Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Understanding Self Esteem?

Ok so if you’ve been following my blog postings, you will have heard me talk about Carolyn Myss and how her 4cd’s looking at Self Esteem, kick-started an internal journey of transformation and empowerment. I have shared the CDs with friends who have found them extremely useful, and now I would like to share them with you, by attempting to summarise the main points Carolyn makes. Please note; I have listened to these CDs many times and therefore hope I am able to successfully relay Carolyn’s message, however others who listen to them may get a different perspective than I have.

Carolyn sees self esteem as the fundamental power of life, as our spirit engaged in action. How we feel about ourselves affects every aspect of our life such as; health, finances, and relationships (with others as well as ourselves). When we don’t respect or regard ourselves enough, and constantly look to others for approval it could be said we are suffering from low self esteem.

We co create our own reality.
Prior to the present day, self esteem was often defined by the groups we belonged to; i.e tribes, communities, and families. Collective Self esteem was about living up to the expectations of these groups; we didn’t need to think so much for ourselves, we followed the decisions the group made. Whereas now, in a society less influenced by the collective, we are finding we need to manage our own thoughts and make our own decisions. We are now much more involved in co creating our own reality. Every time we let someone else speak up for us we abdicate our right to co create our reality. Having self esteem allows us to take charge of the co creation process.

What is healthy self esteem?
Is it about what we look like? Well yes that can be a part of it, and if we accept we can co create our reality, we can actually make a changes to our appearance if we want to. However if we had high self esteem we wouldn’t worry what we looked like, we would be able to wear whatever we wanted to, and we wouldn’t worry about what other people thought of us, because the only person’s opinion that would matter is our own.

Carolyn sees self esteem as the spiritual gateway to empowerment. She suggests self esteem is about listening to your intuition (listening to your self), and respecting and regarding what your intuition tells you. It’s about accepting the voice within. Listening to the self is not a gift. It’s a skill that needs practice. You just can’t read a book on self esteem and develop it; it requires action. Self esteem is a verb not a noun.

Self esteem is also about having the ability to lead an invisible life, and not need applause for our actions, not need recognition for our kindness. We get the respect etc from ourselves and therefore don’t need it to be recognised by others.

To develop healthy self esteem we need to know and understand every aspect of our lives; everything we say, everything we do, the way we treat people, the way we engage with our own life, whether or not we can fulfil our own potential, whether or not we know our own potential. Everything begins with whether or not we can make a commitment not to base our lives dependant on the approval of other people, and respect and regard our own voice/opinion and life.

Why we don’t want to develop self esteem.
We protect and cover ourselves by screening our intuition. We may not want to hear some of the things our intuitive voice is telling us; we only want to hear good stuff. Many people get introduced to their ‘self’ through their pain; i.e. ‘See what my family have done to me’ etc. We can create a whole culture around knowing ourselves through our wounds and our pain, we can become stuck in the role of victim, and therefore suppress the self, and are fearful of digging anymore into the ‘self’. In this situation we often don’t want to take that one step further.

Risks of developing self esteem.
Not everyone is going to celebrate your empowerment, as it will inevitably affect your relationships with other people. An example could be if you are involved in a partnership with a power imbalance, such as; when your partner has been reliant on you being more subservient/vulnerable etc. Suddenly self empowerment, self regard, and self healing presents a threat/slap in the face to these partners. Similarly in relationships with friends, as your sense of self and empowerment kicks in, you may not play the role of pleaser in that relationship anymore. You will be changing your relationship with people; you won’t be asking for their permission/approval any more. This type of situation is very likely to create conflict and/or the need to make big (possibly life changing) decisions. You are basically telling people with whom you have relationships with, that you are changing the relationship dynamic, and this is going to be a challenge for them as well as yourself.

The birth of the self.
Carolyn believes the birth of the self is inevitable. At some point we will all reach the moment when a light bulb comes on, and says either you change the rules, or you are going under. We need to understand self esteem within the context of our spiritual paths. How does self esteem relate to spirituality? Self esteem is your spirit emerging. As our spirit emerges, our self provides us with answers and direction about what we need to do. Consciousness means becoming conscious of how much power we have, and how we choose to use that power. Becoming empowered enough to listen and act on the messages/directions from our inner self, is a spiritual experience and not an ego trip.

Developing self esteem is about developing the self in such an empowered way, that we can listen to these instructions which direct is towards maximising our highest potential, on behalf of the whole of life. Being esteemed is about holding ourselves accountable for our thoughts and actions. We need to ask; why am I doing what I am doing? What is my hidden agenda? It’s not just about finding out the rules it’s about living the rules. How you operate with in ourself, everything, every part of our lives, everything that goes on in the world is about taking responsibility for ourselves. Developing the self involves taking responsibility for the power of your soul.

Carolyn believes, and I agree with her, that the self is going to come out; you can only repress it for so long. One day you will meet yourself. You can either meet it and let it shine, or meet it through your shadow.

Self esteem and choice.
When someone asks you a question do you think about what they may want to hear and answer accordingly, or do you respect yourself enough to answer truthfully and really reflect what you want to say? How you operate the power you now know you have, the manner with which you conduct yourself, is your choice. Every choice we make is related to our self esteem.

Your entire life revolves around choice. People often choose to shop in order to give the impression that they are a certain type of person. For example the type of car we have can say something about us. However with high self esteem it doesn’t matter what you drive; you can drive a tin box with wheels. You don’t have to wear who you are all over the place. If you make all the choices you have wanted to take, including how you choose to respond to how people talk to you, then you are truly esteemed. Do you find you respond to someone in a certain way because they make you feel insecure or intimidated? With high self esteem you become silently empowered, no one can intimidate you. You choose to know who you are, and you have your priorities in life figured out, and respect and trust your‘self’. If you need to ask permission from others to become empowered, you are never going to get there.

Self esteem and love.
Love is another important aspect of self esteem. Without a strong sense of self you may develop insecure love, manipulative love, hysterical love or self agenda love. You really need to be able to love yourself more than you love someone else. However by accepting this you also need to be strong enough to give your partner the same privilege; allow them to love themselves more than they love you. If you can’t do this you may always be thinking of how much your partner loves you, and be focused on what if they leave you if they develop themselves.

The paradox of progress.
You may think by developing by self esteem you will become incredibly empowered, whereas in fact the stronger sense of self you have the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable to higher standards. Developing self esteem is not easy. You need to be strong enough to live by these new rules coming from your intuition. You choose how to direct your energy, and your choices actually become more limited, however the consequences of your choices become more powerful. You need to be able to pause and try and relate every choice you make to self esteem.
As you build a sense of interior worth, you realise that negativity generates negativity, and you don’t always have to let someone know if they have hurt or upset you. You can you take care of yourself in the spiritual, physical, and emotional world. Developing self esteem is a great gift to your’self’ and to others.

It took longer than I expected to summarise CD1. It was not an easy task.
CD2 starts to look at how to develop self esteem.
It may take me a while before I do but expect a summary in the not too distant future.

1 comment:

Jayesh Badani said...

Good post. Simple living and high thinking, the Gandhi way. Pampering self now and then is ok though as long as we know from where to turn back.