“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates
To get self-esteem, do ‘esteemable’ things. It is a common, albeit, trite saying floating around self-help groups, that “To get self-esteem, do ‘esteemable’ things.”
What does that mean? Basically it means acting with integrity and living your life so that your actions are aligned with your values. It means doing the right thing instead of the thing that feels good. It means helping others. It means taking time out of your day to reflect. It means conducting yourself in such a manner that your God would be proud of you. It means living your life in such a way that you wouldn’t be afraid if the town gossip had access to your daily affairs.
A recipe for low self-esteem is to continue to do things that make you feel guilt and shame. Low self-esteem is a result of conducting yourself in a manner that you know at a deep level is not morally, ethically, spiritually or emotionally sound. It is awfully convenient and tempting to blame our low self-esteem on other people. Your parents were mean to you, nobody gave you unconditional love, your spouse yells at you, your boss berates you, you were teased in kindergarten; the list could go on and on.
And yes, there is some validity that we are programmed consciously and unconsciously with the messages we received at an early age and that we continue to hear. Don’t give your power to others. You no longer have the luxury of blaming your problems and your low self-esteem on other people. You are in charge of your thoughts now.
The solution remains the same – start doing esteemable things. Be a good person. Give to others. If you remain in a relationship that reinforces your negative self-worth, you have the luxury and freedom of terminating the relationship. As they say in a co-dependent self-help program, “If you want to stop being treated like a doormat, get off the floor.”
Ashley Connolly, LPC, M.Ed is a psychotherapist and the author of Life 101: 21 Practical Personal Growth Principles for the 21st Century. www.ashleylife101.com