What is healthy self-esteem and how can we improve it – or compromise it?
Comparing ourselves to others may erode how we appreciate our own qualities. Do you talk about yourself to others, and privately in your mind, in ways that discount your abilities and positive qualities? I certainly do.
How important is self concept? One of the primary authors and coaches on this important part of how well we live was psychologist Nathaniel Branden, who said:
“The reputation you have with yourself – your self-esteem – is the single most important factor for a fulfilling life.”
From article: Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden
Psychologist and relationship expert Margaret Paul, PhD and her colleague Erika Chopich, PhD developed their approach Inner Bonding to help people gain emotional balance, self-esteem and healthy relationships.
Here is a brief video: Margaret Paul on Inner Bonding Steps for Healing
“She still feels inadequate and insecure…”
Dr. Paul writes in an article about self-esteem:
‘Jackie, another client of mine, is a very successful actress. Yet fame and fortune have not given her self-esteem.
‘No matter how many people tell her how beautiful and talented she is, she still feels inadequate and insecure most of the time.
‘This is because, on the inner level, Jackie is constantly telling herself that she is stupid.
“How could I have made that stupid remark!” “How could I have acted so stupid?”
‘Mirroring her mother’s own self-judgments and her judgments toward Jackie, she is constantly putting herself down.
‘Until Jackie learns to see herself through eyes of truth rather than eyes of judgment, she will continue to feel inadequate and insecure.’
(From What Creates Self-Esteem? by Margaret Paul, huffingtonpost.)
[Photo above: Charlize Theron on a red carpet.]
Margaret Paul presented a webinar in July 2016 about Inner Bonding – get a free recording: 6 Secrets to Fully Loving Yourself.
Inner Bonding is “a 6-step spiritually based therapeutic modality that heals shame, and the resulting self-abandonment, that is often the root cause of anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, addictions, and relationship problems.”
“I didn’t have high self-esteem when I was a teenager, as I think most teenagers don’t.” Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette has worked with Margaret Paul and Inner Bonding, and says, “I am grateful for this tool that encourages me to tune in and find the most loving steps to take on my own soul’s behalf. This process is of great nurturance to my artist, who I see as being synonymous with my inner child.”
Morissette has also worked with Margaret Paul’s daughter Sheryl Paul, M.A. – a counselor on life transitions including relationships and marriage.
One of Paul’s home study courses is “Trust Yourself: A 30-Day Program to Help You Overcome Your Fear of Failure, Caring What Others Think, Perfectionism, Difficulty Making Decisions, and Self-Doubt.”
Sheryl Paul comments:
“Over the years of working with clients and course members, I’ve discerned that one of the primary root causes of anxiety – from relationship anxiety to social anxiety to intrusive thoughts to fear of pursuing a dream career – is lack of self-trust.
“If you could repair your damaged self-trust, your life would change in dramatic and miraculous ways and you would experience a power, clarity, and freedom that you’ve only dreamed possible.
“That’s what this program will help you do…”
Learn more about her programs on her site Conscious Transitions.
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Here is my video overview of the material covered in the article below:
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An article made comments that relate to the possible reactions we have when comparing ourselves:
“Two oppositional interpretations are provided here, one in which the girl struggles with a societal image of beauty in which she feels she must attempt to imitate and another in which the girl recognizes her own inherent beauty and is focused upon what the future holds for her.”
From article: Contrasting views on Norman Rockwell’s America.
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This image of a kitten seeing itself as a lion in the mirror is a widely used – and fun – symbol for a variety of “self-esteem” programs.
Wanting to be a “better” version of who we are can be inspiring – but is it helpful to view ourselves unrealistically?
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Winning sports, art or academic awards can help boost our self-esteem.
But schools or other organizations saying “Everyone will win a trophy just for entering” or “The valedictorian will be chosen by lottery” and similar strategies to boost self-esteem that discount real merits and differences do not enhance a healthy self concept.
Photo: an authentic winner: St Stanislaus College 2012 valedictorian Bianca Phillips – from article: Smarter Than Others.
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We all need a healthy self-concept, but self-esteem may be challenging for many creative people.
For example, John Lennon once said:
“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”
This is a quote I’ve liked (and related to) for years, and have used in a number of articles, including “Talented, But Insecure” [an excerpt from my main book].
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“You think, ‘Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie?
And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?’” Meryl Streep
Another artist who has experienced impostor feelings:
Jonathan Safran Foer said about his novel “Everything Is Illuminated,” which made The New York Times best-seller list:
“I convince myself I’m fooling people or they like the book for the wrong reasons.”
From article: Getting beyond impostor feelings.
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These fraud or impostor feelings are one form of unhealthy self-esteem.
Valerie Young, Ed.D. is an expert on it and comments:
“Millions of people, from entrepreneurs to celebrities, have a hard time internalizing their accomplishments.”
Valerie Young suggests “Six steps for matching perceptions to reality” :
* Separate your self-assessments from objective evaluations of your skills. Group-based evaluations, promotions, and letters of reference are less biased than the world seen through “impostor”-colored glasses.
* Reduce your isolation. Talk about your feelings with trusted friends and colleagues. Seek out a mentor or advocate in your organization who believes in you.
* Enjoy your successes and acknowledge praise when it comes your way.
* Resist the impulse to deny and deflect compliments.
* Remember that those who project an air of confidence may not know more than you do. Research shows that most people overestimate their abilities.
Video clip and quotes of Valerie Young from article: Getting beyond impostor feelings.
Learn more about her program: Overcome the Impostor Syndrome
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From Udemy – providing ‘courses made by experts from around the world.’ From the class site:
“After many decades of dry and obscure laboratory research, the neurosciences are now beginning to bring us real and practical information that we can apply in our everyday lives to increase our levels of happiness, love, productivity and harmony.
“That’s what this course is all about. Practical, easy, reasonable things to do, that make it about as simple as possible to become more confident in everyday life. We hope you enjoy it!”
Dr. Mark Rogers & Tom Cassidy
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Kate Winslet has admitted that before going off to a movie shoot, she sometimes thinks, “I’m a fraud, and they’re going to fire me… I’m fat; I’m ugly.”
[Quoted in several articles, including: Dealing with self-criticism.]
Highly creative and talented people are, according to research on giftedness, often susceptible to perfectionism and unreasonably high standards and expectations that can lead to exaggerated criticism, and unhealthy self-esteem.
Tama J. Kieves is an inspiring example of someone who overcame the pressures to keep following a path on which her high intelligence and capability gained her social and financial rewards, but at too great a spiritual cost because she was denying her creative passions.
She had graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, but left her career as “an overworked attorney” to follow her “soul’s haunting desire to become a writer.”
She writes about discounting her achievements at times:
“When I was anorexic, I’d look in the mirror, and while I was a tiny slip of a thing, I’d see a huge woman, a woman who had blown up overnight because she’d had five french fries. When it comes to success, I have reverse anorexia. I look at substantial accomplishments and see thin, flimsy achievements, sure to vanish if you blink.”
From her book “Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work!”
Read more quotes in post: Tama Kieves on inspired desire and new directions.
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See more Self concept posts.
Also see a variety of programs for self-esteem on my Personal Growth Information site.
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