I choose the term self-likeability to summarize all that went before in this series. Self-esteem is the inaccessible liking of self hardwired as the result of infant care. Self-development is the process of living through childhood as the child chooses. Self-image is the picture of self that governs one’s behavior throughout life. Self-interest is the motivational force for everyone. Self-worth is the presentation we inadvertently or deliberately try to make to others about our opinion of self.
Think of self-likeability as all of the above, each individual’s internal opinion of himself. Likes himself and there’s nothing to do. Or, he doesn’t feel even good about himself. It energizes him to take corrective action. The worse his self-likeability then the more drastic his action.
All of this series can be summarized as producing children with some level of self-likeability. It’s a major part of the personality they project into the public arena. The more they appreciate themselves as likeable and respectable as a person, boy or girl, and their individual roles in life, the more respectable for males and likeable for females they appear to others.
Anorexics, suicides, other self-destructive behaviors come out of this unstructured grouping. Their sense of self-likeability is low, poor, or non-existent. As the victims interpret it, feedback from peers and parents confirms their sense of worthlessness. Depression quashes hope and dissipates into despair.
Girls prefer to martyr themselves trying to change their physical image before others and thus regain some measure of acceptance and thus importance. They are self-motivated to abandon their female nature of cooperation and strike out on their own. Depth of frustration at their obvious-to-them inability and the build-up of hopeless despair determine whether they choose to change their physical appearance or end their presence.
Boys prefer to martyr themselves trying to gain the admiration of others for courage, determination, and conviction; prove they are not the weaklings they perceive that others think. Boys abandon their nature to compete, withdraw into themselves, and disassociate from those around them. The boys with the strongest desire to be significant choose more outrageous outlets for their frustrations, such as mass shootings. Boys less ambitious and less inclined to lead others choose less violent outlets, such as suicide.
When adults encourage, counsel, and otherwise try to turn a child away from self-destructive behavior, they take some ineffective actions. For example:
- More parental love doesn’t work. It didn’t work before, the child has already determined he’s not worth any love much less more. Unfortunately, motherly guilt and regret stimulate loving actions much too easily; it gives her something to do which assuages her guilt but does little for the child. Father’s proclivity for logic and reason may provide better relief for parents and kid.
- Counseling doesn’t work unless started very early in the deterioration of self-likeability. Especially with boys, explaining oneself to a counselor or parent puts him in the awkward position of describing what he knows sounds wrong-headed to them, aka confession of weakness and insignificance. IOW, he’s ashamed or humiliated to describe himself as others can’t understand, and so he resists to preserve his self-image. He’d rather have the dignity of being different than admit the shame of possibly being wrong and thereby less or not admired.
Guilt helps determine outcomes. Girls fall prey to excessive guilt, which leads them to and down the self-destructive path. As they become less and less able to live with it, they take more drastic actions to drown their anguish.
Boys handle guilt differently. They can’t live well with it. They either fix what caused it or forget it. The process of forgetting it, however, in the mind of an unlikeable self leads to more and greater guilt. Forgetting becomes impossible and so drastic actions will fix it, or so he reasons.
A much better solution, aka deterrence for self-destructive behavior, resides but is dormant in the hearts of inflicted kids. The strategy is simple but requires strong adult intent and inspired imagination and applied to the child’s life with the least supervision practicable. Both sexes respond favorably to more self-activated accomplishments.
- Girls need to become more important in their eyes. Get them involved—perhaps pushed just a little—in dealing with others in a manner that makes them regularly accomplish things involving others. Get their minds off themselves and onto others. Volunteer, get a job, or whatever but very different and more important than their present activities.
- Boys need to be put to work, some responsibility and regular duty. Perhaps even at mundane tasks even if they feel their dignity is being assaulted. They need to be able to earn the admiration of others until they learn to admire themselves for what they accomplish.
It’s been a long road to make one point. Love does not make kids like themselves; it’s but a method to deliver guidance that helps a child develop himself, which enables him to like himself.
Accomplishments do it. Girls like themselves by making themselves important to others. It bounces back as their own importance, which transmutes into ‘I like me.’ Boys like themselves by earning self-admiration, which comes from accomplishing things that add value to life or someone, which also as byproduct earns the admiration of others.
So the next time you see a child heading down the self-destructive path, quickly get a girl involved in helping others and a boy involved with some new responsibility that requires his action repeatedly and preferable often.