Building Self Esteem - The Unshakeable Foundation
By Tania Kotsos
Article continued from: Self Worth: The Definitive Guide to Valuing Yourself
Building self esteem is one of the fundamental criteria for real success. A solid self esteem, founded on personal integrity, is the strongest foundations upon which you can consciously create your life. Success without a healthy self esteem can be likened to a house without the necessary foundations, that can be blown away by the slightest of winds. This step-by-step guide will enable you to build a solid and healthy self esteem that can not be affected by outside factors or the opinion of others.
Let Go of Perfect: The first step when building self esteem is to let go of any need to be perfect and even of the idea of being perfect "just the way you are". Perfection is just another term thrust on us by society that keeps us stuck. The delusion of perfect is largely based on the stereo-typical definition of success, itself focused on outer appearances such as physical looks, wealth, career status and so on. There is nothing like perfect in a relative world where everything is subject to comparison. I challenge you to find one perfect person that exists today or that ever existed. And when I say perfect, I mean really perfect - emotionally, physically and mentally. I can guarantee you that you will not find anyone.
It's not that human beings are imperfect by nature; it's just that there is nothing like perfect in this physical world of the opposites where everything is relative i.e. where there is always someone prettier (or less attractive), or more intelligent (or less so), or wealthier (or poorer). After all, the delusion of perfect in the physical realm is such a moving target. Think about it, the perfect female body in the Rubenesque years, is today's woman struggling desperately to lose weight. Real perfection belongs only to the spiritual realm of your higher self that is above the opposites of the physical world and bears no comparison.
You Can Only Change What You Accept: The second step in building self esteem is acceptance. You can only really change those aspects of yourself that you have accepted, because it is only then that you are not attached to the change or to the outcome. Acceptance is always the best prescription whether you can or cannot change something. Accepting what you can change does not mean that you become complacent. It does not mean that you do not change those things that stand in the way of your success, but rather, that you no longer fight or resist them. Remember that "whatever you resist, persists". In other words, accepting what you can change gives you the freedom to do so. As long as something can be changed, you have the power to do so, but when you have tried everything or find that it is beyond your power to change it, then have the courage to give it up to your Higher Power.
On the other hand, there are certain aspects of yourself or your life that you perhaps cannot change, whether immediately or ever. Only you know what these aspects are. Accept them and be at peace with your acceptance. Acceptance really means to change what you tell yourself about yourself and about your experiences. It is the mental state of seeing things neutrally, knowing that it is not what happens to you that counts but how you perceive it.
The Importance of Personal Integrity: The third step in building self esteem is living with personal integrity. Being out of integrity systemically chips away at your self esteem. When you are in integrity, your thoughts, words and actions are in harmony with each other. You say what you think, mean what you say, and walk your talk, while exhibiting those human qualities that you value most. Personal integrity is what effortlessly keeps your self worth aligned with your self esteem and enables you to live in accordance with your own definition of success and not that which has been handed to us by society.
When you are in integrity, you have nothing to hide or to hide from, you have no reason to lie, no reason to compare yourself to anyone, and no reason to seek the approval of others. No advice is better on the subject of personal integrity than that of William Shakespeare through the words of Polonius to his son Laertes in Hamlet - "This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." This is what it means to be in integrity - to be true to yourself. It is to be authentic; not some copy of anyone that you think you should be like that has been dictated to you by society's misguided definition of success.
Measuring Your Self Esteem: Your self esteem is a function of what you think about yourself, which is in turn a function of your deeply ingrained, subconscious beliefs. When building self esteem, you must honestly evaluate the current state of your thoughts about yourself. To do this, you must identify your beliefs. Forget what others think of you - it is your thoughts about you that count. After all, it is your thoughts that create your reality.
Decoding Your Beliefs: The fourth step in building self esteem is to discover those deeply ingrained beliefs that run your life on auto pilot at the subconscious level and that ultimately determine the quality of your success. The easiest way to do so is to make a list, starting with the words "I am". For example, I am attractive, I am clever, I am successful, I am stupid, I am sexy, I am a failure, I am too sensitive, I am too tall, I am lazy, I am not good enough and so on. Do not try to intellectualize the exercise by thinking about your answers. Rather, simply write down whatever comes to you without too much conscious thought. You will find that your list is a mixture of both positive and negative beliefs. Naturally, your self esteem is likely to be stronger if the positive beliefs outnumber the negative and weaker if the reverse holds true. Your aim is to use the positive beliefs to your advantage and to transform and rise above the negative ones.
Your Positive Beliefs are the Source of Your Strengths: The fifth step in building self esteem is to discover and focus on your strengths. You will find that most of your natural strengths are associated with your positive subconscious beliefs. Make a separate list of all your positive beliefs from the "I am" list you created and make a note of the associated strength(s) next to each belief. For instance, "I am confident" may be associated with being a strong public speaker or with the ability to speak your mind truthfully and without the need of pleasing, or the fear of offending, anyone. Make an effort to focus on and bring out those natural strengths within you, not so that can be better than anybody else, but because they are your gift. You will find that as you focus on your own innate strengths, rather than comparing yourself to others, that your thoughts, words and actions will be accompanied by a more solid self esteem.
Your Negative Beliefs Sabotage You: Since it is your negative beliefs that largely create your unwanted circumstances, they are the ones that need to be transformed. This is the next step in building self esteem. Go back to your original list of "I am" beliefs and this time highlight the negative ones. Once again, it is easiest to make a separate list of just your negative or limiting beliefs. Doing so will provide you with a comprehensive list of what is standing in the way of your success. Recognise that those beliefs are not real in an absolute sense. They are nothing more than beliefs that you once did not have, and which have now become self-sabotaging habits. They are nothing more than the product of your experiences that you have perceived as being negative, while unwittingly letting those perceptions determine what you think of yourself. No belief has any power over you, other than that which you have given it.
Transforming Your Limiting Beliefs: Your aim is to mentally transform and rise above your negative or limiting beliefs when building self esteem. There are several techniques that you can use with this end in mind. These include the mental repetition of positive affirmations, acting "as if" your specific negative underlying belief is its positive equivalent, creative visualization, and mental time travel. Above all, knowing the truth about yourself is the route of least resistance when transcending your negative beliefs. No negative belief, no matter how deeply ingrained, stands any chance in the face of the knowledge that you are part of the All Powerful Universal Mind. Your true nature is your higher consciousness that is above both your positive and negative beliefs and that defines itself by neither.
In a nutshell, building self esteem is fundamental to consciously creating the success you want to experience in your life. Your self esteem is determined by what you think about yourself, which itself is a product of your positive and negative subconscious beliefs. Let go of the delusional goal of being perfect. Accept what you can change and then endeavour to do so. Accept what you cannot change and be at peace with that. Focus on your positive beliefs and bring out your natural strengths, while you learn to transform and rise above your limiting beliefs. Only when you know yourself, can you really free yourself to be you and to live with the personal integrity that is the backbone of true success!
Article continued here: Techniques for Overcoming Limiting Beliefs - Part 1/2