I was reading an article recently on the BBC News website entitled “Does confidence really breed success?”, in which it discussed the concept of self-esteem in young Americans today and their attitudes with regard to their abilities, drive to succeed, etc.
The article made mention of how the increase in self-help and self-esteem materials, movements, experts, etc. since the 1960’s has led to a change in culture from a nation that used to value humility and modesty to an ever-increasing sense of self-love, vanity and self-assuredness. Some are referring to it as narcissism.
It brought to light something that I have been learning, and continue to learn, since my first meditation class 30 years ago – that there is a huge difference between telling someone they should feel good about themselves, that they are capable of great things, they just need more confidence, and showing them how to come to a place of self-acceptance and self-esteem by going within, coming more fully into consciousness and teaching them how to clear and heal old pain and wounds obstructing their ability to be whole.
When self-esteem becomes linked to success – which is very often defined by someone else and the prevailing trend of what is seen as successful – it takes away from that persons own unique individuality and path, and teaches them instead to love him or herself in relation to how well they do rather than who they are.
One would think that confidence-building would be a good thing, and it can be positive when approached from the perspective of recognizing the unique identity of each person regardless of their status, their position in society or their achievements.
If, however, a person is simply told that they DESERVE to love themselves, to reach for the stars, to succeed and that they are capable of great things – things that are defined by society or the self-esteem guru or both – the result can be completely the opposite if they don’t manage to climb to the top of the corporate ladder, secure the salary they need in order to buy that dream house or find their perfect mate.
In fact the article I read, stated that since the 60’s and 70’s when this self-esteem movement began, there has been an increase in anxiety and depression. No wonder! The stakes are too high, expectations become unrealistic – it’s too easy to fail. Not everyone on this earth is here to be at the top! Nor is it realistic to expect to feel happy all the time. We are human beings learning how to reconcile the limitless nature of spirit with the three-dimensional world of the physical body and its many emotions.
Self-esteem without roots doesn’t work. Without the ability and encouragement to recognize and validate your own spiritual nature and purpose, you are left to manage someone else’s concept or picture of who you should be and how your self-confidence is defined.
Plants and trees first put down roots, before growing upwards. This way they have a constant connection with their source – the earth that nourishes and feeds them – and the strength and stability to reach their potential.
If you are finding yourself disillusioned with your lot in life, perhaps it’s time for some re-evaluation of who you are, what you really want to do and what your unique path is.
Doing this alone can be challenging, particularly at first. Fortunately there is assistance to be found in the form of healers, counselors, bodyworkers, meditation teachers, clairvoyants, yoga teachers and the like who are interested in helping you uncover and reveal your own truth, discover your own answers and validate your ability to build your self-esteem from the ground up. Who can assist you in recognizing your roots.
From this place true self-esteem can grow.