Do you like yourself? Are you anxious? Do you treat yourself fairly? Do you expect too little out of life? If your answer is yes then you may be suffering from a low self esteem.
What exactly then is self esteem? Self esteem is when you feel lovable and capable. Lovable essentially means you feel that you belong and people like you. Capable means you are competent – you have the confidence to go out into the world, take risks and do things.
You have a great self esteem when
- You can’t wait to get up in the morning
- You walk straight, look people in the eye and move with confidence
- You get a difficult job to do and start it enthusiastically
- You are honest with your relationships and say exactly what you feel
- You feel very happy when you work hard.
Think about it …
How you feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life. When your self esteem is high, you perform much better in everything you do.
In fact there is a theory called the poker chip theory of self esteem that shows that a high self esteem leads you to take the risks that lead to greater success. If you are playing the card game poker the people who have more money or chips will play more confidently and take more risks. The person who has less money or chips will play more safely and will not want to take risks. If you look at black South Africans a majority of them have a low self esteem because –
- Apartheid made them think they were inferior;
- Many of them have no father figure in their homes;
- They have a bad education with little or no prospect of finding a job.
This leads them to feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness and ultimately to a lack of self confidence and self esteem. They do not feel lovable or capable.
However there is good news. You can boost your self esteem. There is a story where a Buddhist Temple in Thailand had to be moved to make way for a highway. While the contactors were lifting a 5 metre ceramic 17th century statue of Buddha with a crane it started to rain and a crack appeared in the side of the statue.
The Buddhist monk in charge of the move immediately stopped the operation. Later that night he went out to inspect the damage with a torch. While shining the torch into the crack something glistened and reflected. The following morning he used a chisel to open the crack and found that the entire statue was made of gold and is worth a billion dollars today.
You see within each of us lies a beautiful soul and spirit which is what we are born with. A baby has no low self esteem but is willing to try and risk anything. As time goes on however we are conditioned by negative talk from our parents, caregivers, teachers and principals. We then start our own negative thoughts, images and self talk resulting in a low self esteem.
In the next blog you will learn how you can peel away these feelings of low self esteem to reveal the true, beautiful and authentic you.