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Self esteem is defined as our overall measure of self-worth and the notion we have of our inherent value.
Perhaps because our society is driven by competition, attainment and acquisition, most of us are raised to believe, either consciously or unconsciously that our self esteem is conditional and is determined by external factors. We tell ourselves our self esteem wouldn’t a problem if we were just a little bit taller, better looking, more skilled or talented at certain things, if we had more friends or more money, or got better grades in school or college or if he had a loving partner or the perfect gym bod.
How much easier would life be if we truly realised that no matter what life throws our way, and no matter what other people think or how they treat us, nothing can diminish our innate worth and value.
Posted on March 18, 2014, in awareness, beliefs, consciousness, emotion, emotional healing, essential self, happiness, healing, letting go, life, mind, personal development, philosophy, psychology, thought and tagged animals, beliefs, confidence, love, mind, self esteem, self worth, thought. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Hariod BrawnYou're far too experienced a writer, and a sagacious one at that, to be making such errors Rory.
Hariod BrawnBeautifully written, comprehensive, practical and perspicacious throughout Rory.
The frightening thing about self esteem is the staggering lengths God goes to completely eradicate it from the depths of our souls, in order to produce depth in our souls. In Moses we see a rich, short-tempered prep school kid who got embroiled in a racial murder scandal.
Then there's Joseph, a spoiled, insensitive trust-fund baby, coddled by his Daddy until his brothers have finally had enough of his insufferable bragging and throw him in a hole while they discuss how to do away with him. Ronnie Martin is a writer, speaker, and co-author with Ted Kluck of Finding God in the Dark (Bethany House, 2013). Next rate yourself from 0-100 on a scale from total lack of self esteem, to total fullness of self esteem. For the next month, I will be spending every Friday blogging about self image and self worth.
I will leave you today with a definition of what self esteem is, and the foundations of building self esteem. I will leave you with one last piece of food for thought… To get you thinking about your needs and how to show self compassion to those needs.
Kids are born with everything they need to grow into confident, self-assured, well-rounded adults….
We should not be teaching kids to get validation for their self-worth from a gold star sticker. Heather Paris inspires people all over the world to create happier lives through talks, workshops, blog posts, and her book, Live Inspired Now; A Field Guide For Happiness. So the answer is to boost your self-esteem, right? We’ve seen an explosion of this kind of thinking lately, that self-esteem is the answer to everything. This emphasis on high self-esteem at all costs has also led to a worrying trend toward increasing narcissism. This focus on improving self-esteem got to the point where the State of California started a task force and gave it $250,000 a year to raise children’s self-esteem.
They expected this to boost grades and reduce bullying, crime, teen pregnancy and drug abuse. Reports on the efficacy of California’s self-esteem initiative, for instance, suggest that it was a total failure. In one influential review of the self-esteem literature, it was concluded that high self-esteem actually did not improve academic achievement or job performance or leadership skills or prevent children from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, and engaging in early sex. Research shows increasing self-compassion has all the benefits of self-esteem — but without the downsides.
The bottom line is that according to the science, self-compassion appears to offer the same advantages as high self-esteem, with no discernible downsides.
Participants’ self-compassion levels, but not their self-esteem levels, predicted how much anxiety they felt.
Another study required people to imagine being in potentially embarrassing situations: being on a sports team and blowing a big game, for instance, or performing in a play and forgetting one’s lines. In fact, a striking finding of the study was that people with high self-esteem were much more narcissistic than those with low self-esteem. Research also shows self-compassion even makes you less likely to procrastinate. It also boosts happiness and reduces stress.
The results of our study indicated that self-compassionate people did in fact have happier and more satisfying romantic relationships than those who lacked self-compassion. Next time that voice in your head starts saying critical things, reframe the thoughts into something positive and forgiving.
The best way to counteract self-criticism, therefore, is to understand it, have compassion for it, and then replace it with a kinder response… Reframe the observations made by your inner critic in a kind, friendly, positive way. Talking to yourself out loud can make you smarter, improve your memory, help you focus and even increase athletic performance. Practitioners first instruct patients to generate an image of a safe place to help counter any fears that may arise. When we focus on self-esteem, we often build ourselves up by comparing ourselves to others.
By remembering that everybody screws up you not only engage your compassion muscles but you also draw yourself closer to others.

It’s not something that animals or plants have to bother about because they’ve already got it sussed! Our self esteem affects how we feel about ourselves and drives our behaviour and outlook on life at a fundamental level. In other words, we believe that in order to legitimately feel good about ourselves (or even just feel OK about ourselves), we have to be a certain way. If our bodies, minds and life circumstances don’t measure up to this conceptual idea we have of adequacy, then we feel we feel inadequate and lacking. What if there was nothing we had to do, become or prove in order to know that we are worthy, valuable and innately good? The light that animates us, pure awareness, is the most precious thing in the world and it can be neither added to nor subtracted from in any way. Our sense of self esteem and self worth ought to be fixed and immutable, in the same way as an animal’s is. If the Lord loves a humble and contrite heart, it means that he equally abhors a prideful and defiant one. Fleeing the scene into exile and obscurity, he gets a blue-collar gig tending sheep for 40 years. It's not that we all turn into Debbie Downers and drench ourselves in self-loathing and self-pity.
It also amazes me how many of us struggle with being our own worst internal critic, sabotaging ourselves by believing messages that simply aren’t true of ourselves, and judging ourselves harshly and over-critically, rather than showing ourselves compassion. Doing so only leads to greater depression, self hatred, addictions, and further self sabotage and pain.
Over the next few weeks I hope to equip you with some solid tools to get your sense of self worth out of the gutter, and moving in a more positive direction!
Even if it’s forced, it triggers neurons in your brain that help the process of retraining our brains to live a healthier lifestyle, and move up the ladder of self esteem.
They are good and worthy just because they exist, yet we teach them that their only worth is when the parents or teachers are pleased with them. Yes, we want to teach kids generosity and compassion, but not at the expense of their own feelings or happiness.
For more information about transforming your relationship, family, or your life, contact Heather today!
Twenge and colleagues examined the scores of more than fifteen thousand college students who took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1987 and 2006. If anything, high self-esteem appears to be the consequence rather than the cause of healthy behaviors. In other words, self-compassionate students reported feeling less self-conscious and nervous than those who lacked self-compassion, presumably because they felt okay admitting and talking about their weak points.
How would participants feel if something like this happened to them? Self-compassionate participants were less likely to feel humiliated or incompetent, or to take it too personally.
We also found that self-compassion was less likely than self-esteem to be contingent on particular outcomes like social approval, competing successfully, or feeling attractive. This is largely because self-compassionate participants were described by their partners as being more accepting and nonjudgmental than those who lacked self-compassion… High self-esteem, it should be noted, did not appear to do a whole hell of a lot for couples.
They are then instructed to create an ideal image of a caring and compassionate figure… The training resulted in significant reductions in depression, self-attacking, feelings of inferiority, and shame. Every time that critical voice starts yammering, instead imagine Grandma giving supportive advice. In fact they have a great deal to teach us about what is, for many people, something of a thorny issue. This is simply because we’ve tied our sense of self esteem and self worth to external conditions, many of which we have no control over. What if nothing that has ever happened to us, or ever will happen to us, can in any way diminish our innate worth? Animals are perfect exactly the way they are, the way they’ve been programmed to be, and they have no issue with that. Our worth and value is much like the worth and value of that gold coin: no matter what we might do, what we might gain or lose, nothing affects our value in any way. We all think of ourselves as a little more pretty, a little more talented, a little more worthy, and a little more deserving of just about everything in this life. One of the prevailing themes of the Bible is how God makes nothing out of men by flipping the object of their esteem from themselves back to him.
God eventually steps back into the picture and assigns him the CEO position of the world's largest relocation project. When we grow up in a less than thriving environment, it is as if our brains are hard wired to be drawn to repeat those same patterns throughout life. It involves accepting yourself, having compassion for yourself, looking at yourself as neither less than or greater than others, with proper humility and awareness that all of humanity involves weakness and imperfections, with grace for both ourselves and others mistakes. It IS possible to retrain our brains, it’s just like physical exercise, it takes work to examine what we are thinking, and consciously taking an effort to think more positively of ourselves. They love to see themselves in mirrors, they make silly faces at themselves, they smile, laugh, and dance without a care in the world. During the twenty-year period, scores went through the roof, with 65 percent of modern-day students scoring higher in narcissism than previous generations.

If you’re self-compassionate, you’ll tend to have higher self-esteem than if you’re endlessly self-critical. Students with high self-esteem, by contrast, were no less anxious than those with low self-esteem, having been thrown off balance by the challenge of discussing their failings. Instead, they said they would take things in their stride, thinking thoughts like “Everybody goofs up now and then” and “In the long run, this doesn’t really matter.” Having high self-esteem, however, made little difference. When our sense of self-worth stems from being a human being intrinsically worthy of respect—rather than being contingent on obtaining certain ideals—our sense of self-worth is much less easily shaken. Self-esteem was not associated with happier, healthier relationships, and people with high self-esteem weren’t described by their partners as being any more accepting, caring, or supportive in their relationships than those who lacked self-esteem.
Positive self-talk is one of the methods that showed the best results in helping them get through their incredibly difficult training.
Even if we come out ahead, it still distances us from other people and that’s no path to happiness. I kind of wish I’d learned the truth about self esteem and self worth when I was growing up.
Low self esteem can adversely affect every area of our lives, from relationships and social situations to education and career. Imagine how absurd it would be if a puppy developed low self esteem because it didn’t think it was big enough yet, or it felt it was the wrong colour, or its tail was the wrong shape.
A homeless man on the street ought to have the same measure of self worth as the president of a country.
It releases us from the immense pressure and burden of trying to be good enough, trying to prove that we matter and are valuable and worthy of love and acceptance. Far from having naturally broken hearts, our hearts are naturally bloated with the calories of self-consumption and filled with obscene levels of self-obsession.
Dude ends up back in jail until a VP gig for the nation of Egypt opens up, and through some heartbreaking circumstances, he lands the job. We're not told of the sleepless nights spent in isolation, gripped by emotional despondency while grasping hopelessly in the dark, trying to fathom why God was doing this and whether he was even there. Abused, we either become abusive or look for abusive relationships, subconsciously, as an example. Visualize yourself in the ideal situation, that your needs are met, that you are happy and fulfilled… Apparently, according to research, simple exercises like this DO help. And like high self-esteem—self-compassion is associated with significantly less anxiety and depression, as well as more happiness, optimism, and positive emotions. Those with both high and low self-esteem were equally likely to have thoughts like “I’m such a loser” or “I wish I could die.” Once again, high self-esteem tends to come up empty-handed when the chips are down. It’s our birthright and the only thing that can take it away from us are the unquestioned thoughts in our own minds. Or if a cow felt inferior because it didn’t feel its markings matched up to the other cows in the field.
We don’t have to do anything to be worthy of love and acceptance (including, and perhaps most importantly, our own). In hindsight, we tend to view these figures as emboldened, courageous, pillars of the faith, but it's foolishness to think that their responses were any less weak and human than ours would be.
It means that the heart we had was condemned and the only way for God to make it fit for use was to demolish it and rebuild it from the ground up. While this is not always the case, as there are exceptions, generally if we grew up with a lack of nurture, sense of safety, role reversal relationships, abuse, excessive alcohol use, we grow up in an environment that lacks the proper breeding ground for our brains to function with a positive self image.
Let’s start to raise the standard of confidence, worth, respect, altruism, and self-esteem in our society!
However, self-compassion offers clear advantages over self-esteem when things go wrong, or when our egos are threatened. Because what I’m going to tell you about self esteem is profoundly simple, yet once grasped can be nothing less than life-changing. The capacity human beings have to think, analyse and differentiate is a great blessing, unique to our species, but it can sometimes be a great curse as well. Because regardless of whatever we might strive to attain and acquire in life, we’re ultimately going to lose it all. See my previous articles on brain re-training to understand how our brains work and the information they take in, and how they are able to re-wire previous negative circuitry of the brain to involve higher brain functioning to overcome the negative patterns of thinking that decrease our sense of self worth.
And no one can take it away from us, regardless of what they might think about us or say or do.
While this is a fascinating subject to me, and I will likely blog more on this topic in coming months, I do not want to get too far of track by getting too technical in this blog! It’s worth is there by virtue of its existence, its being, its shining consciousness. If we are suffering, we can take steps to alleviate that suffering without telling ourself that our circumstances and experiences diminish us in some way.
We remember that they shut us into the cells of our own self-belief, closing us off from the liberation of godly self-denial.

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