“One especially prevalent form of this self-sabotage is embodied in the notion of ‘self-esteem,’ as the late (and very sweary) psychotherapist Albert Ellis pointed out. Trying to think of yourself as a good person—or encouraging children to think that way—dramatically raises the stakes of every action taken, as each one gets taken as evidence for or against that belief. Mistakes get magnified: failure at some specific task becomes an all-round failure of the self, fuelling a vicious circle of risk avoidance and self-blame. You should give up the practice of rating your whole self, Ellis counseled: accept yourself warts and all, then by all means judge individual action. ‘Your totality is too complex and too changing to measure… Now stop farting around and get on with your life!’”

—Oliver Burkeman, “Stop Rating Your Whole Self

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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