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Self Esteem and the Mind

By Jem Bacchus

Self esteem is an extremely important factor in life. It is that innate feeling of high or low self worth you experience and the value you attach to yourself. It shapes your concept of yourself and determines your success or failure in life.

It is well known that there is a positive and a negative side to everything, and self esteem is not excepted. Every person has a degree of both low and high self esteem and it is up to us all to nurture one or the other, either to acquire a destructive and pathetic state of low self esteem or to build a good character and self image through the development of a high self esteem.

I believe that self esteem is a factor of your mind which invariably affects your ability to do what is right.

Your self esteem is that emotion that cannot be experienced or felt by anyone else, just the same as they cannot think your thoughts, or experience your joy. However, others can influence your thoughts to instill in you a feeling of worthlessness, the basis of low self esteem; also, by their encouragement, positive suggestions and advice, instill in you a feeling of self worth that can cause you to develop a sense of high self esteem and eventually a strong self image.

Your self confidence hinges very largely upon how much you esteem yourself. Having a low self esteem, you tend to believe that success is out of your reach and you will never develop the necessary degree of self confidence to attain your goals.

On the other hand, as long as you think very highly of yourself you will strive to attain your desires, and nothing will daunt your determination.

Life is influenced way back in childhood - by your upbringing, your surroundings, and your association with others. Parents, friends, teachers, acquaintances, the Church, television, all play a role in molding the minds of children who believe what they are told; and they eventually build their whole life upon the suggestions of others. These take root in their minds and, once instilled, it is very difficult to erase those suggestions which, as a consequence, govern their behavior in daily life.

It is no wonder that children become confused and cannot rightly discern the truth. So it is important that we as adults "train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6.

If children are told often enough that they will never amount to anything, they believe the worst about themselves, that they are incapable. They see themselves as never being able to achieve anything worthwhile.

Even through indirect negative suggestions by others, children can be made to believe that they are of little worth and can never play an important role in life. Consequently, they lose confidence in themselves and are afraid to be adventurous. As they grow into adulthood, they fail to develop a sense of integrity, assurance and independency.

They feel comfortable in the company of people whom they feel they can control because it gives them a sense of importance and authority. When they are in the company of persons who they believe have a higher integrity than they, they become shy and uncomfortable because they believe that they cannot cope and that they are being watched and assessed.

We see that self esteem is closely linked to self confidence. The higher your self esteem, the greater your self confidence. You feel convinced that you have the ability to succeed in whatever you decide to do; as a result, you become motivated to improve your present position or business. By building your self esteem, you acquire a feeling of self-assurance and you are prepared to take challenges. A person who has really high (not inflated) self esteem, by his attitude would gain respect because he would always have respect for others, be unselfish, compassionate, and honest.

However, you must be careful not to develop an inflated sense of high self esteem and become overly confident since this could lead to arrogance and a false sense of high self esteem. You can get so wrapped up in yourself and feel so superior to others that you become egotistic and self-conceited.

This is dangerous ground and could lead to your wanting to subdue others, expecting everyone else to honor you while you show lack of respect for them, being callous, feeling above reproof, not being quite true to your words, and feeling good about all these things believing that you are always quite right and eventually becoming too bossy. It would not be surprising that you soon would become a bore and a nuisance to others who would much prefer your room to your company!

It is equally dangerous for your self esteem to be really low as it is to be overly high. Having too low self esteem you will have little or no self respect doing things that are base and unbecoming, and have no qualms about that. You tend to become unkind and even fail to be quite upright in your dealings.

As is the case of self esteem being overly high, having really low self esteem you lose respect for others, but in this case although you want others to respect you, something inside tells you that you do not deserve their respect anyway.

Such persons can be very abusive, believing that they must do this to establish their seniority and gain attention. Sadly, this does not change the nagging sense of inadequacy and inferiority complex.

To overcome a feeling of low self esteem, you must disregard all negative thoughts about yourself. Do not entertain such thoughts, make every effort to cancel them out and replace them with as much positive thoughts as will come flooding in your mind. You must be in control of your own thoughts and develop the ability to stomp any sort of negativity.

Do not live a life of misery because of low self esteem and negative thoughts. Endeavor to entertain positive thinking only; also, speak positively and those mean negative thoughts will soon fade away. Give others a reason to think highly of you, because by your actions they will soon come to the conclusion that you have a very low opinion of yourself. Remember that if you do not esteem yourself no one else will esteem you.

Thankfully, there are great measures that can be taken to change your thought process and re-condition your mind to overcome low self esteem and build a high self esteem for your ultimate good.

About The Author
Jem Bacchus is author and webmaster of website. Visit the site for other interesting topics on self help and get your free newsletter Aspects of Personal Improvement.

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