“I cannot think of a single psychological problem that is not traceable to a poor self-concept. Positive self-esteem is a cardinal requirement of a fulfilling life.”
Dr Nathaniel Branden, How To Raise Your Self-Esteem.
And I cannot believe there is a single person reading this post who can disagree with the above statement and is themselves 100% free of this curse. Because we have spent most of our lives with this issue it is not going to go away with some kind of psychological magic trick. Indeed what am I about to say applies to life.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the education system put self-worth and self-esteem above the “3R’s”? Having high self-esteem is the opposite of being unaccountable, having no boundaries, declaring you are right and everyone else is wrong, and expecting the world to beat a path to your door. Having high self-esteem is contagious; it is all about love, it is- what an incredible phrase- about living consciously.
“To live consciously means to seek to be aware of everything that bears on our actions, purposes, values, and goals, and to behave in accordance with that which we seek and know.”
Dr Nathaniel Branden.
I suspect it is very similar to mindfulness, except more so. This is far too short a post to generate a checklist few will abide by to raising your self-esteem. And I’m loathe always to insult anyone’s intelligence. Another idea put forward by Branden is the counter to self-acceptance, self-disowning, which is in essence having an adversarial response to your own experience. Isn’t this insane? Disowning yourself?
Self-acceptance is realising that the totality of you, your body, your personality and your circumstances now and from birth is the hand you chose or were dealt. It is the metaphorical equivalent of looking in the mirror and saying “I accept myself, I love myself and I realise I am not perfect but a work in progress and am developing myself.”
The world we are currently encountering is creating a hundred new challenges a day. We are all being challenged to change the way we think and to align ourselves with causes that are rooted in fear or rooted in love. Being conscious, being accepting of who you are in the moment is the best possible way of navigating your way through. And for the loved ones around you who are looking for positive role models I would suggest you have an obligation to provide it.
Thank God it is within our power to change.
There is no-one, unless they hold a gun to your head or your principles are for sale, who can change you without your consent. Yet always bear in mind you are driven by your subconscious mind and that subconscious mind may have remained unexamined since birth. And especially if like just about everyone on the planet you experienced some kind of trauma as a child.
If I said what follows next a hundred million times it would never be enough.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS!
Start to live authentically; have the courage to be who you are and have the awareness to realise the effect you are having on others. Closing yourself down (self-disowning) is a wonderful way of living a life of quiet desperation and being totally (wilfully) ignorant of your impact on other people. Just because something is a cliché doesn’t make it untrue. Everybody loves somebody. In loving yourself what you are doing is giving that someone love of the highest value.
So, before you give up on yourself, saying “Well that’s me, take it or leave it.” consider the idea that how you leave this world might be how you enter the next.
And lastly, for those of you who are more than concerned about your health and your appearance, having high self-esteem will affect how you look, how you hold yourself, how you move, how you feel, how you speak and how you progress through the world.
If I have failed to give you at least one reason to pay attention to your self-esteem and self-worth so be it. Anyone can be healed, not everyone can be healed.
Jack Stewart, feeling inspired, June 29, 2020.
We rise by lifting ourselves.