It occurred to me (without getting into the definition of self-esteem) while reading this that our encounters with others tend to either increase or decrease our self-esteem. People with high self-regard will tend to have that increased or maintained in their encounters with others; if they didn’t it would decrease over time. People with low self-regard will have it decreased or maintained; if not their self-regard would tend to increase.
In general, Max gets what he wants and is happy; he meets women and has casual sex with them. Occasionally his perception of things is tested, such as when he realizes the having no-strings attached sex with him are doing it with other guys, or when his out of control drunkenness shocks even him. In general though, other peoples’ behavior and reactions to him do not bother him or make him feel bad; he gets rejected sometimes but just dismisses the woman as unworthy.
He gets social reinforcement from his friends and the women who do have sex with him, and the rest of humanity are losers and fools. I find his habit of insulting people a little strange; the naturals I’ve known have not been nice people but they don’t provoke people. Why he never got his ass kicked is a bit of a mystery; but I suppose his social radar picked out people who weren’t likely to retaliate physically, including women who had aggressive male friends.
Americans love the idea of “win-win”- both parties to a relationship benefit. But as Robert Ringer pointed out this is not necessarily true. I believe most of the people he encountered lost self-esteem. You could argue the women he had sex with got what they wanted but I don’t think compulsive sexual acting out is a sign of mental health among women.
This can change over time- a person might find themselves moved from a situation where their self-regard is maintained or decreased to the opposite, or vice versa- but I think the pattern is usually established in childhood or adolescence.
Which comes first, low social status or low self-regard? It’s a chicken and egg thing. If you have low social status however you need to be concerned with maintaining and increasing your self-regard. In your interactions with other people you will likely be worried about not upsetting them- that is not harming their self regard- and you may put yours at risk in the process. I’m not sure what the answer is to this but this has to be avoided.