Most of us want more self-esteem. We want to feel better about ourselves in some way. Yet most of the ways we to try to build self-esteem is a trap.
There are lots of little things we can do to lift our mood but when it comes to the way we rate ourselves as a human being we must beware. In what way are we rating ourselves and what experiences or activities count as raising our self- esteem?
How we build our self-esteem is a tricky business if it relies on external validation.
If we link the way we feel about ourselves with having more friends, more money, better job, better body etc. then we will have to keep having those things to keep the good feeling going. When things are going well for us we feel good and may not even be aware that we are linking self esteem with our current successful position. However a dip in our success ratings will create a dip in the way we rate ourselves. Hence the 'rollercoaster', lurching from highs to lows at the mercy of circumstance.
By connecting self worth with our circumstances we become trapped by the things that make us feel good about ourselves.
If we have a low opinion of ourselves it is natural to look around us and think that others are feeling better because they have more of something. However what we do not see in others is the way they might be trapped by their position, the endless need to keep their success rating high so that they can continue to have high self-esteem.
I am not suggesting that building a fabulous career or beautiful body does not have its benefits it is just that we become a slave to those things, we get caught in the self- esteem trap.
It is true that exercise, talking to people, helping others, being busy etc can improve our mood and physical well-being but it does not make us a better human being. Jimmy Savile did a lot of running, made some cash and did a lot of charity work!
So what do we do about self-esteem?
Well my tip is to see self-esteem as something that is not increased or reduced by your experiences, past, present or future. To see your worth as a human being as fixed at birth and equal to all others. Keep doing good things for the right reasons but not because they increase your value. We value children as special not for what they do or achieve, in fact, quite the opposite, we value their innocence more than their worldliness. Why have a different way of rating yourself?
Feeling good about yourself might not be an easy thing to do but getting out of the self esteem trap could be a start.