Self Esteem

‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.’

            – Gautama Buddha


This is a value judgement. It is not based on anything except a decision to value spiritually equal every being in the universe regardless of persona, status, or ability. Like every grain of sand on the beach being equally important in the inanimate world.

This position seems very hard for many people to experience as status and performance are so highly valued. Even then, many people with lofty rank and great ability and achievement harbour feelings of low self worth.This can lead to a search for perfection, where nothing one achieves feels good enough. It can also lead to approval seeking behaviour, extreme criticism of self or others, and feelings of depression and/or anxiety. It may lead to some people giving up entirely in trying to achieve anything.

This state of affairs may be remedied by understanding the difference between UNCONDITIONAL worth and CONDITIONAL worth.The former is represented in the above quote of Gautama Buddha. It is a spiritual value judgement. This is a deliberate  DECISION not a performance.Unconditional worth can be seen as the cake and conditional worth as the icing on it. Unconditional worth is based on BEING whereas conditional worth is based on DOING. You can decide to value and support yourself no matter what circumstances prevail. This is a cognitive activity of choice not a muscular one. If nobody loves or values you, you CAN decide to love and value yourself anyway.The self parenting strategy outlined in an earlier blog may be a useful way to do this.

It does not mean you are selfish or unable to recognise, reflect on, and react to mistakes, errors of judgement, or inadequacies. It does not mean you can not strive for conditional feelings of worth based on maximising potential. It simply means you can decide on a solid foundation of  one level of equal self/other valuing in your existence no matter what. This knowing must not be lost or covered  with passing feelings of  hurt and disappointment when a performance or outcome has been less than hoped for. Nor lost in the face of exclusion or criticism by others.

The corollary of all this is the ability to also  choose to give others compliments or ‘strokes’ based on both conditional and/or unconditional regard.

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