Beliefs and Self-esteem

How’s your self-esteem these days? If I asked you to rank how much you like who you are on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best, where would you rank yourself? In other words, how is your self-esteem?

We hear a lot about self-esteem these days.  Angela Oswalt, says this about it: “Self-esteem refers to a person’s beliefs about their own worth and value. It also has to do with the feelings people experience that follow from their sense of worthiness or unworthiness. Self-esteem is important because it heavily influences people’s choices and decisions. In other words, self-esteem serves a motivational function by making it more or less likely that people will take care of themselves and explore their full potential.”

So let’s talk about beliefs and self-esteem.

As we work on this issue of self-esteem, it’s important to know what you believe. I don’t mean what your parents told you that you thought you had to believe, or a teacher, or—anybody.

What do you believe?

About what?

About everything!

Your belief system serves as the foundation for what you think, do say and how you feel and react to life around you and how you perceive yourself. You may have examined and formulated your beliefs and they line up with what your parents taught you — fantastic! Thank God for great parents. The point is that you examined them and made a decision one way or another— to accept or reject.

If, for example, you believe in a loving God who gave you free will and expects you to make decisions about your own life you will make a different set of decisions about yourself than you would if you believe in an all powerful, vengeful God who punishes at a whim and creates obstacles all along your path to trick you. But if you don’t believe in God at all, you make decisions from still a different viewpoint.

You may believe the purpose of life on this planet is to suffer. This will cause you to react differently than if you believe that life is meant to be lived in joy.

If you believe that since you came from a tiny town in Mississippi or Idaho or Arizona or a farm in Ohio that you can’t make a difference you will react differently than if you believe you can have as great an impact for good (or bad) as someone from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, or Paris.

A belief that your work is important influences you to go about it differently than if you believe it doesn’t matter. (And tell me about  a job that doesn’t matter—they all matter somehow).

If you believe you don’t have any influence on anything or anyone, you will react differently than if you understand and accept the concept of “oneness” and know that everything you think, say or do impacts us all.

And, as Billy Joel sings, “And so it goes”

So how do you do this?

Start with getting yourself a notebook or journal. Make a list of beliefs you need to examine. For example, what do you believe about

  • God and religion
  • The purpose of life
  • Personal responsibility
  • Money and finances
  • Enjoyment and pleasure
  • Health and wellness
  • Relationships
  • Sex
  • Morality
  • you get the idea. It needs to be your list.

The starting place

Start by writing what you think about it right now. Then go back to it. Spend time with each item. Let yourself ponder it. Read about it. Ponder some more. Revise and revise until it says what you believe after study and contemplation. You won’t be sorry.

When you “fine tune” your belief system, you will most likely discover that many of your self-esteem issues have been resolved and you just need to do a bit of tweaking here and there. Then, do your work daily like you need to do in a garden—you just have to keep pulling those weeds.

This is not an easy task but one that just keeps bursting with rewards. It takes time, patience with yourself —and others—reflection, meditation and a lot of revision of the revisions. As your consciousness expands it requires more reflection, meditation and revision. An on and on.

“And so it goes. . .”

Your life matters. It’s up to you to decide just how you show up in the world.


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