Esteem. The next level on Maslow’s Pyramid, but what does esteem for self mean and how do we get self-esteem? Loaded question, for sure.
Self-esteem means we value self, see our worth, respect ourselves, yet so many are lacking at this level of need. Why? We have all been children and many of us are parents and the reality is most of us are told when we screw up, but often do not hear the positives. I am not blaming parents, I have a mom and I am a mom. We get more of the same as we grow into adulthood, most of it in the name of helping us improve ourselves, be all that we can be, motivate us to become successful. Sadly, a lot of it isn’t helpful, quite the contrary. Be that as it may, others are not responsible for our self-esteem. Thus, the ‘self’ part.
How do we develop better self-esteem, improve what we already believe? We need to begin with the self-talk going on inside our heads 24/7/365. What we believe about ourselves is largely a product of what we have heard others say, but again, the responsibility to change our self-talk is ours and ours alone. ‘Can’t’s’ need to become ‘can’s’. Criticism of self is not based on facts most of the time and even if there is a modicum of truth to a critical thought we are not permanently welded to the thought. Thoughts are thoughts, no more, no less. Gather the good thoughts into a basket to save, and throw the rest out. Critical, negative self-talk is self-limiting. Is changing our thoughts easy? No, but definitely possible and very doable. Recognize the critical, negative thoughts for what they are, just thoughts. The only power thoughts have over us the power we give them. Quit feeding critical negative thoughts, tend to the positive thoughts and soon your self-esteem garden will thrive.
Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I love this statement. We all were born with creative abilities and talents, developed and mastered skills, but they aren’t the same talents, abilities, and skills. We spend far too much time and energy wishing we had the same abilities as another person; could sing, dance, paint, or whatever like…., fill in the blank, instead of recognizing and appreciating our own. Consequently, our self-esteem suffers because of comparison with others. Stop it! Abilities, talents, skills are simply things we do well, they don’t define who we are as a person, the core being. Self-esteem needs to originate with the belief, recognition, and acceptance that we are extensions of Divine Love, and any talents, skills, and abilities beyond that are the icing on the cake.
We can change our story. Our life story isn’t over til it’s over, until we draw the last breath and transition from this world. Don’t like your story? Change it. Rewrite it. There may be criticism from others along the way, but there is also the possibility for praise from others for the strength we show in changing our story. In the end, neither criticism nor praise matters. It is who you are, your core being. We are all extensions of Divine Love…..