Low self esteem is a major barrier that will prevent you from discovering your unique life mission or living it. So, it's crucial to work on building self esteem. This is a good idea even if you have an accurate evaluation of yourself as we'll see later in this article.
What is Low Self Esteem?
In order to understand it we first need to have a definition of self esteem. If you search the Internet you will find many definitions for self esteem. The one I like best out of all the ones I saw was coined by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersky, renowned psychiatrist and author of more than fifty books, many of them on this very concept. He defines self esteem as
a true and accurate awareness of one’s skills, capabilities and limitations.
I like this definition because it's simple and clear. Nothing like simplicity! :-) Best of all it leads to the following clear definition:
Low self esteem means not having an accurate awareness of your skills, capabilities and limitations. An example would be if you are bright but think you are not. If you are bright and know it, that is not arrogance. That is an accurate picture of yourself. In order to discover and live your unique mission it's crucial to have an accurate picture of your capabilities.
What Causes Low Self Esteem?
It seems that a large percentage of people suffer from some aspect of low self esteem! When I discovered this, it blew me away because I had previously associated this issue with causes such as being abused as a child, coming from a broken home and similar issues while growing up.
In fact, many articles on the subject blame low self esteem on poor upbringing. But there are many many people who were raised by marvelous parents, come from model homes and still suffer from low self esteem! Dr. Twersky himself suffered from low self esteem even though there was nothing negative about his upbringing. And, in fact, low self esteem afflicts all types of people from all walks of life from CEOs of billion dollar corporations right on down to the homeless.
What then causes low self esteem? Dr. Twersky says that Freud, in his later years, came to believe that people, in addition to the pleasure instinct for which he is famous, have an instinct for self sabotage. This is actually encouraging because it means that we are not talking about a disease. This is also not something that some are born with and others are not.
A Simple Exercise for Building Self Esteem
Low self esteem is a natural part of the psyche and just like with anything else, we can work on improving ourselves. Building self esteem is not an activity meant just for people with emotional issues. We all can and should work on building our self esteem just like we work on controlling our temper. Therefore, it's not really necessary to get a professional diagnosis. We can all benefit from working on building our self esteem.
Here is a simple exercise that I've found helpful in building self esteem. This exercise is great because you can do it and benefit from it whether you think you have an issue with self esteem or not. The exercise won't take that long but you will need to block out a short period of time, say 30 minutes during which you will not be disturbed. Take a pen and paper or use your computer (I personally prefer computer.)
First, pretend, for the purpose of this exercise, that you have the ability and the wherewithal to do anything you want. Nothing is limiting you. Now, make a list of all the things that you enjoy doing. The items should be pretty specific. It doesn't serve your purposes to write things like, "I enjoy living courageously." Living courageously is not an activity.
Some of the items on your list will be trivial. Some will be profound. And still others will be somewhere in between. There will probably be some self indulgent activities on your list such as eating good food, drinking good wine and the like. That's fine and good. But there will also be more profound items on your list.
Your list may include such activities as enjoying teaching others, or maybe you enjoy research and learning new things. Perhaps you enjoy telling stories and speaking with people. These are just a few examples.
In fact, this list contains the core activities around which you want your life to revolve.
This exercise completely sidesteps any self esteem issues you might have. Remember, you created this list believing that nothing is limiting you from doing what you want. Now for the kicker.
Anything that you are drawn to do, you have the ability to do.
==} There is an Intelligent Creator. Since It created us, there is a purpose to our existence.
==} Each one of us is unique. No two people are alike.
==} We each have a unique life mission. Each person on the planet can achieve his/her and only his/her life mission. Only he/she can achieve his/her life mission. No one else can.
==} What is your life mission? It revolves around the activities that you are drawn towards and enjoy doing.
==} And it follows that you have the ability to do whatever it is that you are drawn towards and that you enjoy doing. Just like the Creator created you to accomplish something unique that only you can accomplish, It gave you the ability to do so.
Now for the fun part! Take out your list everyday and dwell on it for a few minutes. Daydream about the activities that you enjoy doing. Imagine yourself doing those activities. In your mind, create new situations and varying scenarios in which you see yourself involved in the activities on your list.
I guarantee you that after some time doing this, you will feel completely differently about your ability to do those things that you enjoy and are drawn towards. You will feel good instead of frustrated, excited instead of depressed when thinking about those things that you want to be doing.
At this point, you've licked the low self esteem barrier and you're ready to move forward towards discovering and living your purpose!
Moshe Tokayer enjoys inspiring people and providing them with the tools to discover and live their unique life mission. He does this primarily through his website http://www.Inspiration-River.com.
When he is not inspiring people to discover and live their unique life mission, he acts as a Web Business Consultant. As a web business consultant his goal is to teach small to medium size businesses and individuals how to make money from their websites.