By Arline Rowden
What is self-esteem? A dictionary defines it as a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities. From http://www.positivityblog.com/self-esteem-quotes: “You’ll have more inner stability and less self-sabotage when your opinion of yourself goes up. Then you’ll stop trying to get so much validation and attention from other people. You become less needy and find an inner stability even when your world might be negative or uncertain at times. The increasing self-esteem and self-love also makes you feel more deserving of good things in life and so you’ll self-sabotage less and go after what you want deep down with more motivation and focus than ever before.”
Isn’t it amazing what we can find on the internet? So much information. But I believe that improving one’s self-esteem is an inside job. I don’t believe anyone can do it for us and we need more than information. It is the four letter word “WORK” that we need and like to avoid when it comes to personal development. The biggest issue is where to start.
At a recent dreams and myths class taught by Michael Strelcheck, he shared about the three Divine Qualities – Acceptance, Respect and Appreciation. These qualities are essential for positive self-esteem and healthy relationships. When I talk to others about self-esteem, most share that their self-esteem is low and they are not sure about how to improve it. I feel it’s an inside job.
An inner journey towards positive self-esteem starts with a commitment to the goal of improving one’s self-esteem. Then the steps are self-acceptance, self-respect and self-appreciation. Good self-esteem is the foundation that is needed in our healing journey. And it can be part of the path, too.
We often feel we don’t deserve positive self-esteem based on some of our past actions. We allow guilt to put us in a prison of low self-esteem. There is a healthy place for guilt as a feeling that allows us to examine our behavior and tells us where the boundaries are and where we need to make change. Guilt is a teacher when it guides us, but a negative force when it locks us into a behavior.
After making a commitment, the first step in improving our self-esteem is to discover why we haven’t been able to accept ourselves. Then we have the information to approach healing. We need to discover how we feel about each experience where there is guilt and accept how we feel. Then we can look for the lessons learned in the experience. We can begin to release the feelings and save the wisdom from the experience. At times, we need to say “I’m sorry” in order to let it go.
We also have experiences where we feel others have hurt us. There are many feelings trapped inside us around these experiences, too. We can use a similar process to resolve these. If you are new to this you may want to have someone lead you through this process. Choose someone who is not emotionally involved with the experience and can hold a neutral place for you to explore it.
I invite you to make a commitment to yourself to start on the path of improving your self-esteem and to heal deeply. You will most likely find that the steps of self-respect and self-appreciation are easier once you work through the self-acceptance piece. Eventually this can lead you to a place where you can experience peace of heart and mind with greater frequency. Wishing you many blessings on this journey to positive self-esteem.