If you want to overcome low self-esteem or just raise your current level of self-esteem, you will encounter false assumptions along your way.
Three myths about self-esteem that can inhibit any successful progress are unveiled here:
Myth #1: Self-esteem depends on external factors
“If only I were successful, rich, famous, beautiful, slim, fit… than I would have high self-esteem,” reflects a common and, it turns out, false idea. Wealth and a solid self-esteem may coincide, but there is only a tenuous link between them. Self-esteem that is based on external conditions is prone to crumble when those conditions subside.
In fact, you can point to people that manifest any or even all of the factors mentioned above and you will nonetheless find a considerable amount of people with low self-esteem among them. A long-term, healthy self-esteem should not be conditional and depend on external factors. Conditional self-esteem is like paying with Monopoly money. One day you’ll be busted.
Myth #2: Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves
“Change the way you think about yourself and you change your self-esteem.” That motto seems to be the governing rule of most of the books about self-esteem. Although partly true there is more to it than meets the eye.
The findings of depth psychology show that there are underlying, unconscious motives that are able to move us in mysterious ways, thus damaging our self-esteem. But those motives have nothing to do with what we think about ourselves. If we don’t make ourselves conscious of them and alter them, working with thoughts and beliefs will be fruitless and undermined.
Myth #3: Healing low self-esteem necessitates digging in the past
“To understand the root of your problems you have to investigate the past.” This is probably the most common myth relating to self-esteem. It stems from the classical setting of Sigmund Freud, according to which you have to lie down and talk ( and talk and talk) about your past. The idea behind it is that once you know what happened in your past, you are cured.
That myth is fostered by popular culture. Just think of the movies by Alfred Hitchcock or Woody Allen: After painfully scrutinizing her life, all of a sudden, the heroine realizes why she is afraid of thunderstorms and the color green, curing her miraculously of that dreadful diarrhea due to eating cucumber amidst severe weather.
Sadly, for the loss of time (Woody Allen spent 30 years undergoing psychoanalysis. Ask him, if he feels any better.) and money, understanding the past only rarely helps to heal a damaged self-esteem.
Besides factors that are constitutional, like temperament or a proneness to anxiety, it is the specific lessons we draw from an experiences of the past that are of crucial importance. If you want to overcome low self-esteem, you have to tackle those inhibiting conclusions and their ensuing consequences.
Article by Olaf Schwennesen
About the Author : Olaf Schwennesen, M.A. is a certified coach for solution focused therapy and a licensed natural health professional for psychotherapy. He works as a lecturer and trainer for social and methodical competences and in private practice in Berlin, Germany. http://www.naturalselfesteem.com
- Low Self-Esteem and Bullying: How are they related? (education.com)
- How to Battle Low Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
- How to Boost Your Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
Category: Healthy Mind