Self-acceptance may be best way to boost self-worth
A new study suggests that practicing self-acceptance may be the best way to boost our self-worth and avoid self-deprecating behaviors and consequences.
"Consider the person who has just realized that they are poorly prepared financially for retirement," authors Soo Kim and David Gal (both Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University) wrote.
"They might either go out and buy something expensive or start binge eating or drinking as a way to avoid dealing with their problems. We introduce the idea that practicing self-acceptance is a more effective alternative to this type of self-destructive behavior," they added.
Across five experiments, the authors confirmed that practicing self-acceptance helps to reduce a person's likelihood of engaging in damaging behavior and increases the likelihood that they will work toward improving the areas where they fall short.
In one study, participants read about the concept of self-acceptance and were then asked to select either a luxury magazine or the book "Power and Influence for Dummies." As predicted, participants were more likely to select the book over the magazine, indicating a desire to improve their overall well-being.
These results provide insight for brands targeting consumers who might be more forgiving than others (elderly vs. young) or brands selling products requiring more advice than others (financial or dietary products). Conversely, brands targeting groups with low self-acceptance should take care to carefully phrase their advice-related messages in a non-threatening manner.
While the benefits of self-acceptance can help to boost a person's self-esteem as a means to promote well-being, the authors caution against using undeserved praise that can give people unrealistic beliefs and expectations about their abilities.
The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
(Posted on 22-05-2014)
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