As Steven Pinker puts it: “Self-esteem can be measured, and surveys show that it is the psychopaths, street bullies, abusive husbands, serial rapists, and hate-crime perpetrators who are off the scale.”
It seems we can definitely have too much self-esteem. Of course, excessive self-criticism is not great for us either. But pumping up self-esteem is not the only alternative. We could encourage self-acceptance, as the Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) founder Albert Ellis advocated. And Baumeister advises that the one quality correlating with improved personal outcomes is self-control.
Julian Baggini in FT Weekend Magazine, January 26th, 2013
Psychopathy, self-esteem and the CEO. The links seem strongly established these days. Not to mention the common-or-garden street thug etc.
The final point above, on self-control. There’s a related quote from Nietzsche, probably a misquote as I can’t find it on the web, to the effect: “If you don’t discipline yourself, someone else will do it for you.”