Imagine that you are driving to work in your car, talking out loud to your self that you are going to have a great day.
You keep reciting positive thinking affirmations to yourself.
Your desperate to try to raise your energy, at your attempt at getting into the perfect state of mind to really take on the world.
You've learn't hours of self-esteem literature, from articles to listening to podcasts.
You know the importance of self-esteem and its benefits, and know that you have a confidence problem that only low self-esteem can produce.
You know that by saying affirmations out loud and by remaining upbeat, you hope that somehow, you turn on a magic switch inside your head to make you more confident again…
As you walk into your office, you get yourself a coffee.
You try to get rid of that brain fog you have had since you have woken up.
The last few weeks have been super stressful.
Your sleep is feeling the brunt of it.
But this coffee tastes good, and you're starting to feel more confident as you start with the work.
As the first hour goes by, you begin to feel good about yourself.
You have turned a corner.
That life doesn't feel bleak after all…
Suddenly, your boss stands next to you, gives you an email, and asks you to explain why you sent this email to the wrong department, and crash…
The confidence has gone again.
You feel stupid and look sheepishly at the email…
You fumble in your mind a good excuse as how you can make a simple dumbass mistake.
But that brain fog hasn't lifted yet and you still feel a bit hazy…
You mumble your sorrys, and your boss walks away.
You feel like crap!
Your confidence has gone and you wonder if this self-esteem is all a load of BS…
This is the current situation for many people who read their fair share of self-esteem stuff, and who know that increasing their self-esteem will help their lives significantly.
However, trying to increase your self-esteem for some people, can not only be a fruitless task, but can also be very unhealthy for you!
I know what you're thinking…
Yeah, I know.
This is a funny old pill to swallow.
And its a funny old pill to swallow because it smacks the complete opposite of what you have been taught since a kid.
You see the thing is…
This self-esteem stuff can be kinda overrated
Despite a huge self-esteem movement that was started in the late 1970's.
The whole purpose of increasing self esteem was to help ones correct perspective of ones own abilities and talents.
You see, self-esteem is as we all know, is a bit of a big deal.
Without it, you're screwed
But here's the real pincher…with too much of it, your kinda screwed as well.
You wanna know why?
Because self esteem once you have it, has a notorious tendency of being knocked off if you make even by a small mistake.
And this is especially true for those really sensitive souls
I'll always remember the moment when I was playing Badminton a couple of years ago.
I wasn't great, but I wasn't too bad either.
I won most of my games.
I would loose a few games, but they were fairly close ones, so I didn't mind loosing, and I always learn't something new.
That was until I played a few games where I lost dramatically.
It completely shattered my confidence levels.
I began to work almost too hard, trying to make up for that fact that I thought I was a terrible player.
I ignored the fact that I was winning most games before this setback, but it was to no avail.
Week after week, I would try to really focus playing my game. Trying to really get the shots accurate.
But after a while, I got really super stressed out and even frustrated that things didn't seem to go my way.
I even began to loose interest in Badminton, because winning breeds motivation, and that was practically gone.
What I hadn't realised, was that my self-esteem had taken a battering, and I didn't even now it!
And this is the thing about self-esteem.. .
Great when the going is good, but when the going gets bad, it goes ugly!
Talking about making it tough for yourself.
And don't get me started on bullies who, studies say, have ample self-esteem.
Do you really want to be known as a bully.
Didn't think so.
So self esteem is bad…Yes?
It's actually a bit tricky…(I know what you're thinking, ‘here we go…')
Increase your self esteem.
Sure, that will help your life like wonders!
The trick is to do it indirectly.
‘Ahhh', you say, ‘the plot thickens‘…
It sure does!
Let me be absolutely clear before I carry on. Self-esteem is not a bad thing, without it, you're in trouble.
The problem is that most people don't know how to increase it to a healthy level, and it gets to dangerous proportions that can cause you to loose your head at the most inappropriate moments (think of some celebrities).
The thing about self-esteem is that, no one person has a self-esteem gauge, that guides them when it gets too low or too high.
So we have a mini dilemma…
How to increase the self-esteem naturally, but without danger of basically acting like a dick towards people when it is too high (and we all know people who are assholes due to thinking they are special).
Enter a new weapon for our EGO, and that is self-compassion (and thanks to Kristin Neff for this insight)
Compassion basically means to have sympathetic concern for the sufferings of other people, therefore self-compassion means to do this but to yourself…
i.e being kind to yourself!
Seems kinda strange to think that having compassion helps with your self-esteem, doesn't it?
Well, not really.
Remember what I said about one of the dangers of increasing self-esteem, that you can get knocked down very easily due to making a dumbass mistake?
You feel like shit right?
Well, you may do for a tiny bit, but it won't be for long.
When you initiate self-compassion, the bad feelings will subside.
Well, it means that you'll begin to recover easier and more effortlessly than ever before, allowing you to feel better again.
And feeling better means less stress.
Less stress means more relaxation, which means more focus and productivity, which means your mission in whatever you are doing gets accomplished (without you tearing your hair out at the slightest mistake).
You get the idea
Not only does it helps self-esteem increase to healthy levels (and no more…very important) it can also lead to optimistic thinking. Not to be confused for positive thinking.
Quick explanation needed here…
Positive thinking is what is currently being taught at the moment. I should know because I buy stuff myself that helps with positive thinking.
Nothing wrong with positive thinking, but all it does in most cases, is to help you feel good over a bad situation.
What's wrong with that, you may ask?
But feeling good isn't going to really help you achieve your goal.
It just makes you come to peace with your past bad experience (if you're lucky).
Which is ok in and of itself, but wouldn't you want to be at peace as well as still be on your path to attain your goal?
Let me give you an example.
You go to a job interview. You try your best, but the interview doesn't go very well. You don't get the job.
Positive thinking says, ‘Well, I wouldn't want to work with them anyway, they were so unprofessional, I'll apply for a company that is more better!'
READ: you don't learn much, but you make peace with your past… that's it.
But lets now add a twist to this thought process
Lets try optimistic thinking.
‘Well, the interview was poor… where was I at fault, because for them to interview me must mean that they liked my CV, so my EGO got in the way. What do I need to do to make the next one better and get the job?'
Do you see the difference here?
Both very similar, and both bring peace to your bad experience. But which one is most likely going to get that job you need?
The 2nd one.
And that's my point.
Using optimistic thinking allows you to make peace with you past, as well as a more realistic practical chance to still go for the goal that you are looking to attain.
Self-compassion helps do this
When you help heal the past, the imagery in your mind isn't so rampant, which allows a more natural mindfulness to take place…
Which means that you can become more relaxed and focused.
Or to put simply, combining self-compassion and optimistic thinking allows you to lead a better life, because you will be more healthier, which means you can have more fun with yourself, your family and ultimately, your loved one.
Pretty good huh;-)
So, how do you increase your compassion?
Well, I've discovered 5 ways.
This is abut paying attention to the, ‘here and now', or the present moment.
Quite simply, being alert to your current state of being. There are many ways to being present, but the best I have found is to listen to the ambient noise outside. There are others… peripheral vision, focusing on your breath etc…
Loving kindness meditation
Another type of meditation, but this time, you do a series of steps which helps you come to terms with someone that has aggrieved you.
You will need to visualize this, but can be amazingly effective at helping you come to terms with the past which can make it easier for you to feel compassion.
Changing your inner story
Often, it is our inner story and beliefs that can caused us to loose our head, by a poor belief or a missasumption.
To change you inner story, one needs to change the images in your head.
You need to make this a daily ritual.
This won't be easy, as your subconscious will humour you at first…
For example, keep saying to yourself that you are human and will make some mistakes, and you will learn from them.
Try to quickly imagine yourself learning from a common mistake you make, and feeling good about it.
Then try to imagine that somebody has made a mistake against you, but you quickly forgive them.
Sometimes, we just need a good ol hug from someone, like a shoulder to cry on.
But getting a hug when you need one happens at the most inappropriate times.
So we have to do the next best thing.
See the oneness in everything to help open up our Heart Chakra instead (those vortices that you have with your body)
Still with me…
Put simply, you are consciousness (duh…) but what you may not know is how to feel it.
To do this, simply imagine yourself as part of everything else…your arms and legs extend to not just your arms and legs, but everything around you (of course, for all those out of body explorers out there, this will seem like obvious info).
This does sound wacky, but believe it or not this simple exercise can work wonders for your heart.
This allows you to even help heal a bad situation, and increase your compassion.
Golden Shield of Protection
If you are particularly sensitive, and feel the negative energy of other people easily, this can be a great tool to help yourself and increase your levels of compassion.
Just imagine a golden shield swirling around you.
You don't have to make a strong visual out of it (just a few golden specks acting like a shield will suffice) but this may prove pivotal in helping you feel more at peace, which can lead to an increase in self-compassion.
By increase your ability to feel compassion for your self, you will indirectly increase your self-esteem to more healthy levels, whilst giving other people slack.
By doing this, you can feel more healthier, happier, and become more focused in your day-to-day running of things, enabling you to get things done, so you can have a more productive, healthier and happier lifestyle.
But I've got more…
How would you like to find an easy way to meditate, so you can feel more healthier?
What would you say if I told you that you can do this with a CD player and some good headphones.
This stuff is pretty powerful
So powerful, that you can go into very deep states of meditation, so you can increase your intuition as well as some other cool stuff.
By increasing your intuition, you can get a better chance of noticing your gut feelings, as well as better ways to get creative which can help with your life style.
I've even written a review for you, so you can get my honest opinion on the courses.
Simply click here to read the review.
Hopefully you won't regret it;-)
P.S. Self-esteem, although is required to help you achieve success in most areas of your life, can only be increased indirectly. If you try to increase it directly, you may be guilty of over doing it.
This can lead to other problems.
The trick is to do it indirectly, via self-compassion.
By practising self-compassion, you achieve a more healthier level of self-esteem, but you also acknowledge your weaknesses, and instead of feeling bad about them, simply accept them as part of your learning curve.
This allows you to let them go and can help you become a more happier and fun person.
Mindfulness meditation is a great way to improve compassion. If you wish to learn to meditate very deeply, please read my review of the ARVARI course by clicking here.