The importance of self-esteem

By Oana Lis, Psychologist

continued from previous issue

The love we seek is nothing but our natural state… If we cleanse our body, mind and soul, we will come to realize it. To experience self-love… we must remember the following aspects:
– when we came into this world, we were given a body. It is our duty and responsibility to take care of him;
– when we came into this world, we were given an intellect. It is our responsibility and duty to use and develop it;
– beyond the rational and tangible aspects… we will find ourselves… find our Self… Our spiritual Self is what gives meaning to our life. Let’s learn to take care of him and do our best to be in contact with him as often as possible.

The essence of self-love is to listen to your intuition, to learn to listen to what your body tells you about the needs you have, and that starts with knowing yourself better. You really can’t change anything for the better in your life if you can’t love yourself more and truly.

“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everything you experience is your mirror” (Ken Keyes).

Working with the development of self-love comes with immense rewards; it creates a balanced emotional and mental environment, strong and full of love. This environment then supports us in everything we want to do: it supports us in taking care of our physical health, in confidence and self-expression, in the courage to take risks, in taking on new projects, in asking for what we need in our relationships, to be less and less dependent on validation and approval from others. We end up having a very strong, healthy and supportive relationship with ourselves.

At the beginning of our journey in life, the most important relationship we have is with our parents, after that we become more aware and begin to connect with ourselves and this becomes the central point of reference through which we experience every other relationship.

“Your task is not to look for love, but only to look and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built yourself to protect yourself from it” (Rumi).

The opinion we have about ourselves, this evaluation of our qualities and defects is the second pillar of self-esteem. It’s not just about self-knowledge, what’s important is not the reality of things, but the conviction we have to be owners of qualities and defects, of potentialities and limits. Positive self-concept is an inner strength that allows us to enjoy our chance despite adversity.

The third component of self-esteem, which is also often confused, is self-confidence. Being confident means believing that we are able to act in an appropriate manner in important situations. The role of self-confidence is paramount, as self-esteem needs facts.

The essence of the Self should not be confused with external factors. External factors may cover the essence or help it to shine, but the value of the self’s essence is constant (ie, infinite).

– People express their value through unique means and behaviors and each person, in his essence, is whole, having all the necessary qualities from the embryonic stage.

– Every person was created to love and be loved.

– Everyone needs confirmation (ie, love…) to feel like a valuable person. So, all people need a source to confirm that they are loved, accepted and valuable. As the psychologist Abraham Maslow said (1968) – “The need for love characterizes every human being that is born… Psychological health is only possible if the essence of the self… is… accepted, loved and respected.”– Therefore, love is important. If you have not received it from others, it is good to give it to yourself.

– The nature of love can be: a feeling you experience (a person generally recognizes it when he meets it)… an attitude… because love always wants the best for the person you love (remember that love for others and self-love are not mutually exclusive… ideally, loving attitude includes both…)… it can be… a decision or commitment that you uphold every day and also it can be a skill that is cultivated.

– Unconditional love is learned.

– At least three sources support the experience of love: the parents, the Self and the important people in everyone’s life. Theologians add a fourth essential source – divine love. Most theologians maintain that God’s love is unconditional, a gift of divine grace, always accessible and, at the same time, the surest basis for development. So, this spiritual foundation can be very useful.

– So, the prudent course of action is to first be responsible for the source of love you can rely on: that source is YOU!!! And also, that is where the source of genuine self-esteem comes from.

– Like value, love must be unconditional, unwavering in the face of temporary failures and independent of daily self-evaluations. In other words, a person can say to himself, if appropriate: “Even though I had a low performance today, I still love me!!!”

– Love also makes you feel like someone! It doesn’t define you, nor can it give you extra value. It just helps you to be aware of it, feel it and appreciate it.

– Love is the foundation of development. Love constitutes both the soil and the climate necessary for human development.

– “If you didn’t have loving parents, then you had better learn to be a loving parent yourself.”

– The best thing you can do is to become very good at being yourself…

– We are all as valuable as people. Value is not comparative or competitive. While one may be good at sports, academically or in business, another may have very good social skills and all are valuable as human beings.

– The human essence, also called the essential, spiritual self, is like a crystal, whose facets reflect the sunlight so beautifully…

– If someone has ever contributed to the well-being of others or his own… in any way, little or much, then that person has done something wonderful and will feel fulfilled.

– “We consider these truths obvious, that all people are equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (U.S. Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).

The golden rule is to treat you as you would treat a good friend or loved one… and have genuine self-esteem that comes from within.

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