I would agree with the idea that having a high self-esteem helps to buffer someone from a fear of death. There is more than one reason for why I agree to this belief, and the reasons are a little complex and tend to run together into one another.
During one’s early part of life (such as in childhood), death oftentimes seems distant to those who have a relatively happy time. I would categorize my childhood in this sort of way and as such was definitely viewing death from a definitely distant perspective, when I bothered to view it at all. I remember when I was in grade school my family and friends went to a water slides amusement park. My sister and I wanted to go on all of the water slides, even the really big ones that were faster. I recollect that some of these big ones my mother did not want to go on, and she described my sister and me as ‘daredevils’.
This statement did not really click with me at the time, but I have thought about it since. If my sister and I were daredevils it is only because we did not know any better. I had never known any serious or lengthy pain as a child, and had a relatively good life. In my mind, then, there was nothing of which to be afraid. I was largely ignorant of fear and, as a result, did not have any. So, it really did not matter if my sister was talking about riding a water slide or riding an enormous wave in the ocean; if it looked fun and was part of my world, then I was simply too ignorant to be afraid of it.
This same idea applies to my conception of death at the time. I had never known anything about it, so I had no fear of it. Furthermore, I had no fear because I had a good life, and felt good about myself in general. Perhaps if my life was not as good as it was I would have had less self-esteem, but because I felt good about myself I just naturally assumed that I could deal with all aspects of life, even death, just...