Celia Cyanide
07-13-2007, 10:03 PM
It's certainly an interesting theme to write about. I think most people would agree that it's important to have, but it seems we aren't sure where we get it from, or what increases it or lessens it.

07-13-2007, 10:07 PM
And I think themes like that are great to explore, and if you can give your story a deeper meaning because of them, so much the better. However, ultimately, the readers want a good story, and characters they can identify with and willingly follow. So there's something we need to think about, in developing these themes -- are these qualities so extreme that our readers won't be able to care about these characters?

07-14-2007, 01:18 PM
It's a theme I think about a LOT as I'm writing about a character who is angry and sad about a lot of things in life and wondering how to portray his vulnerability without making him look weak or self-pitying. By the way, both of these things, at least revealing them to others, are greatest anathema to him which he would go to great lengths to avoid, though he does display compassion for others.