Are you looking to overcome low self esteem?
Most people are.
And you know what, I don’t believe you’ll ever really do it.
Why am I saying this, when you’ve just been looking for the answer to give you that coveted “high self-esteem” that everyone is trying to gain?
Simple. Because the entire concept of self-esteem is fundamentally FLAWED BY DEFINITION.
It’s an achievement-based mind virus. Another thing to try and conquer, that doesn’t need to be conquered AT ALL.
It’s a lot like figuring out how to gain self confidence – a futile act.
Yes, I’ve got a BIG PROBLEM with the concept of self-esteem and think it actually perpetuates the state of mind “I’m not good enough”.
Self-esteem itself, perpetuates low self-esteem!
Here’s the issue: When you have “high self-esteem” you always have to be above and better than people with low self-esteem. When you have low self-esteem, you have to always be trying to reach a state of high self-esteem.
The only way to know if you’re high or low, is to compare yourself to others.
Always comparing inside, whether consciously or unconsciously.
So if self-esteem isn’t the way to go, what is?
Very simple and a fundamentally different concept: self-acceptance.
All About Self-Acceptance
Albert Ellis, founder of REBT, talks about why self-esteem is a flawed concept, and the approach of self-acceptance should be used in its place (Ellis is also a master of changing self limiting beliefs).
Self-acceptance has nothing to do with comparison of others, like self-esteem does, to judge where you are at.
You are either self-accepting or not, in a given moment. There’s nothing to build up, or lose.
You is, or you aren’t self-accepting. Plain and simple.
No scales, not gradations, no comparison.
You can look to yourself and know, if you are, or if you aren’t.
And if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t too self-accepting right now. That’s ok.
So now, maybe you’re thinking, “well then if I’m not self-accepting, then people that are self-accepting are better than me!”
Well, you could listen to your tricky mind…OR you could just notice you are not self-accepting in the current moment.
Just by noticing, that you are beating on yourself, wanting to be different than you are, you are perpetuating your lack of self acceptance.
You can’t resist your mind, but you also can’t fall into its crazy stories, tricks and lies. It’s sure a tricky line to wander, but self-awareness and mindfulness, as always, are the fundamentals for true self-acceptance.
You must cultivate mindfulness, in order to “get good” at self-acceptance. It also helps to stop things like figuring out how to control your emotions.
No, self-acceptance doesn’t mean you’ll just accept whatever you do in life as “OK” and take no responsibility for it.
It’s not a free ticket to go around hurting people, and just saying “I accept that I hurt them, and that’s what happened.”
When accepting yourself, you take responsibility, but you don’t go into endless mind loops over what you did, and if you do go into mind loops, then you catch them, and reset in the present.
Easier said than done, for sure, but it’s completely doable, and it’s been taught for thousands of years.
Look, I get off track all the time.
Am I self-accepting all of the time?
But I am far more than I ever was.
Because I practice all the time, and bring myself back to the present, to where I am, with mindfulness. I even go so far to say “thanks mind for beating up on me, and not allowing me to self-accept. I know you’re trying to make me a better person, so thanks.” Crazy how that one works for me.
Self-acceptance is a continuous, ongoing process. It’s a way of living, a way of being.
It’s not a “one and done” type of situation, where you all of a sudden “self-accept” and your life is peachy, and filled with gumdrops and gingerbread men (insert favorite sweets here).
That’s just part of our feel-good society’s notion of always being “happy” and “smiling” and “things are so GREEEATTT, LOOK AT MEEEEE!!!”.
No wonder people are so depressed and anxious all of the time. All that pressure to be. Instead of just being, and self-accepting ongoingly.
This isn’t about striving, or getting to a goal. It’s about living, here and now, with all of our fears, hopes, dreams, sadness, anger, joy, love, despair.
All of it, all of our humanity that we experience. Not rejecting things because they are “bad” and not trying to “hold on only to the good”.
Doing meditation, body practices like centering, Tai Chi, Yoga are all things I highly recommend for practicing self-acceptance and also an important component to get out of your head; to stop thinking so much.
So, what’s your experience been with self-esteem, or self-acceptance?
P.S. To enquire about mindfulness & self-acceptance coaching – click here.
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