Comparing the ego of a man to the stomach goes a long way towards explaining why people act as they do. A man who eats three good meals a day gives little thoughts to his stomach. But let a man go without food for a day or two, become really hungry, and his whole personality changes. He becomes more critical; nothing pleases him; and he snaps at people. He will become rigid and arrogant. He will not show any sign of being relaxed and flexible in his behaviour. He will demand unbreakable attention and recognition.
It will do no good to tell him that he is stomach-conscious and that he must get his mind off his stomach. It will also do no good if we tell him that he is suffering from a lack of self-esteem and moreover he craves for recognition of his presence. There is only one way to cure him, and that is to accede to nature’s demand for survival.
Nature has placed an instinct in each creature that says, “YOU and your basic needs come first”. He must eat before he is capable of giving his attention to anything else.
It is very much the same for the self-centered person. For a healthy, wholesome personality, Nature demands a certain amount of self-acceptance and self-approval. It does no good to scold a self-centered person and tell them to take their minds off themselves. They cannot get their minds off themselves until their ego hunger has been satisfied. Only then will they take their attention off themselves and give it to work, to other people, or whatever is necessary.
When self-esteem is at high level, people are easy to get along with it. They are cheerful, generous, tolerant and willing to listen to others’ ideas. They have taken care of their own primary needs and are able to think about the needs of others. Their own personalities are so strong and secure that they are willing to take risks. They can afford to be occasionally wrong and can admit it when they make a mistake. They can be criticized and slighted, and take it in stride, for these things only make a small dent in their self-esteem and they have plenty more left.
When self-esteem is at low ebb, trouble comes easily. And when self-esteem gets low enough, almost anything can become a threat. To that person, a critical look or harsh word can seem like a calamity.
By Les Giblin (1965 National Salesman of the year), a great speaker.
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