Because we need acceptance? If I am the only one who likes me, am I really, truly liked? Here’s the kicker: You don’t really have to prove your worth to others.
Some people feel the need to prove themselves as they are either insecure or lack of self acceptance. It is not uncommon for people who don’t accept themselves to go around telling people how great or strong they are (are you listening Donald Trump?)
Ideally, I don’t personally believe I have to prove, explain or justify anything about myself to anyone. But that’s not how the world works. Or does it? Why do you find it necessary to prove your worth to others?
There is a psychologist called Van Zessen who has developed a theory called “the vessel of self-esteem”. Here is a diagram for clearance:
On the left you will find your vessel, filled with self-esteem at the start of a day. During the day, the vessel will leak away self-esteem due to all kind of things that happen and have an impact on you. By the end of the day, the level of self-esteem, is significantly lower.
Van Zessen’s theory now says, that if, during the day, we have a couple of moments that boost our self-esteem, we will find our self-esteem level at the end of the day on a much higher level. These moments are drawn into the lower part of the diagram as the vertical lines at 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The theory is, that we can give ourselves those boosts, by taking a moment to realize that we did good things that day.
This sounds a lot more simpler than it is. Because during a day, we are all busy doing things, running from one errand to another and not having a mindset to be mindful about what we do, and especially not about what we do good. This usually comes at night, when we wind down, and at those times, we usually remember the bad stuff. There goes our self-esteem, down the drain.
So instead of impressing ourselves, we try to impress others. By doing good jobs, looking good, having big cars, earning lots of money, having pretty women, or handsome men, etc., etc. However, this is borrowed self-esteem. It is not SELF-esteem. It is appreciation from others. This often works, but not as effective, and certainly not as long-lasting as when the appreciation would come from within.
So proving ourselves to others is a poor way to make up for a lack of self-esteem.
How I envy my dogs sometimes.