By Arline Rowden
I believe that low self-esteem and emotional sensitivity are indicators that a person has had a great many experiences during many lifetimes on planet earth. We often think of this as being an Old Soul. Even though these issues can be difficult to cope with, I feel they show a level of development that many humans have yet to attain. There can be a positive side to these issues. In my opinion, I believe they demonstrate a readiness to focus on one’s spiritual path in a conscious way.
Emotional sensitivity is the reason that we feel everything so deeply. As you look around at other people, outside of few close friends who are similar to you, how many of them feel as deeply as you do? I feel that emotional sensitivity has been developed over long periods of time and a great many experiences. It’s the wisdom that we have gained. I invite you to see it as something you have earned and can learn to manage.
At this stage of evolution, it seems that personal growth and spiritual development become a priority. It’s often expressed as a desire to be the best person one can be and to help make the world a better place. I believe that the desire for betterment is inspired by the Divine Soul. There are two types of betterment. One is focused on materiality and the other on spirituality. When material things are more important than anything else it’s difficult to focus on our spiritual evolution. Of course, we need a certain level of material possessions while here on the planet.
I feel that the Divine Soul is very important in the healing of the attitude each person has about themselves. The personality-ego won’t allow a realistic balanced opinion. It will be either inflated or deflated. It is always comparing itself to others and focusing on competing with others. It seems to be very connected to the root chakra’s survival issues and the solar plexus chakra’s power struggles.
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.”
In the Ageless Wisdom Tradition, Acceptance, Respect and Appreciation are considered Divine Qualities. These qualities are essential for positive self-esteem and healthy relationships. When I talk to students/clients about self-esteem, most share that their self-esteem is low and they are not sure 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 & self-appreciation. Good self-esteem is the foundation that is needed in our healing journey. It’s helpful to feel good about one’s self so you feel that you deserve to heal and become whole. It can be part of the spiritual path, too.
Often people feel they don’t deserve positive self-esteem, based on some past experiences. They allow guilt to put them 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 shows us where the boundaries are and where we need to make changes. Guilt is a teacher when it guides us, but a negative force when it locks us into a behavior.
Shame is another issue that can affect self-esteem. We often think about guilt being about having done something naughty but that shame feels like there is something wrong with one’s self. Shame could be caused by abuse of any kind, or even abandonment.
After making a commitment, the first step in improving 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.
There have been experiences where we feel others have hurt us, too. There are many feelings trapped inside us around these experiences. We can use a similar process to resolve these. If you are new to this you may want to have someone lead and support 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 believe that meditation can be very helpful in this process since it helps us to gain another perspective, especially when we connect with our Higher Self/Divine Soul and other higher helpers, too. So I encourage you to ponder these issues in meditation.