Building Self-Esteem

Building is a good metaphor for self-esteem. The building analogy implies planning. It demands work. It requires a solid foundation to be successful. Building is an active process that relies on mutual cooperation with people. All of these elements are necessary to construct your self-esteem in a way that lasts.

No one who plans on building a home expects that house to erect itself without any effort. Interestingly, many who lack self-esteem are waiting for it to simply materialize, even while they sit back, eat ice cream and complain that it is taking too long to feel good about themselves.

Of course, my waxing harsh won’t help, either. This comes from my own impatience toward myself. Part of me would like to maintain my self-esteem without doing what I need to do every day to take care of myself, respect other people, work hard, and so on. You might call this a “child” aspect of my character that, when in charge, expects something for nothing. In fact, it is a sign of low self-esteem to expect things to be taken care of for you. As if you believe you can’t do what needs to be done on your own, or that you are not worth the effort.

Isn’t self-esteem our birthright? Well, not exactly, and the birthright metaphor isn’t helpful to begin with. If I am entitled to something – if it is my true birthright – then I don’t need to do anything to earn it and self-esteem simply does not abide in this way. Even people with naturally high self-esteem can easily ruin it by negligence toward the necessities of living happily.

This leaves us in a bit of a quandary. If you start out with the low belief that you are not worth any effort to become happy and healthy, then how will you ever get started? Where does motivation for self-esteem come from?

The good news here is that the issue isn’t binary. It is not an either-or situation. You may indeed feel worthless to care for yourself. But that is only some of the time. At other times you feel more constructive. These more positive, less negative feelings represent an important and necessary element of building self-esteem.

In the program Doing Self Esteem, you learn to harness these moments to make the most of them. If you do indeed learn to make the most of them; if you don’t waste these precious moments, you will soon find the scales beginning to tip favor of your overall health and self-respect. Tipping the scales consistently is all you need.

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