I think we can all agree that society’s relationships are continuing to transitioning from Martin Buber’s I and thou to I and it. But the transition is like the dead zone where your cell phone is trying (and failing) to reach the outermost periphery of your wi-fi network but doesn’t know well enough to give up and connect to the cell phone network.
It is a recipe for depression when you are expected to believe you have innate worth (I and thou) while experiencing the opposite (I and it). The culture and modern psychology in general is so disingenuous about this. Can’t we just admit that physical appearance, money, status, and charisma are the most important things. Can we quit pathologizing low self-esteem and learn to see it as an often correct self-assessment. The whole concept of self-esteem presupposes one has innate worth which is untrue for all but the luckiest of us. We need to move to the way it was in pre Christian times where people were open and honest about one’s value being tied to their station.