I've been on a journey to greater self-esteem. It's something I've struggled with my whole life, and something that now I can proudly say I've "conquered." Except that we've never "arrived" somewhere. Life is an ongoing journey, and most things that we want to integrate into our lives is a constant work in progress and a consistent practice. So instead of saying I've "conquered" low self-esteem, I'll say "a healthy self-esteem is something that I strive to consistently incorporate into my practice."
Here's some pointers that have helped me on my journey, and can perhaps help you on yours.
1. Birth is G-d's way of saying you matter. You matter just because you are here on this Earth. If you weren't needed, you wouldn't be here. Just meditating on this can fill you up with intrinsic worthiness.
2. Now that you know you're needed here, think about your inherent skills, qualities, attributes. What drives your passions? What makes you uniquely who you are? Make a list of "I am ...." (e.x. I am compassionate, I am a giver etc.)
3. Once you have your list, think about what you can do to actualize those qualities. (e.x. I am a giver - so I am going to make dinner for my neighbor who is recovering from surgery)
4. Track your contributions. Sometimes we don't think we're making that much of a difference in the world. But the truth is, every single one of us already does. You might not even know how much your existence means to someone. Or how much they enjoy your presence. Think about how many people love you. How many people need you. How many people's lives are enriched because you are in theirs. Or maybe it's not about people. Maybe you've contributed with your mind, or your talents, or just by being. Realizing how much you contribute to the world makes a huge difference in your self-perception.
5. "We can't give from an empty cup." I repeat this phrase often. It makes me aware of how important it is to take care of myself. Whether that means physically - eating well, sleeping well, exercising, or spiritually - nourishing my soul and my connection with G-d. You are worth it. Once 'we're filled up' than that spills over to the people around us. We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
So here's my challenge to you: Go find your intrinsic worthiness and allow your uniqueness to enrich the lives of those around you.
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