Low Self-Esteen Equals High Standards?

I am a moderately insecure person when it comes to academics. In comparison to other students in my class who have already been accepted to prestigious institutions such as Northwestern, Harvard, Duke, West Point, and MIT, I don’t see myself as super smart or anything out of the ordinary. How could I? How could I have the audacity to even think that I am someone worth looking at? Sure, I’m enrolled in six AP classes, so are 50+ other people. I also hold a leadership position at my school, along with 20+ other people. I play a varsity sport, but I’m not good enough for colleges to care. My insecurities are to the point where I disregard anyone who isn’t as smart or ambitious as I am. In my mind I think, “If I can do it, why can’t you?” I don’t think that I’m better than everyone else, but rather I expect everyone to be better than I am. So when I say, “How can you not get this?” It’s not out of arrogance but out of honest surprise.

At the same time, I accept that there are people smarter than me. It’s humbling. In addition, I believe people should have more humility when it comes to academics. So what if you’re in the top 5% of your class? No one will care when you’re in college because everyone will be approximately at the same intellectual level as you. Therefore, in some ways it’s ok to have a low self-esteem because it prevents a person from ending up with egg on his/her face, figuratively and literally speaking. Not that I would ever throw an egg at someone’s face… That would just be silly, but I digress.

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Here’s a collage of my friend and I during our last season of high school swim. 🙂

Tell me what you think. Is it possible for a person to have a high self-esteem and still be humble about where he/she stands with other people? Does low self-esteem equal high standards? And have you ever had the same problem as me with deciphering between the two?

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