Zelfwaardering, zelfbepaling en authenticiteit: visies vanuit de sociale psychologie | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 17, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0921-5077
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7235


Self-esteem, self-determination and authenticity: views from social psychology

Self-esteem, self-determination and authenticity: views from social psychology

R. Vonk, Gedrag & Organisatie, Volume 17, October 2004, nr. 5, pp. 292-302.

The first part of this paper describes how people distort reality to protect a favorable self-concept. This creates friction between the need for self-esteem and the facts of life which include failure and rejection. In the second part, the distinction between 'real' and defensive self-esteem is described. 'Real' self-esteem is the result of self-determination: being in contact with one's inner values and motives and acting in accordance with those, rather than looking for reaffirmation by others. 'Real' self-esteem is associated with authenticity, intrinsic motivation, and inspiration. In the third part, the limitations of this view are discussed, and it is argued that positive psychology (from which this view has emerged), too, does not concord with reality, because rewarding relations with others are a necessary condition for personal growth. A plea is made for more realistic forms of autonomy, and for a synthesis between positive and 'cynical' research within social psychology.


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