How Your Beliefs Affect Your Self-Esteem
Our self-esteem affects what we attract to us because our self-esteem is determined by our beliefs.
Self-esteem is a love and respect for oneself. I’m not talking about arrogance or narcissism here. I’m talking about feeling worthy, deserving, confident and respectful of yourself. Self-esteem means acknowledging your flaws and weaknesses as well as your strengths and qualities, but not beating yourself up about your imperfections. Rather, aim to grow and develop yourself but don’t judge yourself because you’re not perfect.
Nobody is perfect, yet celebrities and other successful figures are often portrayed as perfect in either their looks or their character, or both. Consequently, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to perfection, which is an illusion and leads to unhappiness and even depression.
If we have negative beliefs about ourselves then it means we will judge ourselves harshly and be very critical. If we’re judgemental and critical of ourselves then it is likely that we will judge and criticise others just as harshly.
Often, when we judge or criticise others we’re actually seeing something in them that we don’t like in ourselves. If you find yourself criticising or judging another person, you can stop yourself by asking yourself, “What am I seeing in this person that I don’t like about myself?” Of course, I’m not talking about instances where judgement is justified, such as when somebody causes harm to another in some way, I’m just talking about ordinary traits and characteristics that you either dislike or like about people.
One of the biggest internal battles that we have is the desire to be who we are verses the need to meet other people’s expectations in order to fit in. The need to fit in with the majority comes from the fear of being judged and ridiculed for being different.
In an attempt to avoid being judged and ridiculed we may change who we are so that we can fit in. But when we try to fit in with the crowd we it is like being trapped in a dark room in which we cannot see where we are going. We then grab hold of other people who are also in this dark room and we just end up following wherever they go. In other words, when we constantly follow the crowd to fit in to societies expectations of us, we lose touch with who we are and we therefore also lose touch with our own guidance. Instead, we become reliant on the guidance from other people about how to live our lives and what we should do. This can go on for a long time until one day we wake up and think “What am I doing with my life?”
An example of how many children will attempt to fit in with the crowd is by dressing like their friends do, smoking because their friends do, drinking because their friends do and even taking dangerous drugs because their friends do.
So, improving your self-esteem involves eliminating the fear of judgement, ridicule and criticism from other people and feeling worthy, deserving and confident, as well as accepting your imperfections.
This is not done by stating positive affirmations such as “I am worthy and deserving”, “I am free from the opinions of others”, “I accept and love myself the way I am” or “I am good enough”. Affirmations such as these are great for people with high self-esteem, but research has shown that for people with low self-esteem affirmations are pointless and can even have a negative effect.
The fact is that a person who has high self-esteem does not feel the need to say “I am good enough”, “I am worthy and deserving”, “I accept and love myself the way I am” or “I am free from the opinions of others”. They just feel this way anyway and therefore don’t need to state such affirmations all day long. Most people who go around stating these types of affirmations feel demoralised as soon as they encounter any kind of negative comment, judgement or criticism.
In order to improve our self-esteem, we must work on our beliefs about ourselves. A belief is something you accept as true. If you feel unworthy, for instance, you must ask yourself why and get to the core belief. In other words, you must explore your beliefs and find out what it is that you accept as true about yourself that makes you feel unworthy. Only when you find your core belief can you change it. And only when you change what you accept as true about yourself will you change how you feel.
In addition, we must learn to accept our imperfections. Some imperfections can be changed and some can’t. Those imperfections that can be changed are an opportunity to grow and they therefore serve us. Those imperfections that can’t be changed are a part of our unique identity and we can learn to accept them by changing how we think about them.
Explore your belief system and discover what you must accept as true in order to feel the way you do.