Things finally make sense to me. A survey of 1,000 Iraqi teens reveals a surprising effect of living in a war torn country. It seems that when faced with an indirect threat to one's self or nation, human beings take action to raise their own self esteem.
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati conducted a survey that measured the self-esteem of 1,000 Iraqi teens living in ten neighborhoods in Baghdad.
All teens were exposed to news of assassinations, mortar attacks, car bombs, and other deadly threats. No direct attacks, but indirect attacks on their country, neighborhood, and well-being.
The results are surprising. The more fear the teens felt, the higher their self-esteem. Levels of self-esteem were actually as high as any random sample of US adolescents.
But the researchers say their findings are in line with a long-held theory that indirect threats to our sense of self will cause us to take action to bolster our self-esteem.
Finally, I understand where my bloated, over-developed sense of self derives. I used to think that my excessively favorable assessment of myself was simply wise and accurate judgment. But now I realize that this enormous ego is the result of a life filled with attacks against my well being.
A childhood dominated by a genuinely evil and awful stepfather.
Arrested and tried for a crime I did not commit.
High school hazing resulting in ambulance rides to the hospital.
Robbed at gunpoint.
Mugged at knifepoint.
Two near-death experiences.
An anonymous attempt to publicly destroy my reputation and career.
It’s a wonder I can fit my head through the door.