A Matter of Self-Esteem

How do you respond to personal affronts or insults? If you have high self-esteem, they probably don’t bother you much. Here is why.

Have you ever noticed that people with low self-esteem have a terrible time with anything they perceive as an insult? You see, beneath their façade of self-confidence, they are really not convinced of their own value or competence. So, whenever they believe that someone has insulted or rejected them, they come unglued.

These folks fret and fume. They get angry. They spend a lot of time brooding about it, and sometimes they even seek retaliation or revenge. (If you need proof, just check out any day’s Facebook or Twitter feed.) However, people with high self-esteem just brush it off. For example, at the height of the U. S. Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his secretary of war paid a visit to General McClellan in the battle area, to hear first-hand about how the war was going.

As they were waiting for the general to arrive, McClellan came in, covered in grime. He brushed by them, went upstairs, and eventually sent his maid to tell them he was tired and had gone to bed. The secretary of war was aghast and said to Lincoln, “Surely you’re not going to let him get by with that! Surely you will relieve him of his command!”

Lincoln thought about it for a minute or two. Then he said, “No, I will not relieve him. That man wins battles and I would hold his horse and clean his shoes if it would hasten the end of this bloodshed by one hour.” It’s the same for anyone who has high self-esteem. They are so secure that they can easily be humble and nothing threatens their sense of purpose and self-worth.

Give some thought to this the next time you feel someone insults you. You may just decide that it isn’t that big a deal.