Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin, Psy. D.

Is Self-esteem Synonymous with Gaavah?

Jun 28, 2020 | Articles, Hashkafa, Chinuch

In a March 2011 issue of Hamodia Magazine, a writer who described himself as a “Yeshiva high school teacher and life coach” wrote an article titled “The Self-Esteem Mirage.” In this article, the author states: “The self-esteem movement is exactly the opposite of everything the mussar masters teach.” He cites from Rav Shlomo Wolbe’s writings as evidence for this assertion. And, in fact, in one of his published letters, Rav Wolbe makes a strong negative statement about the emphasis modern psychology puts on self-confidence. He writes: “Every other day bochurim complain to me that they have no confidence ביטחון עצמי( ) and I respond, Where does it say in the Torah that you need to have confidence in yourself: and is it even a good thing? In seforim it only speaks of the need for confidence (ביטחון ) in Hashem.” This seems to be quite conclusive!

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