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Let's Get to the Bottom of Low Self-Esteem

By Rosella Aranda

If you suffer from low self-esteem, it's because you don't know yourself well enough to appreciate how basically wonderful you are. This is not empty flattery. It is true.

Sadly, many of us are totally estranged from ourselves, from what really makes us tick. This ignorance of our true nature results in relentless self-sabotage of both our work lives and all our relationships with people.

Whether you call it fear of failure or fear of success, self-sabotage can manifest in any number of ways. These behaviors run the gamut from seemingly harmless quirks to extreme masochistic behaviors. Here's a small assortment:

  • constant tardiness

  • clumsiness, accident proneness

  • failure to keep promises or honor commitments

  • staying stuck in an unfulfilling job

  • perfectionism

  • feeling like a fraud, afraid that you'll be exposed

  • feeling empty, hollow despite outward success

  • workaholism

  • consistently poor choice of partners

  • being a jack of all trades, master of none

  • not knowing what you want to be "when you grow up

  • life-threatening addictions

  • self-mutilation

Self-sabotage, no matter how it sneaks in, ultimately results in not allowing ourselves to get what we want. Why? The bottom line is that we feel we don't deserve it.

To overcome the effects of low self-esteem, it is not enough to recognize that we have it. We need to understand WHY we have it. We must get in touch with who and what we genuinely are rather than who and what we think we are.

We Must Clean Out Our Mental Filter

We must sniff out the internalized messages from family and society that hinder our progress. This is imperative, for it is through these core beliefs that all other ideas are filtered.

We cannot just slap a new behavior or some positive thinking onto a flawed subconscious belief. Until the core beliefs are rectified, our progress will be spotty and short-lived at best.

We absolutely must examine how these core beliefs came into being. You guessed it. We need to go rummaging through our early childhood experiences.

I can hear it already. "Oh, no, don't give me that "Poor Little Kid routine!

Okay, I won't. Instead, I'll give you the "Who IS This Little Kid? routine.

When we go delving into our past to determine the underlying dynamics of our psyches, the goal is:

  • Not to cast blame

  • Not to pass judgment

  • Not to fob off our responsibility onto someone else

We're not looking for what is good or what is bad, but simply what IS.

It is vital that we grant ourselves permission to look closely at what happened to us as very young children. We are searching for clues to the Truth of our early history.

Our goal is simply to appreciate our own personal saga and become fonder of ourselves in the process. As we do so, we will automatically feel more entitled to be happy and fulfilled in both our work and love lives.

That is our ultimate goal, and a worthier goal could not be had.

Where Else Do You Think You Can Look?

If your first reaction is to dismiss this idea as something you've heard about before, be aware that "knowing about something is a far cry from understanding it or applying it.

And if you're one of the many who think you "don't need to go there, just know that you won't find your personal truth anywhere else.

Whether self-sabotage is ruining our lives or just quietly making us miserable, a start on the road to overcoming these self-defeating behaviors can be undertaken on our own.

If we should get stuck along the road, professional help through private therapists, clinics, and school or job counselors is generally available.

Once the underlying dynamics of our self-defeating behaviors are exposed and dealt with, it will be much easier to stop self-defeating behaviors in their tracks, before they have a chance to undermine us.

Once we reintegrate all of our personal power back into our lives, a whole new vista of possibilities opens up before us. This is a deeply exhilarating experience that none of us should miss.

About The Author
Rosella Aranda, Editor, Author of Sabotage Thyself No More, an excellent guide to getting rid of self-defeating behaviors.

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