Self esteem is often an issue raised in counselling. Self-esteem is the innate sense of self worth, the “experience” we realise in respect to our appropriateness to life, our confidence to meet challenges, cope and our ability to think; our sense of worthiness and our right to happiness and to deserve. Self esteem does not come from indulgence or parents who refuse to discipline, in fact the opposite. Indulgence manifests as “righteous indignation” in forms of tantrums, expectations, defiance and demands. Esteem is about pure safe confidence grown from nurtured learning, experiences (not all positive – but taught, in matters like: not everyone is the best speaker in the class or the fastest runner). Esteem is about being comfortable, confident and even happy with yourself.
To trust one’s mind and thinking aligns to the power of conviction in respect to making choices and living well. Our level of self esteem has profound consequences across all aspects of our lives. The healthier our self esteem, the healthier our foundation.
It would seem esteem is largely about self-acceptance. This may mean making peace with our past and the perceived or real failings of our care givers, providers or significant others. Self responsibility is equally important. In order to live empowered we need to accept ownership of our life, goals and purpose without being a “victim”. The next “keys” are within consciousness, intentionality and authenticity. When we make conscious (aware choices) decisions, cognisant of consequences, we are being “responsible for”. This leads us to being intentional about behaviour, thought and action. For example, someone asks you to travel to another city (9 flight hours away) for a weekend. This takes time, money and effort. When we are conscious about such requests, we plan feasibility (can I take the time, do I have the money) and practicality (will this work across family, work etc) whilst also being aware of how we “feel about it”. This is authenticity. Yes – its true – we do not always do what we want , but when we make choices where there are options (and there are options) we need to make an authentic choice. Authentic meaning real, open, honest, clean of mind games and pretext (without motive or suspected “gain”). Self esteem is about purposefulness and personal integrity and requires a degree of discipline. Without this, life can get fairly chaotic and may result in dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.
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