Self Esteem from the Ground Up Part 2

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Self Esteem from the Ground Up Part 2 – Inthirani

Armed with a basic understanding of self worth and self esteem from Part 1 of this series, the next step is to look at basic self knowledge. Self knowledge is a key to personal growth that is valued and emphasized by spiritual healers and leaders, counselors and therapists, pastors and parents. At face value, the idea of needing to develop self knowledge can seem almost silly. Who doesn’t know who he or she is? At a surface level of name or eye color, everyone knows who he or she is. At the deeper level, it is a very different story. Developing self knowledge is at the core of many holistic health therapies which take the whole person into account.

Lack of self knowledge subtly directs the person to assign value based on the appearance of circumstance, approval from others and other exterior factors. According to Jennifer Crocker, PhD, a leading expert in self esteem, those who connect their self worth with external circumstances suffer mentally and physically, compared with those who are inner directed. In research that Dr. Crocker completed at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, she concluded that they are more likely to experience anger, stress, difficult relationships, substance abuse and eating disordersi. Holistic natural therapies can offer gentle support that encourage development of self worth in these types of complaints.

An Equation of Self Knowledge

Each person’s journey to boost self esteem begins by looking inward in a deep and intimate way. An interesting doorway into this journey is to imagine that all the surroundings of a person evaporated instantly:  friends and family, money and material possessions, achievements and career position. What if everything external, physical, touchable or viewable in life was gone?

What if only the inner sense of self was left?

Who is the person that inner self would reflect?

What value does that inner self have?

How would that feel?

This thought experiment is an interesting one, and relatively rare to experience, as most people only think of themselves within the context of the externals that surround them. It suggests a curiously engaging form of inner math:

Unexamined self view – {all that can be taken away} = measure of self worth

For those who connect their worth with a role or circumstance, as observed in Dr. Crocker’s research noted earlier, this is going to be a very challenging speculation!  Many people associate their value and worth with being part of a prominent family or group  (collective self esteemii). Self value and worth are often confused with the value of possessions owned, and the way that others in society view that ownership.

An individual often assigns self value based on what he or she does. This could be a contribution made through career, community service work, family life, or artistic creation. The life or career roles taken on, and the status of those roles are another important factor; a garbage collector with low status may experience negative views from society that diminishes self worth. This could be compared to a celebrity performer or surgeon with a high status role who experiences quite positive views from society.  A health and wellness coach will often help an individual with the assessment of status from a role in society, and the self worth associated with it.

In the next article in this series, we look at how we can boost self esteem by taking the next step to consider who we are without all the external factors. Stay tuned!

Reference

  1. Crocker, J. (2002), The Costs of Seeking Self–Esteem. Journal of Social Issues, 58: 597-615. doi:10.1111/1540-4560.00279
  2. Du, Hongfei et al. “Self-esteem and subjective well-being revisited: The roles of personal, relational, and collective self-esteem” PloS one vol. 12,8 e0183958. 25 Aug. 2017, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183958
By |2019-05-17T07:04:46-07:00March 20th, 2019|Spiritual|0 Comments

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