1- When the outside world becomes the compass for your self-esteem
Compliments and outside attention serve as compensation for our self-esteem. Most moments when you feel worthy are influenced from outside, from other people’s words of praise rather than a deep understanding of your own worth. However, when we look outside ourselves for value, we betray ourselves and pay the high price of mediocrity.
We are continuously challenged to choose between our inner strength and the influence of the outside world to create our self-esteem. Self-respect, self-love and belief in our good qualities must compete with feelings of social anxiety and shame, the fear of isolation and the expression of suppressed anger. Our sense of “wanting to belong” is the most powerful trigger and nourishing force behind our tendency to give in to this pressure.
Life brings us mountains of success, but also has lows. During these lows, we face shyness, exclusion, shame, and guilt. How can we maintain our sense of worth in difficult times? Especially when we feel shame and guilt, it seems impossible to give ourselves the chance to start over.
Shame and guilt are self-punishing and often create a downward spiral in which we walk the wrong path to happiness and healthy self-esteem. A somewhat extreme example is the struggle of convicted criminals. Once a person has broken a certain rule, our view of this person changes. He is put aside, the ‘dark’ or bad side, even if it was a one-time misstep. He is now scarred for life by the ‘bad’ choice he made. From this point on, the possibilities to get back to ‘normal’ are limited.
But the same goes for us. When we fail, or see others fail, a wall is erected and this makes it even more difficult to turn back. Not only do we fight to forgive ourselves, but we also fight to remember the goodness buried deep beneath our failures. But regardless of our failure, it is our birthright to be here on Earth, even if we are rejected by parts of society for breaking their norms, values and rules.
2- Tell me who I should be to be worthy
Our self-esteem is lost in childhood through experiences that felt like a rejection of who we really were. It was especially painful when we were compared to others and found that we weren’t good enough. The result: an inner struggle that expresses our feelings of unworthiness. This image is projected onto our personality.
On the road to finding a true sense of worth, there should be no principles or other ideologies. This will only complicate our understanding of this complex theme. What we do need is a deep understanding of humanity and how this image we have of humanity has been distorted. However, it is difficult to achieve such a deep understanding for humanity.
3- Real value is found in simplicity
True value is essentially about allowing ourselves to belong to something greater and not limited by the values that family, culture or religion impose on us. Once we base value on ‘exclusiveness’, it can no longer be realistic. Once we are inferior or superior, there can be no real sense of worth. That is why it is about simplicity and not about ‘being special’. Ironically, our desire to be “special” is what gets in the way of feeling worthy.
It is interesting to know that the ‘I’ in us is very simple. By our social norms, simplicity is a condemned and an avoidable quality. In our endless attempts to ‘become someone’ in order to be noticed, we create our sense of ‘not being enough’. Instead of being ourselves, we learn to act well and morally.
We adopt the values that others have created and do not look to the values that we have learned ourselves. We learn to emphasize our body and appearance, while neglecting our essence. By choosing this approach in life, we seek to exercise power over the people and the world around us. This can take various forms and will distort our view of reality, making us think we are in control.
4 – Find your own pace again
We notice a real sense of self-worth when we are present in the ‘now’. This means that we must allow ourselves to go at our own pace, even though we are used to others setting our pace for us. We mainly move at the pace of others, as a result of which we have lost touch with our own pace. This ‘disposing of ourselves’ takes time and practice. Remembering ourselves that we have limits and natural needs are important pillars in this process.
5 – Deepening our understanding of simplicity
On the path to attaining true self-esteem, we must also learn to be humble. The kind of modesty that accepts our humanity and leaves room for doubts and failures, but also for moments of magnificence. The kind of modesty that sees our dark side as part of confronting the complexities of life. A modesty that accepts the limitations of our body and mind.
And what do we need most of all? Patience.
What about your self-esteem? Share your thoughts with us below!