We all agree that self-confidence is the key to success. But there is a multitude of circumstances where self-confidence falls short of us. Is overcoming low self-esteem with mindfulness a way out? Explore 5 reasons why mindful practices can help you. But first let us understand what is low self-esteem and how it can be harmful to all the domains of our lives.
Low self-esteem and its consequences in our lives
When I was younger, it was so easy and obvious for me to be self-confident. I remember when I was 13 years old and I once came to the office of my mother. Standing up in front of all her colleagues I explained my school projects.
“She was so confident and persuasive!” later they told my mother.
Each of us can be very self-confident at certain moments of our lives. Do you remember the flavour of an interview where you entered the building with strong and confident steps, not fearful of anything? (And apparently, you went out as a winner!). That was how I felt.
Later on in life, I don’t know by what reasons but I gradually lost this favour of self-esteem. I remember one day at my sister’s house I watched her giving some guidance to her house workers. Standing there I suddenly felt odd!!. I was admiring her telling these ordinary orders, and I then realized how much I had lost my self-esteem.
Symptoms of low self-esteem
What are some symptoms of low self-esteem?
Well, we don’t feel good enough for anything. Nobody finds us a special person because simply we don’t find it ourselves. We can be very often emotional and unassertive when we speak.
For example, there were times when my boss asked me a question and I didn’t even dare to tell him what I really thought.
The lack of self-esteem can also be demonstrated in one’s relationships. One of my friends was moving in with her boyfriend. Since she was unsure about herself, she moved in with as little space as possible. She tried to be small, not to “disturb” him. When he didn’t show kindness or love she just accepted it. Because deep down, she didn’t consider herself at all valuable.
She didn’t think that she merited true love.
Consequences of low self-esteem
There are many consequences of low self-esteem. First of all we may not be at the best of ourselves. Secondly, people around us intuitively return to us the same attitude we have for ourselves. Therefore we might receive less respect. People don’t respect our boundaries, and sometimes we can bear strong consequences.
For example… We can be rejected in a personal relationship or have less success in our professional endeavours.
Overcoming low self-esteem with mindfulness
Is overcoming low self-esteem with mindfulness a reality? Well… Easier said than done because building self-esteem is sometimes an affair of a lifetime. A few techniques in a coaching session may help. Nevertheless, it is a lifetimes work to truly understand the values we really hold within our existence. So definitely, mindful practices are a gateway to be closer to this true understanding.
Let us look into 5 ways of overcoming low self-esteem with mindfulness.
1. Cultivate self-love
Mindful practices help us build an intimate relationship with ourselves. We learn to love ourselves at their own values. The relationship with others is only the reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves. That is why practicing mindfulness can help transform completely your self-esteem.
When we are mindful we are in touch with the most profound aspect of our being. We reveal ourselves back to the mystery of life which is contained in our own bodies. Breathing in mindfully we feel the oxygen from the trees entering our bodies. We are one with the trees. Eating mindfully, we realize that our bodies are the wonder of the whole cosmos. We are the sun, the rain, the fruits we eat, the results of a multitude of human, animal, plant, and mineral ancestors. What a more intimate relationship than that between yourself and all that exists?
This simple revelation can bring so much strength and profound confidence. You start to realize that you are much more than what your eyes can see and your hands can touch. This deep connection to your own self is not intellectual.
Indeed, it can only be known and felt.
There is one day when you are mindful enough to be present and truly feel the gratitude, appreciation, and love to each cell within your body. That is the day you will really integrate a true “self-esteem” beyond any judgment, expectation, or influence of your surrounding.
2. Accept yourself as you really are
When we have low self-esteem it is usually because we don’t think we are worthy. Or maybe because we create an image of someone we would like to be, which you don’t feel you are right now. For example… I’m not beautiful enough… Or I’m not intelligent enough.
With mindfulness we learn to accept ourselves as we are. Because we know that within each of our cells is engraved the beauty of the entire universe.
Additionally, when we focus on the present moment awareness we do not expect ourselves to be someone or something else. We stop the psychological need to assure ourselves that our happiness lies in the future.
For example, we don’t expect that “when I have that promotion at work and become a manager, people will respect me more”. Or “when I have that car, this guy will not look down on me”.
The aspiration of the “future state” will dissolve when you fully focus on the present moment. You will discover the joy and happiness that you can have right here, right now. A simple fact you will learn is: “I exist, so I am who I am”. You are at the right place, at the right time, and you are exactly what is meant to be.
That is is the start of accepting yourself for who you are. As well as accepting all others as they are. And needless to say you are confident, aren’t you?
3. See yourself beyond the ego.
The perception of a separate self or the ego, is the origin of a feeling of low self-esteem.
Focusing on our ego we can identify with our bodies, feelings and thoughts. Similarly we can also fix an image of ourselves in our roles as a woman or a man, a parent or a child, our jobs or our families. Our possessions and our appearances… We think these are who we are.
When these external attributes disappear, or have not been appreciated by others we have a sense of low self-esteem. That is because we don’t see what is hidden, eternal, timeless, in what we truly are. “I am none of that. I am not this body. So I was never born and will never die. I am nothing and I am everything. Your identities make all your problems” (Tricycle).
Mindfulness does help you see yourself beyond the ego.
When you are connected with the true self which is not the ego, you will see a silent. yet profound transformation into a state of “awakened” consciousness. Unlike the ego the self does not see itself superior, nor inferior to anyone or anything. It knows that it is part of all that it is. There is no separation between the “I” and the “all that is”.
When you sit down and breathe in and out mindfully, you will know that each of your cells is part of the trees whose oxygen you are breathing in every second. When you eat mindfully you know that the fruits become literally yourself.
Where is the limit of “you” and the trees, or the plants? You are part of your parents, and in their turns part of your grandparents. It is not difficult to see your children are part of you. You are the result of all generations of humans, plants, animals, and minerals.
Is there any limit between you and all that is? No, there isn’t. And therefore the self does not know any inferiority nor superiority. That is why being mindful is a gateway to overcoming low self-esteem.
4. Let go of worries and doubts about yourself
Being mindful we learn also how to let go of worries and doubts about ourselves. When we are in difficult situations we can focus deeply on the present moment. We don’t have a hypothetic scenario of a “worse” future, so we don’t have worries or anxieties. Similarly we are not overwhelmed by a disappointing situation in the past. Therefore we don’t have regrets nor culpability.
When we can learn to focus on the present moments we are liberated from what is called the “psychological time”. This way we live in a timeless world where there is no place for worry or doubt about ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we don’t take action to create a better future, nor remediate something from the past whose consequences can still be today. But we do it with our full presence, with confidence and without any doubt.
That is where consequently there is no place for low self-esteem. In the present moment, we believe in our capability, our power, and our meaning. The real world is beyond our thoughts and ideas. We see it through the net of our desires divided into pleasure and pain, right and wrong, inner and outer. To see the universe as it is you must step beyond the net. It is not hard to do so, for the net is full of holes — Sri Nisargadatta (Tricycle)
5. Do what you love and be the best of yourself
Last but not least, there is a way of overcoming low self-esteem with mindfulness: Guide yourself to doing what you love to do and be at your best.
When you are mindful you can listen to your body and mind. You will give yourself an opportunity to understand what you have to say. It is called “following your intuition”. First of all, you don’t ignore yourself when you don’t like doing something. Secondly, you don’t disregard the need to rest when you are tired. Consequently you are full of energy and passion in anything that you do.
What’s more, when you do something with your full presence it is always impregnated with a certain quality, with care and love however small the action is. In addition cultivating the inner silence is a way to be connected to the collective consciousness. We have access to the “superior intelligence” that is beyond our limited ego’s perception.
Therefore with mindfulness, you are guided to do what you genuinely love to do and to be at your best. Low self-esteem will fade away. How can’t you succeed? You already do.
There are a multitude of circumstances where self-confidence falls short of us. We do not feel good enough for anything. We can often be very often emotional and unassertive when we speak. Sometimes we can bear strong consequences in a personal relationship or our professional endeavours due to low self-esteem.
Practicing mindfulness we learn to cultivate self-love and accept ourselves as we are. We learn to demolish the wall created by the ego. There is no longer any external attribute and label that condition our self-esteem. We start to see what is hidden, eternal and timeless in what we truly are. That is the start of letting go of any self-doubts, and to follow the intuition to do what we love. As a consequence we can be the best version of ourselves. Low self-esteem will fade away naturally when we can focus ourselves intensely in the present moment.