“Self Esteem Across Cultures” Comments, Page 1

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3 Comments on “Self Esteem Across Cultures”


    Cultural diversity and interpretation of self esteem plays an important part in defining what we mean by ” self esteem’ here often refered ( in China) as modesty or loosing face.

    Its confusing for westerners , because its considered normal for Chinese to adhere to old values, most Sundays you will see grandchildren leading their grandparents about,this is considdered normal.

    Wheras in the West its not.

    Chinese will avoid eye contact but this is due to modesty and not to low selfsteem.

    However that is merely a Chinese things,subserviance does not mean low self esteem.

    There is a confusion in the interpretation.

    An eg, was the recent sale of antiques at a famous action house,the Chinese were incensed about their valuables being sold abroad,they considder it their heritage but do not accept the dammage to valuables that was done during the cultural revolution…….I point this out to show the perception of cultural attitude when it come to deciding and sellecting the interpretationof issues.

    Taiwan where the nationalist fled taking with them vast amounts of treusures, which is now housed in musuems and proudly displayed is still a bone of contention between the two countries.

    I live in China and to us foreingers Chinese seem to suffer from a self esteem, however this is far from the truth in my opnionion and we merely how we interpret modesty as low self esteem.

    Compare the way westerners behave abroad;unfortunately and I generalise they are loud and demanding, assuming they are entitled to many more things than locals; why because they have been conditioned so to believe( that of course is a minority)

    Hong Kong is a safe organised place inspite of 7 million people living in confined spaces; you will rarely see vandalism,there is the occasional grafitti,I suspect by a someone on holiday but in general its organised we have a lot to learn from the Chinese and in case you feel I am being defensive and protective of their systeem and their assumed low self esteem,rather that than the unsafe,vandal ridden west.

    with appologies .

    lee du ploy Hong Kong

  2. Hi Lee – I am not sure if we are understanding each other correctly – you have no need to apologise, I am making the same point as you, that cultures differ, are equally valid, and have much to learn from each other.

    In the case of the study I was writing about, it is clear that as far as self esteem is concerned the North American measurements ‘normally’ used are just not big enough to capture all of our human experience.

  3. I find this article to be a unique take on the differences of East Asian and Western views of self worth. I have learned that East Asians do not have lower self-esteem, rather that their sense of self-worth is aimed towards external values. From what I have learned, it seems that Americans seek to promote self-esteem while East Asians wish to promote the “face”. Face is a term that describes the act of promoting one’s social position in life (Heine, p. 251, 2012). In a nutshell, Face is a reflection of how others think of you.
    In addition to the dialectical self, face is another aspect East Asians seek to promote. It would make sense that they would respond negatively when asked questions about themselves in the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale since they have little interest in their self and more towards their sense of self in the eyes of others. This emphasizes directly with the point Luczaj was making when she says explains how East Asians accept a more flexible view of themselves. Since people are unpredictable, and the face is dependent on the views of people within the person’s close network, East Asians could have become more open towards the changing tide of human emotion. This is quite different from an American strategy of promoting the self. As Lucjac stated, Americans have a pattern of identifying themselves with some qualities but not others. This is an example of self promotion, which is typically a Western strategy at aspiring to advance ones highest gains or attributes even further then what they already are (Heine, p. 252). Lucjac was very clear in her explanation of the dialectical sense of self in East Asian cultures. From what I learned about face in East Asian cultures, and from what I have read in this article, I have learned that face is a concept possibly derived from the unpredictable nature of humans. This unpredictability in humans, and the motivation to view their selves in the eyes of the public, could possibly be what drove East Asians to strengthen multiple aspects of themselves rather than to focus entirely on their strengths through self promotion.

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