Self Esteem vs Narcissism

For many years I have talked about what I consider to be one of the greatest benefit of Tai Chi in the children I work with.


I believe that if a child has the tools to find success in school projects and tests, in forming friendships and working  with others toward a goal, in relaxation and physical activities for fun, that we will see a child who is calmer, more cooperative, more focused and happy.  This is a child who feels successful.

I have seen this over and over again.  “I can do it”  is a great way to feel.  “I know how.”  “Look, mom, see what I can do!”  We need a balanced reality.

It is wonderful to see that sense of pride.

But what has happened in this narcissistic culture we live in now?    “When I post a selfie everyone can see how great I am!  Or what I am doing! Or how good I look”

But this is a false self-esteem.  This is superficial.  In many cases it is meaningless.  The affirming clicks  are often from people we don’t know, people who don’t really care about us. Narcissism is not self-esteem.  It is hollow and fictitious.

But skills that allow us to form true friendship through our own calmness and compassion, to be successful through focus and concentration, to fall asleep at night with a calm mind that allows us to rest and recover from the day’s activities, to feel happy and peaceful inside is worth working on.

That is what I call self- esteem.  This is one of the results of a Tai chi practice.

If you look for article on Tai Chi and self-esteem you can find quite a few:

Tai Chi increase self-esteem in the elderly .

Tai chi increases self-esteem in breast cancer survivors.  

Tai Chi has a positive mental effect of all ages.

Tai Chi has a positive effect on adolescents in a 1 year study.    Those who took part in the tai chi intervention reported perceived higher levels of good behaviours, intellect, school status, popularity and less anxiety.

So I will continue stating that self-esteem is one of the most important benefits of Tai Chi since it is completely different from narcissism.  It is deep, profound, life changing, all about connecting and being a part of something.  It is compassion, focus, success, health, inner peace.  It is based on experiences throughout life.  It is based on truth.  It is not a hollow statement.

What more could we want for our kids?

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