The theme is reshaping ourselves. I am not talking about diet. We will be looking what goes into developing your self-image. Self-esteem is only a part of the mix. This is especially important for young adults as they move through their teens and into their twenties as adults. What you do today for them, and the choices they make will have a lasting impact for years to come. Together, we can help them, and you get it right.
The Low Self-Esteem Neighborhood
I have waded through the landscape of low self-esteem. Like many of you, I was unaware of the sojourn. The landmarks are similar to those of depression, anxiety, groupthink, co-dependency, and a host of other neuroses. No wonder low self-esteem is part of a larger condition, as though it were a disease running rampant among the population. Thus, it is often overlooked, just as many of us fail to recognize the dirt on our face until we happen to look into a mirror. Even then, some may not even notice anything is amiss.
When walking through this terrain, watch for these landmarks. Do you feel that you are alone, even though the room is filled with people? Do you feel that you can’t seem to survive without a particular person? Do you find yourself avoiding people all together? Do you often find yourself afraid to make suggestions because you are fearful of becoming the butt of someone’s joke? Some of you may have encountered people who seemed to take pride in your humiliation. Of all those who may have appeared to, only a handful, if that, planned it out. Fewer yet, would have done so out of meanness. Most of the time, these occasions are unplanned and only in jest. After all, these things do happen.
For instance, I have a cognitive disability that affects the way I speak. As the day winds down, so do I. As a result, my speech patterns become sluggish and monotone. One particular evening, my brother and I were night fishing at one of the local dams. A passerby stopped by to say hello. Naturally, I responded in like manner, only my voice was flat and hesitant. He immediately turned his back. To him, I no longer existed. The feeling was awful. You know how sometimes you want to crawl into a hole and hide for some imagined wrong you may have caused or was done to you? I didn’t get the chance to experience that. It was as though I were a piece of trash lying on the pier.
Self-esteem is a strong motivator that can guide a person in any direction[i]. Hopefully, the direction it motivates you is to build up your self-perception, allowing you to move past events that seem debilitating. Unfortunately, most people will make excuses not to move down that course. Refusal to get additional training or investigate different avenues of thought is another hallmark of low self-esteem. Generally, the reasons people use that I have heard are ‘I’ve already been to school,’ or ‘I’m too old for that.’ If you have seen the latest commercials that offer reasons for not upgrading your skills, you will know that ‘I have other responsibilities,’ and ‘I don’t have time’ are simply a waste of talent. The excuse I used was ‘no would want to hire me anyway, so why bother.’
Have you ever said something like, ‘knowing me, I’ll screw it up,’ and then you do. The self-fulfilling prophecy is one of the most deceptive signposts you will encounter. If you had bothered to upgrade your skills, you wouldn’t be screwing anything up, because you will have learned that nothing is really a cakewalk. Even the best runner has tripped a few times as he neared the finish line. One last thing, great people have always been little people.
Conflict avoidance is another sneaky one. Your defense has always been that the best way to avoid a potential problem is not to instigate one. Well, that may seem like sound advice, but you also have to consider that it is also the best way to avoid finding solutions as well. Of course, the best way to avoid being ridiculed is to stay at home. Then again, that is also the best way not to have any friends. Yes, by staying in you have no more worries, no more joy, no more anything. I am sure you don’t want to live like that.
Did you know that the ‘Land of Low Self-esteem’ has overseers? Yep, it sure does. The Gnostics called them the ‘Powers that Be.’ You know them as bill collectors, politicians, the law, and any other title of authority. The Powers that Be are representations of what is called you locus of control or the level of responsibility you are willing to accept. People who are policed by them believe that their misgivings are due to the actions of someone other than themselves. It is not his fault that the cable is shut off. If the Powers that Be would have given him until next week, they would get paid. Never mind that the money was spent on Friday night’s beer. Whatever the reason, some insist on refusing to see that these misadventures can be evaded. Well, maybe not all of them. I still make social blunders despite taking responsibility for provoking the Powers that Be.
Yes, social blunders are another landmark. Everybody makes them, including the President of the United States. Just ask George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. The best reaction is to laugh it off. Make whatever corrections you can, attribute it to ignorance, and go on about your business. The point is, like a bad case of gas, it will pass.
As difficult and perhaps absurd as it may sound, accepting responsibility for your oversights is liberating. You are able to dispense with the excuses and begin to rebuild your image. Instead of being too old for school, gaining new skills broadens your experience. Instead of going along with the crowd, you can arm yourself with the right information and assert yourself as a leader. No longer will you have to be concerned about attaching yourself to another to survive, because you will have learned the skills you need to become self-sufficient. Does any of this sound like a dream you would like to pursue?
Get out of the Low Self-esteem neighborhood. Life should not be filled with problems. A challenge is okay because they promote growth and bring satisfaction. You are important to a lot of people who do not see you as a failure. You are a valuable part of not only the lives of those around you, but to me as well.
Put together a support team. Select people who will encourage you, guide you, and hold you accountable. Take control of your life. There is no greater feeling than knowing you chose to be happy and knowing that no one can take that away. Shift your locus of control from the hands of others and into your hands. If you don’t know what to do first, then contact me today. Together, we can find what is best for you from you.
If this isn’t you, then pass this along to the person you see struggling with self-doubt. You will become a valuable asset to them.
[i] Vignoles, V.L.; Regalia, C.; Manzi, C.; Golledge, J. & Scabini, E. (2006). Beyond self-esteem: Influence of multiple motives on identity construction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90 (2) 308-333. Retrieved July 23, 7007 from PsycARTICLES database.
“Phillip, you stupid idiot,” a voice exclaimed. Embarrassment washed over me. I had just finished building six lift units and was about to close out the order when I noticed a pile of extra parts. You expect this sort of thing whenever you buy something that requires assembly. When you are the person picking the order, assembling it, and getting it ready to ship to a customer, this is a bad omen. Normally, a mounting block is attached, but every so often, an order comes through that calls for plate.
“You should really pay attention to what you’re doing.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” I responded in annoyance. Somehow, I had gotten two orders mixed up. Hence, the reason for the mistake.
“Phil?” A voice cut into the conversation I was having.
“Could you please not do that?”
I desperately wanted to spout off some sarcastic remark, but I refrained. Chad was referring to the fact that the person I was conversing with was myself. Some people find this to be disturbing. I find it to be therapeutic.
For years, I listened to people tell me that talking to yourself is a sign of insanity. Taking pride in being an oddball, my comments were along the lines of it’s a sign of intelligence. My favorite response was that the problem occurs when you lose the argument. Perhaps I wasn’t far from the truth.
One the many questions I have asked is, what is the difference between being self-actualized and enlightened. I’ll let you know when I know. My quest has led me to Abraham Maslow, who coined the term. He explains his idea in Motivation and Personality. Much of it is about behavior and coping. Coping is for the benefit of the person while behavior is pretty much a series of responses that often have little value. Yet, like every other rule, there is always an exception.
Making comments our loud to no one in particular serves as an emotional release. Even short bursts of conversation with yourself acts as a relief valve for frustration. Without this kind of relief, frustration can easily become anger.
We all know what happens when pent-up emotions rise to the surface. People tend to beat up on inanimate objects, binge with food or alcohol, or employ some other coping habit that is just as harmful, say, taking it out on others. Before this can happen, feel free to make that snide remark about something you did that is so obvious a mistake before someone else beats you to it. You’ll feel better, and they say if you can’t laugh at yourself, then you are taking life too serious. It may not bolster your self-esteem, but it definitely doesn’t knock it down either.
The locus of control refers to the location of the strongest influence upon your being. While most will claim that is it is themselves, they are often at the mercy of the opinions of others. This is why many suffer from low self-esteem and depression, and a host of other mental maladies and self-inflicted abuse.
Two types of people exist: those who value the thoughts and opinions of others above themselves and obviously those who do not. Which group are you part of?
A person refuses to get their hair styled because of the response of others. Their preferred style evoked a response that was not to her liking. While these people may have enjoyed a bit of fun at her expense, most likely it did not diminish their opinion of her. However, the perception that she chose was of a nature that surrendered her power to them. What was really revealed about whom the person was versus could be? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Perhaps it wasn’t your hair that you were sensitive about, maybe they criticized your choice of clothes.
Something as simple as the style of hair a person chooses can actually control a person’s life may sound boggling, but it is true. The idea of someone being intimidated by gender is equally as boggling, but is true. All sorts of self-abuses are inflicted because a person placed more value upon the opinion another than on themselves.
While I could go on with examples of self-abuse, I won’t. That would be ridiculous. Every person knows of someone who is like this. Many of our leaders are those who struggle with poor self-esteem and react in ways that they believe will strengthen the manner they perceive themselves to be. For the most part, this is compensation. Chemical misuse, self-sacrifice, self-deception, or narcissism are all manners in which a person compensates for low self-esteem. When someone discovers his or her method of coping, what happens? They blame others for their actions.
The ‘blame game’ is played by anyone who is insecure about his or her identity. Their locus of control lies outside of who that person is. People such as this live their lives at the whim of others. ‘I am not going to cut my hair because everyone picked on me. I happen to like that style, but I was embarrassed because everyone laughed at me.’ People have amused themselves at the expense of other since before the latest insult came into being. People have criticized others since the first person complained about another. These behaviors will never go away. They are a part of the existence called life. While the disgruntlements and amusements of others will continually plague you, and you will continue to participate in them yourself, the value they hold is determined by you.
If you prefer a particular hairstyle, and allow another to prevent you from wearing that style, whom are you serving? This is no different with anything else. Do you refrain from dining with a particular person because you are afraid of the response you may get when you ask this person out? Do you refrain from wearing clothing that is more fashionable because of someone else’s insecurities? That’s right! Someone else’s insecurities may have infected you. People only harass another because of their association with that person is uncomfortable for them. That particular hairstyle you prefer reminds those people of bad experiences. Those slick clothes you like to wear make them look plain. That attractive person you want to get to know is something different from today’s conversation, but many of the hallmarks are the same.
The solution to these and many other issues that deal with poor self-esteem can be summed up in this question. Whom are you living your life for? When you live your life for yourself, then you are the one who has to be pleased with the hairstyle you chose, along with the clothes you wear and the person you want to get to know better. When you choose to live your life for yourself, you have taken the first step to becoming secure in who you are. When you are secure about yourself, your locus of control lies within you, and you have taken control of your life. The ridicule and complaints that are fielded to you can be taken as points to consider or expressions of another’s insecurities.
So go ahead, become the person you want to be. I dare you.
Low self-esteem is described as the negative version of yourself. If this is the case, how is someone whose life may be filled with negativity to recognize that he or she has a problem? What is negativity versus positivity? Lastly, is there a separation between those with poor self-esteem and those with high self-esteem?
I have always held that negativity, and positivity are judgments, and remain so. Even in this case, the two are judgments. A difference between high and low self-esteem lies in dependence. The level of dependence upon others can be a measurement of self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem tend to be dependent upon others for recognition, to make decisions, and give direction. What does it mean to be dependent? In simple terms, the question is can you live by yourself? If the thought of living alone scares you, then you may depend on others to strengthen you with emotional, mental, and spiritual sustenance. In other words, you may be experiencing low esteem.
Sometimes a person will do things to be recognized. A good example would be someone who likes to brag about their good deeds. Another example would be a person who likes to brag about their exploits. I could go on with examples, but they would take on an air of repetition. Often, people who like to show off are actually demonstrating a need to be seen by others as something more than who they are.
Let me ask you this, are you able to plan your own activities, or do you always need someone to go with you? I am not talking about your daily routine. What I am asking is, does the idea of planning a get-away for yourself trouble you? If you find that cannot plan an afternoon of ‘me’ activities, you may be caught in the throes of low self-esteem.
Going on ‘me’ excursions allow you to focus on your needs. Let’s face it, we all enjoy helping others, especially those whom we care about. Sometimes we become so caught up in their problems or drama, and events that we get lost in their lives. This is part of being a social species. We nurture others because it is part of our physical and emotional make-up. However, this does not mean that you are to become attached to any person to the point of exclusion. A person who is mentally and emotionally healthy enjoys alone time as much as social time.
Another indication that you may be experiencing poor esteem issues is whether you speak up or defend yourself. I know that sometimes things are better left unsaid, but not everything. Self-expression is how you communicate with others. This takes place on multiple levels. While you may be saying, everything is fine, your emotions could be sending signals indicating that you’re in trouble. Do you remember that thing called empathy? Well, it gives you away. The only way you can convince someone empathetically that everything thing is fine is by believing it. If you cannot convince yourself all is well, then you are experiencing low levels of esteem.
Okay, you think you may have low self-esteem, what can you do about it? The first thing you can do is to stop hanging around people who leave you feeling miserable, who tell you that everything you do is wrong, or who agree with you that everything you do is wrong. If this person happens to be a significant other who enjoys physical action, then you may be forced to contact a shelter if you need to get out. You may want a therapist to help you come to grips with problems. You may feel the need to get a life-coach to help you move forward. Friends are your most important resource. They can help you restore your self-confidence. Family may not be the best choice. They have already forged their opinion of you and will most likely reinforce their version of who you should be.
Another thing you can do is have a conversation with yourself. After all, you are the one who reinforces what you say and do. Whenever you hear yourself saying you deserve what happens to you, challenge that voice. Give that voice a name and talk to it. Tell it that you deserve better and demand that it offer you suggestions about how to do that.
Even I berate myself for things that to me were obvious screw-ups. Then, I turn around say, ‘Ah, but Phillip, what could you have done differently?’ When I do this, that other me, or my higher-self gives me a list of things I can do for a better outcome. So what, if it doesn’t work out quite the way I planned it. I did not succumb to beating myself down for it, and neither should you. If you need some help redirecting your self-critic, contact me. Together, we will get you to a better place.
Within the Freudian scheme of things, all that is wrong in your life was caused by your parents. Do you have children? If so, psychologist Matthew McKay (Self-Esteem) claims that your parenting style will determine the level of your child’s self-esteem. Psychologist Marilyn Sorensen (Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem), tells you that what you say and how you treat your children will form their self-view. In other words, my parents foisted their neurosis upon me and it is my job to cast it upon those next in line. I suspect that this is only half-right. The root cause of poor self-esteem does lie in our childhood, but not entirely with you or I.
Everything that is wrong with the child always seems to be left at the parents’ feet. Such a horrible injustice committed by psychiatrists. Being a parent, my responsibility is to lay the groundwork for my children to build upon. Once Damien is thrown into the world, the strength of that foundation is tested. Some are like Daniela, who will not have a foundation to build upon when they are thrust into the world. The daycare center is where life will make its first impression. Single parents, and working parents, may feel duty bound to deliver their infants and toddlers to some type of caregiver. Thus, the foundation the child will build from is put down by you and a caregiver. At the best of times, the architecture is conflicting, and other times reinforced. Even so, the wrong person can dismantle everything that has been assembled faster than you, or I can repair.
You do not want to cut corners here. Leaving Daniela with a grandparent(s), or should I say your parent, exposes her to everything you experienced. I am not saying that the grandparent(s) was a bad parent(s). What I am saying is that if you did not care for the way you were raised, then why do the same to her? I may have turned out okay, but that does not mean that my siblings did. Yes, we grew up in the same environment, but we had different experiences. Some of the events I went through are not what I would want my children to go through. There’s a difference between babysitting, weekend sleepovers, and leaving them there ten hours a day. No, I wouldn’t want to do that just to save a few bucks. The short-term benefits pale against the long-term effects. The same goes for childcare providers, don’t use just any provider.
You want to find people who enjoy their work first and paycheck second. Being a daycare provider should not be just a job, because your child is not just any child. A daycare service is an investment in the future of kids like Daniela. This is, perhaps, the only influence you will have that will be more important than worrying whether he or she will go to college or find work. You will know soon enough if your choice was wrong. The hard part of finding a childcare provider that is valuable is that what you are looking for is not in a background check. Ask questions, get references, and do your due diligence.
The true test of the foundation I built for Daniela and Damien comes when they enter the land of school classrooms and playgrounds. Whether it is preschool or kindergarten, children are learning how to develop relationships and use their power. They also, have no social experience. This is something you or I can’t really instruct them on. The only way to learn is to do. As beginners, they will make horrible blunders, just as you and I did at their age. I do not honestly believe that children set out to become oppressive, tyrannical, or even delinquent adults. Most parents do not do this to their children. Kids, on the other hand, have a tendency to mimic the behaviors they see. Whom would they mimic? They mimic their parents. I did and I am sure you did. Let me give you an example.
Summers in the ‘70s were not nearly as warm as they are now. In fact, they were quite comfortable. June was even a little chilly by today’s standards. My dad had bought a small farm. For whatever reason, we had not moved into the big house. Apparently, a caretaker came with it. Like most people, he helped himself to the equipment, namely my dad’s old John Deere tractor. This particular morning, Dad was complaining vehemently about Morgan using his tractor. He vowed to talk to him about it. Naturally, I was somewhere about, and his words had inspired me.
It was late morning when Morgan stumbled out of the white cabin where he stayed. At the time, I didn’t know about alcohol, and the fascination adults have with it. I must confess, even today, I fail to comprehend the relationship. At the first opportunity, I presented myself to him, along with some orders. “My Dad,” I imagine I began, “wants you to stay away from his tractor.” Morgan was not amused. Fortunately, my dad was. He did tell me not to do anything like that again. As I recall, no explanation was given. That’s typical for adults. (Now that I think about it, I hope I gave my children an explanation.) Needless to say, I never pulled a stunt like that again. I did adopt some of his other behaviors, such as being quick with amusing comments. Somewhere along the way, I lost some of his bad habits. I like to think I did so purposefully.
I am sure that when you were a child, you mimicked one or both parents to some degree also. Don’t feel bad about it. Developing good habits is hard work, just as developing bad habits is not easy, but you have to start somewhere. Keep in mind, if you have children, they too will adopt some of your habits. So think about which ones you want them to inherit. This kind of influence you have control of, but what about those you do not?
When your precious bundle of joy steps out the door to go to school, to the park with friends, or next door to have some fun, he or she will have to deal with everyone else’s behavior. As I said earlier, children are socially immature. Socially speaking, they are in their formative years. During this time, your little precious must run a gauntlet of insults, cruel jokes, and inappropriate behavior that ranges from neighborhood brawls to experimentation. We expect this from kids jockeying for social recognition among a sea of budding adults. What you do not expect is this kind of behavior from adults. Then again, when adults go around telling people that they have no idea what they want to be when they grow up, maybe we should expect such juvenile behavior.
You try to help your prince or princess deal with the local royalty. For the most part, kids can work out their own solutions. They may not always seem fair, but they are valuable lessons. When Damien asks why Daniela called him a suck-head, or why Lester started a fight with him. You can sit down with burger and fries and talk about it. You ask him what his part was and then provide an explanation that not only builds him up, but one that doesn’t tear the others down. When an adult calls him incompetent, tells him he’s not trying hard enough, or that’s not good enough does more damage that Daniela calling him a suck-head or that fight with Lester. If ever there were evil people, it would be them.
Children harassing children is never a pretty sight, and sometimes it gets out of control. Most of the time, they are on equal footing. When an adult does this, not only is the situation unequal, but they undermine your efforts to instill value. When this happens, you have to work doubly hard. First, you have to reassure Damien that he is not incompetent. Then you have to explain why an adult would say that. What makes it even worse is when the adult is a teacher, coach, or someone Damien respects.
Competency is something that can easily be fixed. Tutoring and classes can dramatically improve his ability to do something. More importantly, your praises and additional suggestions such as asking questions and making sure he understands what is being taught not only instills the value of asking questions, but that he can achieve the desired results.
Sometimes, even I make the mistake of telling Damien or Daniela, they are not trying hard enough. I can do that, not because I am the parent, but because I can show them what they are doing wrong, and how they can do it better. When you do this, you are teaching them to work smarter, not harder. Most adults will do this. You generally don’t hear about them when they do. Those that don’t are the ones you want to hear about. In one fell swoop, one of those adults can knock a huge chunk out of their foundation. If it’s a teacher, this could make matters even more difficult to resolve. After you have restored Damien or Daniela’s confidence, it may be a good idea to discuss this with the person who made the remark. Explain to them the value of constructive criticism.
When you are told something you’ve done is not good enough, it feels as though your entire being folds in upon itself. At least, that is how it is with me. Afterwards, you consider asking what you did wrong. Damien may not think this way yet, but you can teach him to do so. He may not even tell you about the incident. That is why you should be asking him how’s he doing and ensuring that he is doing his best as much as possible. When he responds with a ho-hum comment, you know something’s up, and it is time for you to act. How do you act? You discover what the problem is and then guide him towards a solution. You encourage him to ask questions, find answers, and use what he has discovered. The only way to repair this kind of damage is through reassurance and allowing him to correct his own mistakes.
I waded through the landscape of low self-esteem along with everyone else for a number of years. My parents contributed to some of it, but they were not the sole suppliers. Most of the damage came from my peers. While parenting styles can contribute to the development of low self-esteem, it is only one factor. Many of the variables are beyond your control to prevent. However, if you are ever in doubt as to how Damien, Daniela, or any other child is doing, or how they feel, ask questions. By participating in his or her life, you shape their self-image.
People are always quick to point out what is wrong with you. Unfortunately, they give praises occasionally, or your congratulations come all at once. Some will only tell what is right after they have done their best to tell you what your problem seems to be. I suppose this method is a marketing scheme. Well, I am going to start telling you a little bit about what to expect when you feel good about yourself most of the time.
Telling you about poor self-esteem and what you can do about it is fairly lengthy compared to talking about having good self-esteem or even too much. Yeah, you can have too much of a good thing. Talking about you are doing right about staying healthy can be pretty boring, but I will do my best to spice it up.
“Self-esteem is essential for psychological survival… without some measure of self-worth, life can be enormously painful with many basic need going unmet.[i]” Self-esteem is extremely important for you and can get you through some rough patches or plunge you in the middle of them, leaving you with a sense of dread. Developing a good sense of self-value is actually essential to achieving self-awareness, good physical and mental health, and being satisfied with life in general. Of course, more benefits exist, and we may even visit some as we go. Abraham Maslow calls a person who is self-aware, self-actualized. He describes self-actualized people as “…fulfilling themselves and to be doing the best they are capable of doing…[ii]” Self-actualized people have gone through the process of self-discovery and have learned to accept themselves, allowed them to evaluate their belief system, encouraged them to develop specific potentials, and enjoy life with companionship or solitarily[iii].
In order to reach this state, Maslow felt that a person needed to free her or himself from mental states of the mind that are detrimental to the overall being. This does not include those illnesses that have an organic cause, such as bi-polar, clinical depression, or schizophrenia. These disorders are due to brain formation, production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, poor receptors, or the like. A person should be free of neurosis, which are behaviors such as compulsiveness, phobias, anxiety, and such. These can be dealt with through cognitive-behavioral therapy. Physical, mental, and emotional needs have been satisfied to the extent that they are not ever present. If you have succeeded in these challenges, you find that you have a tendency for simplicity, humor, beauty, justice, and similar values[iv].
Regardless of how you choose to view this. The goal is harmony with who you are, who you hope to be, and with the environment, you find yourself to be in at a given time. According to Neuropsychologist, Gary Elliot, people who have reached to state of self-actualization, or a healthy mental state, are more resilient to the effects of stress. Not all stress is bad for your health. Sometimes stress pressures you into finding a solution to whatever challenge you are facing.
As you can guess, reaching a healthy state of self-esteem and or self-actualization is not something that occurs overnight. We come into the world with a sense of being, or self-actualized. As we grow, we are conditioned to the ways of the world, as our parents understand it. During our indoctrination, we lose touch with our authentic selves by creating an alternate façade. As we enter adolescence and move into adulthood, we come to believe that this mask that has been created is who we are. Before you become wise enough to realize this, you must figure out that something is missing. Until then, you go through Hell. I know because I have been there. If you want to get out of that perpetual rut, you are going to have to want to. Once you get on that path, don’t be afraid to help someone else. Remember, self-worth begins with you. To be more precise, it begins with your self.
As we explore the path of self-esteem, we will also consider how you got there. If you are blessed with children, you will be in an optimal position to help them step out poor self-esteem.
[i] McKay, Matthew & Fanning, Patrick (2000). Self Esteem (3rd ed.). New York, NY: MJF Books
[ii] Maslow, Abraham H. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper and Rowe Publishing. Page 150, paragraph 5.
[iii] Sumerlin, John R. & Bundrick, Charles M. (1996). Brief index of self-actualization: A measure of Maslow’s model. Journal of Social Behavior & Personality, 11 (2) 253-271. Retrieved April 6, 2010 from Academic Search Complete database.
[iv] Feist, J., & Feist, G. (2006). Theories of personality (6th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Self-esteem is only one part of the overall picture. Self-confidence association and continuity are also pieces o f the whole. Many focus on self-worth because it is the most obvious and easily to identify. Anything that occurs within the other realms is reflected in value. Value is the foundation of the whole, which is your self-image. Psychologists call this version of the self the ideal self. Within the realm of spirituality, the ideal self is called the authentic-self, your higher self, or Christ-self. Regardless of what term you use, they are all labels for the same thing, how you connect with yourself.
As I said, self-esteem is the most obvious and the one most deal with. Just what is esteem? Self-worth and self-esteem are not always the same. Worth speaks directly to value. Value takes on a more sublime meaning when it is not tied to monetary value. After all, some things you should not put a price on. Esteem merely indicates deference or friendliness. Are you friendly with yourself? Of course, you are friends with yourself; even on those occasions you wish you were dead. Do you have any respect for yourself? Well, you should. Respect is usually given by putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own. For instance, allowing another to get on the bus before you, even though you have the opportunity to do so first. Let’s dispense with the term self-esteem for now and focus on self-worth. Are you valuable? The first thought that may come to mind is that you are not valuable, much less valued. That is a bunch of malarkey, because you are valuable, you just don’t realize it yet.
When we look back at the other components of self–image, we have associations, confidence, and continuity. These can easily tie into drive and motivations, which we will touch on later. Most people think of the future, and often base their future on past events. Why not take this opportunity to look at your past. Within the last year, how have you preoccupied yourself? In my case, I have been remodeling the home I live in, facilitating art classes, providing guidance for others, and planning. Well, that may or may not sound like a lot. I hope you have accomplished quite a bit. Despite these being daily events and seem trivial, they are very important. Remodeling the house can easily translate into remodeling myself, particularly if I see myself as a house. If you interpret dreams, or have read any of Edgar Cayce’s books, you will know that to see a house in a dream may indicate that you are looking at a version of yourself. If the house has cracks in the plaster, you may have cracks in your personality. If you find yourself trapped in the basement, you may be stuck in some basic emotions such as fear or greed.
Just the same, I have been remodeling myself in much the same fashion as remodeling my home by attending group events, studying, facilitating classes, just about anything that causes me to associate with others. The art classes are a way of looking at nature, the universe, and others in a different view. I am sure many of you recall learning art in school in which each person drew a tree. When the lesson was over, each person had a different version of the tree. Sometimes it was just a different vantage point, other times it was something wholly different. That is what art does for you, it teaches you to look at the work differently each day. What can a person draw from my past? One may see that I am moving in a direction towards people and service. A person may also see a continuation in reshaping my life. The last few months I have spent finishing the work on the house, I have been planning what to do with the available time. Determining how best to apply my talents and how to continue developing my skills is one of the goals I have set for myself. There are many ways of interpreting the past. Look at your past and write down what you see and what it means to you. Then project that image forward and into a vision of your tomorrow. Now you have continuity. By focusing on one aspect of who you are, you develop the others as well.
The chakras are like any other energy system. The sacral chakra takes in raw energy from the subtle fields and moves it down to the root chakra, up to the spleen chakra, or off to the heart chakra. Any of these points can be the second step in refining that energy. No matter what direction it is shunted in, it must pass through the throat, brow, and possibly the bindu vasarga chakras before exiting the crown chakra.
This subtle energy is also a key ingredient for the creative process. Want to know why? Attend one of my workshops, and I’ll let you know. The tele seminar is on its way.
Watch for this to be offered as a webinar through livestream.
Find out what this has to do with the Law of Attraction and You!
We are naturally goal oriented, or purpose driven. Without goals we have difficulties moving forward in life. One might say that without goals, no matter how small they may be, we are lost.
From Anthony M. Grant (2012). An integrated model of goal-focused coaching: An evidence-based framework for teaching and practice.
Get your BRDNSKY Guide
The Key to Putting Faith in Action
Inspired by Napoleon Hill - Think and Grow Rich
Follow me on Facebook. Get your insights fresh and see what others think.
Self-Esteem. We will explore what it is, and what it means to have it. What to do if you don't have enough and what happened to it.