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What is Self-Esteem ?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by Archived_Member16, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    What is Self-Esteem?

    We often use the expression "good self-esteem, "poor" self-esteem or "no" self-esteem. How does one "esteem" the self and what is the self anyway?
    Esteem involves loving respect and dignified caring. What of the self? We come into the world with it; it follows us through life like a shadow. If we lose it, we are lost. It is profoundly affected by what happens to us along life's path.

    We find ways to protect the self from hurt: sometimes we put our armor on to stop it from being injured. It becomes our friend or our enemy--we like it or loathe it. We live with the self in relative harmony or we battle it mightily through life. We punish our bodies when we associate it with our hated self. We esteem this central part of us or we dis-esteem it and cause ourselves misery.


    Here are some basic elements of self-esteem:
    • TRUST starts early in life and is based on how we are received into the world. We learn to trust ourselves and begin to have a realistic trust of others. We begin to develop confidence in the self's ability to choose others who are safe--who will not injure or exploit.
    • SELF-NURTURE is born of trust--we learn how to be caretakers of ourselves. Self-nurturing is an essential ingredient of self-esteem.
    • AUTONOMY comes from mastery. We work through necessary dependencies, to a growing independence. We find interdependence when we can separate ourselves from others around us and yet retain vital connections to others.
    • IDENTITY grows. We begin to know who we are and who we are becoming. In each stage of life, self-esteem undergoes change and growth. We fool more solid as our identity grows.
    • INTIMACY develops from identity and the need for connection. It is the ability to relate closely and to know the limits of closeness. We yearn to lose ourselves in love and yet we need to retain our own separate essence.
    Healthy self-esteem involves all of the basic elements. If we lose these characteristics or never develop them, there is a significant absence of self-esteem. "Low" self-esteem affects our body, mind and spirit. None of us spring full blown into the world with characteristics fully developed. Their creation takes work. So what can we do...


    Steps toward a higher level of self-esteem begin by taking action.
    • Determine your personal attributes--positive things about your physical, mental and emotional self such as the way you look (body image, color of hair and eyes); your mind and emotions; skills you have and those you are developing; your potential; your values.
    • Practice becoming comfortable with yourself. Don't try to measure up using someone else's standards. Genuine self-esteem comes from within.
    • Focus on your accomplishments. Congratulate yourself for achievements, however big or small. Remind yourself daily of the things you do well and of the courage you have shown in the past or present.
    • Choose to risk in order to succeed. Establish realistic goals that are your won and are high enough to satisfy you. Learn from failure. If you have setbacks, become a problem solver. Examine strategies and objectives which may have to be revised in order to succeed. Refuse to deal with self-defeating patterns.
    • Learn to be realistic and accept the fact that you aren't perfect at everything and you don't have to be. Stop condemning your faults--change what you can and accept yourself by also acknowledging your virtues.
    • Learn to laugh at past disappointments when you can. Use them as opportunity for insight and growth. Be compassionate with yourself.
    • Visualize success. Mentally rehearse winning in everything you do before you do it.
    • Nurture yourself by taking care of your health. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. Learn to play.
    • Develop a support system of people you trust who will listen when you need to talk.
    • Let go of resentment, guilt and revenge. Forgive yourself and others. Recognize that you are unique and have a place of importance in this world.
    • Meditate and call up your inner child. Recognize what hurts in your past and try to imagine giving your inner child what he/she needs to heal. If you feel overwhelmed, seek help from a professional.
    Sometimes we are out of touch with ourselves. We can be dismayed to find that self-esteem can cause us major stress. When it does, it is a good idea to seek professional help.

    As we meet this life challenge, we experience health and vitality. Take it on and struggle to grow.

    source: What is Self-Esteem?



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