Falling from great heights

Self-doubt is a ubiquitous trait – no one is exempt from its grasp, not even the most successful. Unfortunately, this success is often simply a veneer of satisfaction, when under the surface lies pain and low self-confidence – success often serves as a façade for the underlying lack of self-esteem.

A prime example of pressure leading to downfall is the late South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun. A humanitarian who advocated for student’s rights, Moo-hyun won the 2003 election. However, Moo-hyun faced brutal opposition and name-calling from other political parties and the media. Policies he once strongly believed in were opposed and eventually caused him to doubt his tenure as president. After leaving office, Moo-hyun still faced pressure and accusations of bribery from the media and political activists. Fourteen months after leaving office, the former president committed suicide by jumping off a mountain cliff.

“Celebrities and successful people do experience self-doubt because they are constantly judged and criticized by the media, the public, and their peers – they do not want to be seen in a bad light,” Junior Lauren Yamagami said.

Celebrity self-doubt further manifests itself in eating disorders, in body image issues. Singer and former child star Demi Lovato epitomizes the struggle between women and conventional beauty standards; in a documentary from MTV, Lovato stated, “Even when I [lost] 20lbs when I [was] 12 because I stopped eating, [it was] never enough. It was an obsession of the mind.” Her low self esteem drove her to “not eating and purging and self-harming,” problems which she hid well by drowning herself in her work. But eventually, her parents decided to send her to rehab. While bipolar disorder was a heavy contributor, Lovato’s lack of self esteem – a trait that began to take shape as early as the age of four – was the driving force behind her self-harm. Fortunately, rehab put her on the path to reform, her story serving as both an inspiration and a warning: a shortage of morale has severe psychological and physical repercussions that can take years to fully cope with.

“Success does not hinder self-doubt because you never know when your fifteen minutes of fame will be up,” Junior Jessica Park said.

Another example of self-doubt can be seen in Michael Jackson. While widely known for his music, he was also known to be self-conscious of his appearance, due to heavy criticism from the media. He frequently attempted to hide his face, and eventually settled for plastic surgery to fix his insecurities. This lack of self-confidence exemplifies that even the most successful people can doubt themselves to the point where they do not feel comfortable in their own skin.

Thus, self-doubt knows no boundaries; it is important to emphasize the value of the individual in order to elude its dangerous grasp.