"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. "
Marianne Williamson wrote these words and they became a statement of such immense power that even Nelson Mandela was attributed as having said them in his acceptance speech for President of South Africa.
Healthy self esteem is contingent upon how much we actually believe and trust in ourselves – weaknesses and all. There are certain characteristics common to the self-assured psyche, and if we focus on developing these, our own self-esteem will also soar.
1. Let Go of Regret: Forgive Yourself and all Others
It’s a strength to learn from past mistakes and move forward free of remorse and much wiser for it. We are all human and therefore will make mistakes, the key is to not hold onto them, blowing them out of proportion and using them to sabotage our present joy. By living in the present, each moment is open to all possibilities and we are free to enjoy each experience without emotional baggage or fear.
2. Don’t Give Criticisms Power to Define You
All cruelty springs from weakness, so when we receive an insult or criticism from another, we must always consider the source. These caustic words are intended to hurt, so we need to be stronger than the insecurities they reflect. Whether there is truth in the verbal barbs, we can choose to absorb only the valuable lessons and reject the rest. Internalizing negative comments and then berating yourself demeans your self-worth. Lift up and trust yourself.
3. Follow Your Dreams
No Matter WhatIt’s easy to get caught up in life patterns which do not fulfill us, resulting in a monotonous schedule that diminishes and drains our spiritual inclinations. In a society that tends to define people by their jobs, their income and their possessions, it’s easy to lose your sense of purpose and passion for life. The more you stay in touch with yourself and follow the path of spiritual happiness and satisfaction, the healthier your self-esteem will be. You must rediscover what inspires you, what makes you really feel alive, and pursue those things no matter what the challenge.
4. Know The Truth and the Truth Will Set You Free
A crucial part of healthy self-esteem lies in truly knowing yourself. In celebrating your strengths, and accepting your weaknesses, you allow yourself to be comfortable in your own skin and enjoy a fundamental confidence which allows you to make peace with your imperfections as we work to improve them. Committed to your values, you will not compromise them for others – when you put another’s beliefs before your own, you belittle your importance and degrade your self confidence. Your goal is to know who you are, what you want out of life, and to never apologize for it. You Deserve ItYou deserve your dreams just as much as the next guy, so start acting like it. If you do not believe in yourself, you will never achieve what you want. Others intuit your self-doubt – if they think you’ve judged yourself unworthy, they can hardly be expected to believe in you when you don’t. A confident person, whose self-esteem is not based upon the approval others, is a formidable force.
5. Laughter Is the Best Medicine
It is easy to take life and ourselves so seriously that we allow little room for fun and forgiveness. Life is full of mistakes, ironies, hypocrisies and so forth, and if we don’t learn to ease up on ourselves and others, we can’t expect to enjoy the ride. To be able to laugh at ourselves is healthy – it’s a way of saying, “It’s OK that I am not perfect, I appreciate myself, imperfections and all.”
6. No Excuses: Live Your Dream
You can always rationalize why you aren’t closer to living your dreams. If you fail to nourish the hot shot go-getter you have the capacity to become, you will be doomed to live as a lesser being. Perhaps the challenge of changing your life seems too difficult, too scary, or takes too long – the way to counteract such fears is through courage, patience, and belief in our own limitless abilities.
7. Challenge Comfort Zones
When you function primarily in environments that you are accustomed to and comfortable with, you may exude confidence in those environments, only to shrivel up elsewhere. If life is about living and having the freedom to enjoy different experiences, then the more expansive your involvement in the world, the more expansive will be your own personal growth and self-esteem.
“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
- Marianne Williamson
As Benjamin Spock once said, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do."