The Power of Self-esteem

Writing about the power of self-esteem is an emotional undertaking because it forces me to remember how hard I struggled for my self-esteem as a child growing up and through my early adult life. It was a long hard journey, yet, having done it myself, and having come out of the other side of the tunnel  ( for surely there is light at the other end of that tunnel ), I feel that I can be of a help to you.

I can encourage you to ” struggle for your sanity ,” as it were, if self-esteem for a moment can be equated with sanity and mental health. I can encourage you to engage in this battle because if you do, you will eventually win. You will raise your self-esteem. The day will come when you will finally say, ” Whew, I am actually okay. There is nothing really wrong with me. In fact I am quite a gal/guy.” You will be able to live and enjoy life in peace, and to pursue your goals without guilt or shame. In short, all the clouds which have hovered over you all your life will finally lift – and the sun will permanently shine from the center of your being. You will feel “whole” inside. Your sense of self will be solid gold.

Our outlook and attitude on life in general play a huge part in how happy we are in life and how successful we become.

Someone who thinks positively about everything  will be more relaxed, calm and smile more than someone who is always looking on the bad side, who let’s stress get to them and who constantly wear a frown.

Some people spend all their lives refusing to face an emptiness within them, a void that communicates an aching sense of wrongness and shame about themselves. They may try to cover the pain with material success and accomplishment, or numb it with unhealthy behaviour, or turn to others to fill up this “hole in the soul” (John Bradshaw ).

What such people lack is self-esteem. Self-esteem is more than just feeling more confident or spouting positive affirmations. It goes to the heart of personal identity, conveying the belief that we are acceptable, respected, and loved as persons we are – with all our feelings and sensations and even imperfections.

The source of self-esteem lies deep within childhood, from the first moment a vulnerable infant seeks to get its needs met from a care giving adult. These needs go beyond physical nourishment and safety. To thrive, a child must be  acknowledged, accepted, loved without condition. That is an agenda even the most well intentioned parent can’t always accommodate.

The good news is that as an adult you have power to change an inner sense of wrongness to fill an emptiness within. With reassuring insight, this article invites you to go deep within to heel your wounded self-esteem.

Know the reality of your worth as a wonderous one-of-a-kind, loved, loveable child of  God. You make a dent in creation that cannot be duplicated. This is the basis of self-esteem. No one and nothing can take that reality from you.

Having said all the above, it is clear that you need certain degree of self-esteem to believe that you are worthy of happiness and to be motivated to try to get what you really want out of life. Clearly if you have low self-esteem, you may think that you are not worthy of achieving anything – and you can stop yourself from trying. In fact should success or “good luck ” happen along, a person with low-esteem will always find a way to sabotage that success or find a way to sidestep the good luck.

Here is how it works. If you have low self-esteem, you will be afraid to try for two reasons. First in your secret heart you will feel too guilty about imagined shortcomings. You will think that by daring to try for something, you will expose yourself to the world. Others may notice you. If they do, they may discover that you are unworthy, inferior, damaged, inadequate and even despicable. So why even try? “Keep a low profile ,” You tell yourself. “Better be careful you don’t want them to find out the truth about you.” Second, if you feel that if by some chance you should succeed, you will know deep down in your heart that you are a fraud  ( the ” imposter syndrome “) and that you are really not worthy of the success you have achieved. Unconsciously, you may realize that the success will cause you to feel even more uncomfortable than you already feel. Those who dare to try for success, despite low self-esteem, secretly believe that it is only a matter of time before people discover that they are no worthy of the success they have achieved. They live in fear of “discovery”.

So it is important to repair damaged self-esteem in order to free yourself to get exited, to dare to pursue your goals  – and to enjoy the realisation of those goals once you achieve them. It is critical to extinguish once and for all that nagging voice that would otherwise whisper, ” And who do you think you are, anyway?  How dare you? What makes you think you deserve a better life? Get back into your place before real trouble comes.”

But how can you raise your self-esteem? How can you repair the damage? You can say aloud to youself and others, ” I am a good person. People like me. I love myself, ” from now until next New Year’s. But if you have low self-esteem,  it will remain low, and what’s more, you will feel like a fool in your own eyes. What you need to do is raise your self-esteem to change your reputation with yourself – to change what you think of yourself  – and the only way you are going to do that is first by realising that the images you formed of yourself were distorted or erroneous, or due to circumstances over which you had no control. Then you must take specific actions that will help to raise your self-esteem.

Use Your Talent Effectively

Cover of "Talent"
Cover of Talent

Your talent – Your gift

Very early in life, we each begin to realise that we have certain talents or “gifts”, yet instead of following the early clues and developing our aptitudes into career, so many of us run from them. Many of us would rather do anything but what we were born to do, taking as many side roads as possible to avoid our gift. It is as if we sense that developing our gift will involve a lot of work. It’s almost as if we fear that our gift will harm us. Still others run from their gift because they suffer from low self-esteem and the fear of challenge, conflict or change that goes along with it. “Who am I?,” they think, “to dream of such ambitions?” and they go every each way except the direction of their gift.

Talent stands out

Charles Wilson said :

” No matter the size of the bottle, the cream always rises to the top.”

Talent stands out, it gets you noticed. The course of history the world over has been changed by talented men and women who have maximised their skills.

You have that gift (talent), too. If you follow your inner voice you will eventually develop your gift and become what you are supposed to become in life. In fact the Bible talks about this idea. It says, ” A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16). This means that if we acknowledge and develop our gift, it will take us exactly where we are supposed to go in life.

Haven’t you seen people who should have risen to the top but didn’t?  They had all the talent they should ever need, but they still didn’t succeed.

Irving  Berlin said :

” The toughest thing about success is that you have got to keep on being a success.                     Talent is only a starting point in business, you have got to keep working that talent”

Eventually all things work for good

But what about the “side roads” mentioned earlier, that so many of us take before we finally get on the best path for our lives? Was it all a complete waste of time? Of course not. You will discover that once you are finally doing what you were born to do, all of the side roads will appear to have been “meant to be” in one way or another. You will see how they helped you to do what you were born to do better than you would have been able to do it had you not taken those detours. We need to prepare for our ultimate destiny, to build on knowledge and experience, and some of that preparation is not what we would have chosen, yet exactly what we needed.

Get back on track

A good way to start finding your path or destiny is to ask yourself what you value and to start pursuing or doing more of it. For example if you are very artistic but are working in a chocolate factory, begin practicing your artwork in your spare time, and on the weekends attend an art exhibits- and show your creations. If you have strong feeling for the homeless, volunteer to work in a shelter, even for an hour a week. If your heart goes out  to abandoned children, you might think of being a foster parent. If you are concerned with the educational system, there are hundreds of volunteer positions you can apply for in your local school.

If you take small steps in the direction of your gifts, I believe one thing will lead to another and you will eventually find yourself doing what you were meant to do with your life. In fact all of the above examples are not just examples. They are real case histories

Another way to find your path or destiny is to ask yourself what you really wanted to do when you were younger, and then to determine where and why you went off your path.

Admittedly, all of us get cought up in the glamour scene and get strayed from our course. We then have to wrestle with our inner voices and try to out-shout it with protests. For example if it concerns moving to another job which will affect your pay and many other perks adversely.

To make the long story short, you go ahead and answer your inner voice towards the direction you prefer. You have to take the chance. The chance is the risk of security- and, almost always ,money. We are so deluded by trinkets at times that they can blind us to the future. We may ask, “Won’t I be in poverty if I dare to go for the path that I know, deep down inside, I should follow?” but making a major life change, when you come down to it, always involves a chance. In the end you have to be on yourself and let the chips fall when they may.

And thankfully, the likelihood is that if you do take a chance your ultimate situation will probably be quite the opposite of poverty. You may be better off financially than you were before because when you follow what you really believe in, you do it with all your heart. And when you do anything with passion and energy,  the result is always bounty – perhaps financial, and definitely spiritual. On the other hand, if you spend your life doing something you don’t really love, something for which you have no passion, you will hold back. You will give it the least amount of effort, and you will reap meager rewards – and you may also reap anger, regret and self-contemp . There is a biblical proverb that demonstrate this principle : “He becometh poor who dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” (Proverbs 10:4).

But it is not a simple formula. There is no guarantee that if you follow your path you will  automatically be financially prosperous. There may be a test period, a time when you may have to take a cut in income temporarily, or you may never be affluent. But even if that financial cut is permanent, can you really put a price on the daily joy that fills your soul when you know you are doing exactly what you were born to do, where as a general rule, every morning you wake up and think,  I can’t wait to go to work today ” instead of, day after day, awakening to the thought of.  ” I wish it were five o’clock already – and my workday was over,” and in sense, wishing your life away?

 

The Power of Moving On

The power of letting go of the past and moving on. Liberating yourself.

At times you must have had hard life, depending on the kind of hardship and the degree. But one thing, and thank god , is that success, happiness and peace of mind do not depend on the degree of luck you had growing up. Otherwise things would have been bad, you would be doomed. The amazing fact is that some of the people with most difficult backgrounds have indeed, in the end, become the most successful, productive and the most fulfilled.

But why is it that one would spend his adult life complaining about the past. Why would

Bitter facial expressions
Bitter facial expressions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

you keep complaining about your abusive childhood, bad break, what the society has done to you, while others would forget everything past and move on? Could this be because you have decided to move on, or in other words, to grow up?

Grow up

Grow up? Why would you want to to do that? The answer to this question is simple, it is a forward planner to be free, thrive and flourish today. In other words, it is only when you allow yourself to let go the past – however mildly, hurtful or horrific it was – that you can be free.

Figure out why you have been unsuccessful, unhappy and unfulfilled in the past. You may just have to do the above to succeed. After all is said and done, you still have to make the decision to let go of the past and “grow up”.

The ultimate position  

When all is said and done, as Harry Truman puts it, “the buck stops here”. The choice then is yours – decide whether you are going to take the move – take action and get on with your life – or “pass the buck”.  In the game of poker, if you don’t feel like dealing (the cards), all you have to do is pass the buck. But mind you, if you pass the buck always, or if all the players “passed the buck”, the cards will never get dealt, right? Then the game will never go on.

So used metaphorically here, “the buck stops here”, means that sooner or later, if you want the game of your life to move on, you will have to deal the cards. You will have to stop the blame game – finding others to blame, no matter how blameworthy they are, because after  all it is your life at stake. You are the only one who has the right, and the power to decide what happens to you. It is up to you to decide whether or not to allow bitterness or resentment to cause you to waste one more moment of your precious life because of “what happened to you in the past”.

Now the buck stops here. But you have to do something about your past history, about the pain in your life. The simple answer is to look at it and acknowledge it. Identify the source of your pain. Locate and name your “enemies” (those who have wronged you). Acknowledge the “bad luck” that befell you when you didn’t have the chance to defend yourself. However, after that, take responsibility and move on so that you can have the wonderful, fulfilling life that you are intended to have with the time you have left. And finally, once and for all you will start seeing light at the end of the channel. But in order for this to happen, you must take certain steps:

The first step is to forgive – forgive who and why?

First the word “forgive”means to give up resentment of (according to the dictionary), or “to give up desire to punish; stop being angry with”.

So if you forgive, all you are doing is to give up your resentment, anger, and desire to punish.

Forgive those who have wronged you. But you must have a clear idea of who they are. Think about your life and identify those who you feel were responsible for causing you the psychological problems or other problems you have now. It could be your parents, sibling or other relatives, family friends or even strangers. Surprisingly it could even be your own self, you may have done something in the past that you simply cannot find a way to forgive yourself for.

All you are doing is let go the resentment, anger, and the desire for revenge that, in fact, cannot change the past or help in the future.

You will have done yourself a great favor by forgiving, then other things follow,read more…