Prideful attitudes depend on some indications of past success or personal association and identification. The unfortunate reality is that pride does not make up for self esteem. In fact, this approach can blind one to personal faults costing valuable time and relationships in the process.
The assumption of pride to compensate for a weak sense of personal value is only a partial solution and in fact makes things worse. To those unaware, high self esteem looks like pride and so the behavioral aspects of high self esteem individuals are imitated to achieve the same degree of perceived self worth. The difference is plain and simple. If one was to attempt to offend a person with a high degree of self esteem, the reaction they would find is dismissal, not an indignant reaction.
A high degree of self esteem has to do with how a person feels about themselves. These feelings are anything but pride. Feeling positive and strong about ones sense of self worth means that a person needs little validation from anywhere outside of themselves. Feedback from those who are objective in their opinion is not the same thing and is a necessary part of personal development. However, the need for constant reassurance or validation from external sources such as those provided by emotional junk food gurus only make things worse, so be aware that looking for a sense of self esteem outside of ones own frame of reference is itself another indication of the persistence of the problem and an approach that will only perpetuate the issue. So what to do?
We are not born with poor self esteem. In fact, we acquire a personal sense of value and hence self esteem from interpersonal experiences with our parents, teachers, peers, colleagues, friends and emotional partners. Certain personality types can be hyper sensitive to changes in relationships and often take any changes to mean they are worth something good when things go well, or that they are worth something less when things do not go well. From this standpoint, we need to be aware that there is first, our awareness of self worth and hence self esteem, and then there are the emotions that we willingly tie to our sense of self esteem based on how we interpret events. In simple words, things happen and then we interpret and attach some feelings towards what happened and then settle on a personal opinion. Imagine as an example, that your self esteem depended on weather patterns. When the weather is great, consequently you would feel great about yourself. When the weather is not however, somehow you are lost and longing. Does this approach to life make sense?
Our subconscious, or un-created mind stores feelings as associations to create boundaries for us based on what we feel we are worth. If we possess high self esteem and great things happen to us, we gladly accept. if we have poor self esteem and good things happen, we can feel uncomfortable, unworthy or perhaps doubtful that it is truly ours to have or keep. When bad things happen to a person with high self esteem, they will view the situation and adjust accordingly. When bad things happen to a person with low self esteem, they seem to accept it or fight back with pride. With this in mind, it is better to have high self esteem than none. Why? Because bad things and good things happen to everyone. It’s better therefore to develop a high degree of self esteem to handle the uncertainty or negative events that occur in life, often at inopportune times. How does one develop a high degree of self esteem?
I will offer some suggestions based on what has worked for me. Bear in mind that I am not a professional psychologist or psychiatrist and offer advice based on my personal experience.
1. Clear your mind. Accept the fact that right here, right now, you have a choice in whether or not to accept your own self worth. Start with nothing in terms of your personal opinion of yourself, neither negative nor positive.
2. Be mindful of the fact that you have a choice in terms of how you choose to react to events that occur to you and keep this in mind as your proceed from this point forward
3. Disassociate yourself from people and environments that bring you down. Life is short.
4. Recognize the good qualities you have and build yourself up with a plan
5. Realize where pride is running your life and your relationships and work on yourself, not your pride
The path of self mastery seems to bring all of these suggestions together. One must take on the mind set of the student, willing to learn from life and its lessons. There are many disciplines that allow a practitioner to achieve self mastery through instruction and practice. Find a discipline that appeals to your natural talents. Everyone has a talent. What is yours?
The idea of SELF-CARE is about the individual components of the SELF (Sense, Experience and Life Force) and the relationship that an individual has to the outside world through CARE (Courage, Appreciation, Respect and Effort). A person needs to first address their SELF thus:
1. Sense: What is on your mind?
2. Experience: What are the emotions tied to what is on your mind?
3. Life Force: What is your level of energy, enthusiasm and overall mood given the idea on your mind and the emotions associated with your experience?
4. Faith: What fears undermine your belief in yourself?
Given your current state of mind and it’s connection to your overall sense of well being, the only way to really address any lack of self esteem is through CARE. The path of self mastery is how you observe CARE.
4. Courage: You need to take a chance on yourself. Find ways to express your willingness to change by taking self control through discipline
5. Appreciation: You need to focus your energy with priority to increase your maturity and self worth
6. Respect: Observe the rules for preserving your well being through boundaries established for yourself and others. Show respect to others as well as yourself
7. Effort: Everything above translates into effort or steps that you organize into a plan of action that you honor through sacrifice, dedication and determination to fulfill – the degree to which you fulfill your efforts determines your self esteem
Self Esteem is a byproduct of how you live. Trying to raise self esteem without the effort to actually improve yourself is the delusion of pride. Find a path where you can excel and commit yourself to a program of improvement over time. Continuous Improvement coincides with Self esteem development. The ability to set and achieve realistic goals resulting from doing your best at each practice is how self esteem is developed. Accomplishment of goals along the way are the peak experiences that reward you for your efforts. Set new peaks as you progress and your self esteem will naturally follow.