Reclaiming Your Self Esteem From Mainstream Society

in #philosophy2 years ago (edited)

It is a difficult task to live in this world and remain immune to the detrimental effect which mainstream culture has on one’s self esteem. Even the tyrants who themselves destroy people's self-esteem by violently imposing their will on others must live a life of mental discomfort because they are demoralized by their own actions and the world that they create.

From the moment we begin to observe the world as children, everyone around us seems so big and intimidating that we give their opinions and beliefs an undue amount of credit and sway over our decisions and opinions. In short, we give others power over us. Since our early years are so vital to our mental development and the formation of our worldview, we carry this tendency to unquestionably submit to authority throughout our entire lives.

As we grow up, various "authority" figures subject us to daily, if not hourly, judgments on our value in the community and our moral integrity. These authority figures can be found at home, at school, and in the larger society. The authorities are constantly working to undermine the self-esteem of the general population, by making these judgments and treating those in their care like second class citizens. It is not necessarily the fault of the individuals who end up in these positions of authority, as they are merely passing along the oppressive cultural norms that were forced onto them at one time or another. This does not mean that these individuals are not responsible for their actions but that they are merely a symptom of a larger problem, not the root cause.

In a world where we are constantly forced to engage with people who have complete control over us, especially from a young age, it becomes very difficult to develop any self-confidence, and the idea of living free and independent can seem absolutely horrifying to some. The rise of centralized government schooling in the past 200 years has accelerated this process by treating people like toddlers well into adulthood, causing many to develop with immature and dependent personalities.

In school we are taught how to conform to the majority, regurgitate meaningless facts, and submit to authority, but we really don’t learn anything of value. That which is valuable and taught in public schools can obviously be taught and learned without government involvement, centralized control, and the overall oppressive form that these indoctrination centers have taken. It is this mechanism of control, maintained by government, which makes up the larger system responsible for the dumbing down of our society and for totally destroying an entire generation's self-esteem.

For the most crucial years of our development we are constantly getting the message that our thoughts, ideas, desires, fears, and disagreements are completely unimportant. We learn that our needs and our opinions are secondary to people in authority who are not to be questioned and who have the ability to punish or exile you at any time. This is an incredibly scary and traumatizing situation for any child, even if the repercussions are not immediately felt or seen.

These scars are then carried into adulthood, and eventually create very serious problems in the real world by causing people to act violently and irrationally, or at least make them completely miserable and obedient. Individuals who do not value themselves are often nihilistic and apathetic to changing the world for the better. Those who are lacking in personal power are also less likely to pursue radical solutions outside the accepted forms of resistance (politics, voting, etc).

These are legitimate traumas that need to be recognized and worked out by everyone. The predominant culture of the Western world could easily be seen as "primitive", a place where we are subject to expectations and standards that we should not have had forced upon us. In most cases the expectations are impossible to fulfill, and in many cases are completely pointless and diametrically opposed to the individual's self-fulfillment. Realizing these simple facts is the first step in repairing one’s self esteem after being beaten down by an authoritarian, soul destroying culture.

Far too many of the world’s people feel inadequate and insignificant because they don’t match up with the unrealistic and insane expectations that are set by the mainstream culture. Forget about those expectations and forget about those standards, they are no good for anyone and they are not a true measure of your worth. Using arbitrary traits like wealth, status, and appearance as social measurements is a recipe for disaster as it degrades human beings and sets false ideals of self-worth. It's difficult to gauge the value of someone’s life by external factors, but if we must be judged, it should be according to our actions and how we treat those around us, not the superficial standards of the mainstream culture.

This was a selction from my book with Derrick Broze "Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion" which can be found on Amazon, or at the link in my bio below. Image: Pixabay

My name is John Vibes and I am an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. I write for numerous alternative media websites, including The Free Thought Project @tftproject and The Mind Unleashed. In addition to my first book, Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance, I have also co-authored three books with Derrick Broze @dbroze : The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality, Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion and Manifesto of the Free Humans

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This article is really knowledgeable, informative, and fundamentally challenging us while profoundly changing how we think about our world and those around us.

Its time to challenge our thinking on a daily basis by facing erroneous beliefs and recognizing the "untruths" for what they are. Learn self-help techniques and ways to critique yourself fairly, so you can get rid of the negative thoughts you've been holding over you. Do not let your long held beliefs keep you away from realizing your full potential!

Challenging our long held beliefs is incredibly difficult to do. Truly it is said that nothing worth doing is easy! Yet, the rewards from surmounting that challenge are well worth the investment.

Sadly, too many people must be faced with existential crises that are often necessary to cause us to question what we believe. It takes an immense amount of integrity to do so otherwise, and rarely can folks voluntarily choose to undergo such trauma.


Good post. I do wonder though.
The main point many people make nowadays is how we cattle-feed children and forget that they are small humans, and a beautifully blank sheet to work with. However, I have also seen/experienced through my half century as a human that children who are allowed to 'discover' in any way they wish do not always become the person we anticipate that they will. Many times they are lawless, misguided, poor judges of characters and situations and even darn right lazy 'expectationals'.
I have at first hand seen twin daughters (not mine) - one allowed to grow with the free thinking mother who had the attitude "you can do it" and "you don't have to beg, hold your head up and state what you want" to the point of the child believing that she had to do no work to get/do what she wanted. She is now rude, unforgiving, ruthless, and ungrateful for her blessings. The other twin was guided her father and stepmother by rules and expectations which were tempered with understanding and explanations. Discussions, not telling; boundaries, not restrictions. This child has grown to be productive, pleasant, educated, helpful and caring of most others around her. She would do anything for anyone, thinks radically, pushes herself forward and doesn't step on others along the way.
So yes school practice and learning by rote, dictatorial parents and later, bosses serve to drag a person down, but it must be addressed with equal temper and not swayed to the opposite pole by knee-jerk reactionists.
Just my opinion.

As a parent that home-schooled my kids, I have observed that merely allowing kids to seek what knowledge they will fails to acknowledge that the world is not simply what they want it to be. It is essential that in addition to allowing kids to learn what they want to know, parents must use their experience, love, and discretion to also teach those things kids need to know, but aren't aware is necessary.

It's not beneficial to kids to let them grow up like animals. We are people, and the elemental nature of people is that they create institutions and technology. How those things impact us are essential to moderate, and teach kids to understand. The example you have observed and provide here is extraordinarily important to folks that want their kids to be good, free people.


Thank you so much for this great information.

I loved reading all your books! I highly recommend them!

To all Steemians you can download all John Vibes books for free but that does not compare to the awesomeness of owning the physical copy!


nice post

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A great way to feel good about yourself is to help others. Lucky for you I am doing a charity thing today, it has me feeling great about myself, very inspired. will you help me and help yourself feel great and help some needy people help themselves feel great?

It was a great book- thanks for the recap John! Indeed, turning any mainstream shit off it great for anyone's self esteem.

This jumped out at me:

Far too many of the world’s people feel inadequate and insignificant because they don’t match up with the unrealistic and insane expectations that are set by the mainstream culture

I'm so glad I moved way out in the country recently. It's amazing how much less stress and mainstream influence are out here.

I recognize no one's authority over me except myself and God. Everything else is a false construct.

My mom was great about supporting my brother and me when we were in school by taking our side against teachers (and sometimes administration) whenever we thought something was stupid and refused to do it or follow the rule. She always took our side, and made it clear to the school we would be doing things our way. I appreciate that so much. It helped us both develop self-confidence. It also made me practically un-employable, because I only follow rules if I want to, not because someone says I have to in order to keep a job....but, hey, that's what self-employment is for, and what I eventually came to do.

I'm happy to hear you won your fight against cancer. Good luck with your medical bills! As a fellow Anarchist/Libertarian, I support your cause.

What an excellent essay on the human condition, and the impact of the Prussian educational (indoctrination) model.

I found the first image posted, of the cat with a lion's shadow, contraproductive however. The implication that we are pussycats that think we're lions demonstrates conceit and self-delusion, rather than the reality: we are lions taught we are nothing more than pussycats.

I am very happy you have beat your cancer! I, beyond your personal blessing by being able to live, hopefully with much less medical interference in your quality of life, consider it a great victory for freedom and the fight against propaganda.

Thanks for being you, and living. Had you abandoned us by escaping this vale of wrath and tears early, I would be the poorer.

thank you for the kind words, and yeah I do agree with you assessment of the picture lol thats a good point

You have no idea how your words have touched me. Thank you so much for reminding me that the inadequacies I feel are also thrusted upon many of us... Making us feel obsolete in an enormous world. Your observation has reminded me that I am a part of a world community. And we all have our talents that can benefit each other in our own way. Truly... I really can't thank you enough. This was emotionally cleansing.

Great motivating post. Thanks for sharing!

Indeed you are who you are! Don't let others dictate what will you do I life. Go where your happiness belongs, the only person who can make you great is yourself you just have to believe and stop relying onto others.

I agree with you, self-esteem is very important.

the struggle is real... for many, including myself some days.
But in my heart I believe all of us are to be highly valued and loved... we all have faults and hurts. And, we all need forgiveness and love.

Truly enjoyed your post. Thanks.

Vote back brother ☺

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Hi, @johnvibes, I like your post, very useful for us all. I apreciate your post.

wow so great post ,very excellent that , thanks for sharing .

I like what you write and the theme


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Loved your post 💯. Really informative.

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This is great informative post for all of us thanks for the great information .

It's difficult to gauge the value of someone’s life by external factors, but if we must be judged, it should be according to our actions and how we treat those around us, not the superficial standards of the mainstream culture.

This I totally concur @johnvibes

However, because of the mainstream culture from the mainstream media, many find themselves lost succumb to the standards of others and does not truly realise what they are worth from day one.

That they are uniquely created (no one human has the same prints in the world) , loved (through how detailed we are designed in our DNA strains that is as long as 12 trips to the moon and back) and wonderfully brought to this world (no easy labour I must say).

I personally believe that:
When one truly knows one's worth, that is where the detachment from mainstream and truly able to stand firm and will not easily give in into the peer pressures of the mainstream cultural society.

Great insights! upvoted and resteemed

Honestly I think growing up in a rigid catholic school environment is what moved me to become as anti-authority as I am today. In high school, I was finally free to be myself! I cut my hair, dyed it blue, wore the most extreme clothing I could... but I wasn't ever really "lawless" - I just preferred to set my own rules that were dictated by what I believed to be human fundamentals of living peacefully in society.

Kids definitely need rules, but more for structure than "don't do that because I say so" reasons. It's kind of like creativity - if you have limitations, then your creativity is enhanced because you spend less time being lost in ether of everything.

All that said, I think you're right in that it did have a negative effect on my self-esteem. Confidence is something I struggle with on a daily basis, despite knowing that I am good and I am talented... for whatever reason I need all that validated by external sources, and I still don't totally know where that came from.

That was a ramble-y comment, sorry. haha! Lots to think about with this post...

Very interesting selection from your book!

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This is so true that I hardly know where to start. Our so-called "civilised" society makes people feel too fat, too uneducated, too poor, too fearful... too OLD! Many people seem to dismiss themselves as "past it" when they reach the age of 35! They effectively write themselves off, in so many ways. We need to stop being conditioned to put ourselves down.

Fantastic article John!

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