Getting Rid of the Self in Self-Esteem
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Greetings Fellow Survivors,
Just a quick article on self-esteem you may find interesting…
Getting Rid of the Self in Self-Esteem
Copyright Nov. 5, 2007
by Mary Jo Fay, RN, MSN
So many people struggle with issues of low self-esteem. You or someone you know or work with may have grown up in an environment where constant criticism was the norm from parents, a teacher, a coach, a priest, or more. While this may have set them up for the low self-esteem struggle, there are many who still sadly carry this label as a valid reason why they do not fully participate in life.
Some use their label of low self-esteem as their excuse for why they cannot do things – apply for a certain job, give a speech in front of an audience, or just try something new. I can’t help wonder just how many exciting and wonderful experiences they miss out on due to this self-limiting belief system.
Well, I heard a new take on low self-esteem lately and it struck me as interesting. A friend of mine, Tom Joseph, is a Christian counselor with a radio show called At the Well, where he discusses a variety of issues that pertain to life, love, and more. He also recently wrote a fabulous book called, Why We Stay Stuck: When Love is Not Enough to Fix our Relationships.
While Tom discusses a wide variety of psychological reasons we stay stuck, one thing he mentions is the issue of self-esteem as it pertains to relationship issues. He approaches low self-esteem from a completely different angle than most. Basically, he says that pampering someone does nothing to help re-build their self-esteem, rather, we have to get rid of the “self” in self-esteem to turn someone’s belief system about themselves around.
What does he mean by this? That folks with low self-esteem are oftentimes so all consumed with their terrible feelings about themselves that they become paralyzed by their own self-consumption.
In his book he says the following:
“Low self-esteem is demonstrated when our unrealistic expectations for perfection are not met, causing us to become angrier and angrier. Then, we expect others to feel sorry for us and feed into our ‘poor me’ attitude. Then, when we don’t get the attention we’re looking for, we can become angry, depressed, or even suicidal.”
He continues, “I have a saying that goes like this: ‘Get rid of self and there will be no esteem to worry about.’ As ironic as this may sound, those with low self-esteem are too focused on themselves. In an attempt to stop pains of the past or as a reward for existing in this world, they crave constant proof of their significance. They have an unquenchable appetite for others who will feed their sense of worth, and they devour attention."
“In fact, they’re so focused on self that it can make them easy prey. Abusers tend to look for those who need attention and lots of encouragement. Then they swoop down and give this person all they’re asking for, and in doing so, make for themselves a new victim,” explains Tom.
Is your low self-esteem setting you up to keep attracting abusers to your life? Or perhaps it’s keeping you from reaching the great things in life that you desire. Want to turn it around? Here are a few ideas Tom feels can make a difference:
1. Accept yourself as imperfect – after all, who is perfect anyway?
2. Be willing to make mistakes, for isn’t that how we all learn to begin with?
3. Extricate yourself from negative friendships. You surely don’t need those kind of folks in your life.
4. Disregard (or remove yourself from) overly critical family members. What makes them and their opinions better than yours, anyway?
5. Learn to take risks. Each time you’re successful with something new, you build you own self-esteem.
Then start taking your focus off of you and your problems and start looking around at the world around you. Who can you help? Who is worse off than you? By putting yourself out there you take the focus off your own worries and put some of your energy into contributing to the world around you, you build your own increasingly healthy sense of self, one step at a time.
And of course, remember, that we all teach our kids by our example. If for no other reason than sending them on a healthier course than you, isn’t it time you attack your self-esteem issues head-on?
My best to you on your journey!
To order Tom’s book and learn more about his unique style of counseling, visit him at www.AtTheWell.net. He’s got quite a variety of shows you can download (click on Audio Archive) and listen to that you may find helpful as well, as you traverse this journey called LIFE!
And be sure to check out www.OutOfTheBoxx.com, my brand new web site with tons of new video clips, quizzes, free articles and more!
As always, feel free to forward this email to your friends, just please send it with my contact info. And if you'd like to be removed from this list, just drop me a line.
Mary Jo Fay, RN, MSN
* The Relationist *
Surviving Difficult People
Getting You Out of Your Boxx
Unlocking the Secrets to Truly Great Relationships!
speaker, columnist, screenwriter, and award-winning author