Today, people are born into a generation where people care only for themselves more than ever. People want the best and nothing but the best. In Jean Twinge’s essay, “An Army of One: Me,” it focuses on the self-esteem that people have and how it is related to the happiness in which people want to feel. Having high self-esteem will contribute to being more confident, which will lead to an individual taking on their goals head on. Also, both Leslie Bell’s, “Selections from Hard to Get: Twenty-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom,” and Daniel Gilbert’s, “Immune to Reality,” offer insight on the matter of pursuit of happiness. Each individual has their own way of knowing when they are happy and only they will know when the feeling is reached. When self-esteem is dependent on competence, individuals invest a great deal of effort in their accomplishments and success in order to validate themselves, which leads to the state of feeling happy.
In order to have a high self-esteem and be happy, people need to establish what self is. Everyone has self-esteem according to Twenge. Since childhood, people are told to “just be themselves,” so that others can accept us for who we really are. Even though being true to oneself personality wise, people act differently, depending on the situation at hand. One does not usually act the same way in school as they do in a home setting. One does not talk the same way to a friend as they do to a teacher. It is all dependent on what the situation calls for. Twenge says that when wanting to know how to act in a social situation, one should “just be themselves” (Twenge 491). With this being said, a person with high self-esteem will have the confidence to be themselves because they value who they are, while a person with low self-esteem will find it hard to be themselves because they will think that people will not like them for who they are. Therefore, a front is put up and people act differently when interacting with other people. Bell would agree that it is best to be oneself and make personal choices. She would argue for people to go after what they want in the manner of feeling happy. It is best to be oneself because when people accept a person for who they are, it will help to boost the person’s self-esteem level will make them happier.
In relation to Gilbert, the whole “choices” idea” comes into play here. Choices, in reality, make life more difficult as a person has their lives in their own hands. When given a choice, people tend to make the wrong decision. Truth be told that “the more is better” theory is actually not completely true. Too many options can actually be a hindrance in one’s life. In relation, too much self-esteem can lead to one’s downfall as well. People with too much self-esteem think that they are better than everyone else. Though this is a generation of “Me,” it is not good to think that a person is higher than others. A person’s ability to make a good decision is hindered when multiple choices are in front of them. Oftentimes, people end up not making a decision or are unhappy with the outcome. Gilbert writes, “When the experience we are having is not the experience we want to be having, our first reaction is to go out and have a different one,” (Gilbert 138). For example, if someone were to purchase an article of clothing and they did not like it, then it will be returned for something that is fitting to their standards. This relates to the way that a person thinks psychologically— “Psychological Immune System.” When people do not like something, there is no hesitation to search for what makes them happy. However, Gilbert says that choice makes people unhappy. Twenge would argue that a person’s self-esteem acts in the same manner. If someone’s self-esteem were to be shot down, then their reaction would be to find a way to pick it up again. Happiness is indeed linked to self-esteem and when a person is happy, it is likely that...
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