in depth


Self-Esteem is Everything

Senses of the Soul IV

Self-esteem is the window through which you see yourself in relation to everything. Through your perceived value, you judge what you think you deserve and expect, which creates your experience and success. In your vital search for Self, there are three sources of self-esteem: external, internal, and universal.

External validation is how you first come to define yourself. Early environments form your initial self-concept. How you relate to others and what seems possible is based on that self-image. However, when the needs and moods of others are your only source of self-esteem, you may find yourself conforming to earn acceptance. You can never please everyone, and you never get to enjoy being your Self.

Internal validation must emerge next for healthy personality development. Your self-determination may begin through either encouragement or defiance. Even if your goals are still defined by others, you now take charge of life by defining and creating your own value. You need a healthy mix of external input as a reality check; otherwise the ego can become distorted in self-delusion.

Universal validation is the ability to identify with the highest values. While accepting human frailty, you choose to relate to the noble and sublime within yourself. It requires sensitivity to discover who you truly are, rather than efforts to assert some concept of who you think you are. Your affirmation becomes, “I am, I am.” You merge your individual value into a macro-identity by relating to all that is esteemed as sacred. These virtues find ever truer expression through you, without your ego having to prove or possess them.

Here are a few ways to balance all three sources of self-esteem:

• Seek out supportive interactions for encouragement and correction.
• Make peace with yourself and learn to trust the guidance of your heart.
• Establish a consistent relationship with higher virtues and qualities.

The joy and success that come from simply and fully being you fulfills your destiny and reminds you, in the words of the Desiderata: that you are “a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and stars.”

Gurumeher Singh Khalsa
Yogic Trainer and Life Coach

Recommended: Desiderata Print by Max Ehrmann and Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay Ph.D


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