Article Written By Ellen Rich
“Build your self-esteem by recalling all the ways you have succeeded, and your brain will be filled with images of you making your achievements happen again and again. Give yourself permission to toot your own horn, and don’t wait for anyone to praise you.”
~ Jack Canfield
Imagine you are on a beautiful paradise beach, lying in a hammock by the ocean, all alone. You hear a soft voice behind you and turn to see that no one is there. Listening more closely, the voice asks, “Since we are all alone, would you honestly say that you like and love yourself?” And you answer either yes, no or maybe.
We are all human and have made mistakes throughout our lives. These mistakes could be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Whichever they have been, they are over. The question is, do they come back to haunt you now, in the present, and influence your self-esteem? As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Let’s take a look at four parts of your “self” that form the person you are today, determine if your self-esteem is coming from your skin and everything that surrounds your organs. Not all bodies are the same, but if conscious, then you are part of the human species.
When you pass a mirror or see your reflection do you look at your body and judge yourself? What about if you are naked? Are you constantly performing makeovers on your appearance? When you look in the mirror, do you see imperfections in your skin and hair and wish you could make them way disappear? Do you play with your hair color and style, change facial and body imperfections with surgery, lose or gain weight?
There are so many ways we can impact our physical body. There are no right or wrong answers here, accept to determine if you are happy and satisfied. If not, you can put a program in place to change what you don’t like. Changing your physical self can always be done, even if the root of some challenges is coming from the past. You can you renew yourself at any time.
The mental self is made up of many processes of your brain and your thoughts. We all have thoughts, even the masters meditating in the caves in India or at an ashram. Part of the human brain uses thoughts as a survival skill. The thought isn’t the problem; it is the reaction to the thought that can cause us pain.
Many people get thoughts and emotions confused. Thoughts cause an emotional reaction. No thought — no reaction. And even more profound is realizing that any thought is just a thought, no truer than the next. This may sound strange, but thoughts are like our skin; they protect us and allow for suffering. If the skin is cut, it may bleed and hurt.
If your mental makeup is causing you challenges, you can change it by getting help, finding support, going back to school, undergoing therapy, exercising and discovering other activities which can help you focus on how your mental processes are operating and why. Once you understand this, then you can begin the change process.
Our emotional self is created by our thoughts and those of others whom we may or may not choose to believe. The issue is not the specific thought. It is only if you get “hooked” by that thought and start to focus on it that an emotional reaction is formed. The more the thought is focused on, the harder it is to pull away from it and seek solutions.
We all have emotions that are typically deemed good (joy, happiness, ecstasy, love) and bad (evil, self-centered, rage, and anger) and so forth. However, if you look deep into this process, it really isn’t the emotion that is important, but the believing it and immediately reacting without considering the context that is key. For example, is someone a freedom fighter or a terrorist? It depends on the person’s perception of the world and his or her context.
Our childhood, parents, schooling and society have caused much emotional pain. We suffer because we believe that these emotions are the only real reactions we can have. It is no one’s fault that you had an uncomfortable experience (sometime) in the past, but that time is over. By realizing that emotions can be changed and by living in the present, you can create a new emotional self.
Some of us were brought up in religious households and others with no religious or spiritual teachings and values at all. Wikipedia states than there about 4,200 different religions in the world today. I believe that each person on earth has his or her own religion. That would take the number up to 7.5 billion per Wikipedia for 2017.
Some of us are very fundamentalist in our thought processes and take teachings at their word. Others are open to taking parts from many spiritual practices or even creating their own.
You can find your spiritual self in your heart. You feel it and can’t use the mental, emotional or physical selves to help you out. If you find yourself unhappy with your spiritual practice or are overwhelmed by it, you can change it by feeling your way into your heart. This is a nonverbal process and only you will know how you feel.
So now what?
Self-esteem, no matter how you rate your own, is the basis to accepting yourself as you are and not how others define you. Even with your mistakes, flaws and differences, only you can determine if you are happy with yourself. If you are not happy develop a plan for change.
There are many ways to change and only you will know which one (s) to pursue. Here is a short list to get you started.
- Start a journal on each “self” and identify how you feel about each one.
- Seek out a therapist or Life Coach to help structure a program.
- Talk to someone with whom you feel comfortable.
- Search the internet for pertinent topics.
- Read some books recommended by people you admire.
- Go on retreat alone or with others.
- Take some time off to consider your life.
- Listen to talks on YouTube (especially Ted Talks).
- Brainstorm changes you could make.
And most importantly, have patience and be gentle and loving with yourself.
With much love
After working in the corporate world for 30+ years, Ellen started a Holistic Life Coaching program. Called act2.expert (www.act2.expert), it is a Holistic Life Coaching Program that allows the client drive the process in a safe and comfortable environment. Ellen has a BA, MBA, many certificates and has attended Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy.