While looking at my own challenges and those of my friends, I’ve again realized how important self-esteem is. Healthy self-esteem, of course :).
It is very important, even fundamental in your life.
Self-esteem is a particular experience of Self. It is an experience in which you like, appreciate and respect yourself, are competent to deal with life challenges and believe you are worthy of happiness. In practice it means you
- know yourself,
- accept yourself and
- trust your own thinking and decision making.
You can also see self-esteem as a healthy balance between shame and pride. You know who you are, you know your features, characteristics, skills, values, morals, pitfalls and problems. You know your past and you know your present time. And you deeply appreciate yourself and love yourself.
You are both humble and proud, humble about your present and future and proud about your past and present. Pride relies on the honest recognition of whom you have become while humbleness appreciates what is still before you on your path. You simply see the truth, accept it and take the responsibility for it.
How much do you like to be with yourself?
Self-esteem is neither an inborn gift nor a by-product of living.
It doesn’t just happen.
Instead, it is a continuous creation, an experience of consciousness for valuing Self and enjoying the being with Self. It is a very deep inner feeling of your own competence and worth that is being built and strengthened over time.
You need to cultivate it daily, reflect on who you are and what your path is. And whatever your current status of self-esteem, you can always improve it.
Nearly everything you do aims either at increasing self-esteem and personal value, or protecting it from being diminished by other people. Your self-esteem if essential to anything in your life. It is fundamental for your success and happiness.
Your self-esteem determines how you feel and how you approach all situations. High self-esteem encourages you to take courageous acts while low self-esteem makes you be immobilized by fear.
Self-esteem determines your emotional health and overall well-being. It inspires you for reaching beyond your comfort zone, strive for achievement and peak performance.
It is a building stone of any successful marriage or relationship. It inspires you to think bigger than yourself and act accordingly. It continually challenges you to grow and shine.
In practice, however, many people lack a healthy, high self-esteem. Look around and notice what you see, hear what others are saying, and feel their joys and problems.
So many of us strongly depend on the evaluation of authorities, teachers, bosses, parents, significant others, and so on.
So many of us generalize single experiences or unfortunate events in order to make final decisions about our own (in)capabilities and skills.
So many of us are helpless in the presence of strong authorities and their judgements.
So many of us are fearful and shy.
So many of us cover our poor self-esteem with arrogance, overconfidence or self-pity.
Low self-esteem requires a constant feed of approval from the external world. If this need is unfulfilled, the person starts complaining, becomes frustrated and negative, and basically powerless.
It doesn’t need to be like that.
Self-esteem is an inner feeling of worth
We are not our behaviors.
We are not our performance.
We are not frozen states.
We are human beings in progress and personalities to become.
External opinions or complements are not a measure of our self-esteem. External achievements are not a measure of our worth. Our confidence and behaviors are not a measure of self-value. True self-esteem cannot be acquired by approvals, fame, opinions, affirmations, achievements, sexual appeal, beauty, hypnosis or implanting of beliefs. All these may help but are not the answer.
Self-esteem is internal. It is a basic trust of your consciousness in yourself, your worth, thoughts, actions and decisions.
In order to nurture your self-esteem you need to align yourself with the truth, the reality as much as you understand it.
You need to recognize who you are and where you are in life. And you need to accept it: your past and your present, your look and your skills, your ambitions and your choices, your illnesses, problems and challenges. Your studies, your job or its lack.
If your life sucks at the moment, accept it. It’s OK.
If you know where you are you can take a few breaths and decide where you want to go. Then you will determine how to take the first steps.
If you need help, you can ask for it. If you need knowledge, you can educate yourself. If you need forgiveness, you can receive one. If you need time, you have it all….
Nurture your self-esteem
You need to become aware of your self-esteem and take the responsibility for its development. Whatever your circumstances, whoever opinions and judgments determined your feeling of self-worth so far, wherever you are, know that you can make a different choice this very moment.
Simply, make a choice to nurture your self-esteem. It is not of your parents, peers, teachers, colleagues, managers, husband or wife, children, mentor groups, web communities, music fan clubs etc.
Nobody can give you self-esteem, neither take away from you.
It is your conscious recognition, acceptance of who you are and a reflection on how to become the one you want to be. You can begin strengthening your self-esteem.
Face the truth, embrace it and act in integrity with yourself.
If there is one thing you can work on this year, focus on developing your high self-esteem.
Photo courtesy Fe Langdon, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.