Self-confidence and self-esteem is understood to be of vital importance in education and personal life, yet little more than words and mission statements reflect this within many of the usual institutions to which we are regularly subject. Parents, friends, teachers, spouses, bosses, religion — one can find copious examples in all of these categories that frequently discourage individual worth.
A similar observation was made by maritime attorneys who represented injured deckhands, all men, who worked on boats and barges that plied the Louisiana inland waterways. Like the women of the textile plants, many of these young men were criticized and emotionally beaten down by callous bosses. In many cases the maritime workers felt it was their fault when they were injured, although as their maritime injury cases unfolded it turned out that the ship’s owners or the men’s immediate bosses were really responsible. Some maritime workers were improperly denied maintenance and cure benefits by their employer or they didn’t know that they had certain maritime injury law rights regardless of who was at fault.
The women of the textile plants, the focus of the 2000 study, unanimously reported that friends and husbands had told them that they were not smart enough to make it outside the industry. While perhaps a clearer example than most, there are few who have not struggled against some sort of discouraging inner critic that, if listened to closely enough, speaks in a voice that is not primarily one’s own.
This may prove to be a source of strength, if the critic identifies flaws and weaknesses to ultimately improve one’s overall situation. Hearing stories of others’ gambling successes can trigger a set of experiences that don’t end well. Anyone enamored with online slots or what happens on sites found when searching for online slots for players in the usa, for instance may lead you to think you are a loser (because you tend to lose on gambling sites). This can be discouraging, especially if repeated over and over on many different sites, with many seemingly different environments. Losing will always make one feel stupid. However, many people simply take the non-specific discouragements at face value, internalizing them until they become very difficult to extract from the overall psyche. A reasonable assessment of the challenges between you and your goals is something very different than a portrayal of the self as a loser, too stupid to make it and doomed to failure if you so much as try.
The women of the study were given tests during the JTPA program which gave them tangible evidence of their ability to succeed (one woman was so energized by her newfound self-esteem that she divorced her discouraging husband!). None of them were stupid after all, it seems…