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Thread: Self Esteem

  1. #1

    Self Esteem

    This was taken from the University of Texas website for counseling and mental health services. Self esteem is something I have always struggled with and I have recently decided to work on it with more focus. Here they are talking about having compassion for yourself. I found this section to have some parallels to Buddhist thought. Perhaps there are others that can benefit from it as I did.


    Rebutting your critical inner voice is an important first step (to improve self esteem), but it is not enough. Having compassion for yourself means treating yourself with the same empathy you would show others. If a friend were having a hard time, you'd be likely to be extra caring and supportive. You deserve the same treatment! Rather than focusing on evaluating yourself, instead you can acknowledge when things are difficult and try to nurture and care for yourself in these times especially.

    For example:

    Forgive yourself when you don't do all you'd hoped. Try to be gentle with yourself rather than critical of yourself when things don't go as you had hoped. This can be surprisingly hard if you are not used to doing it, but recognizing that such experiences are inevitable can help.

    Recognize your humanness. As humans we all make mistakes, and we are all impacted by external factors that we can't control. Accepting our "humanness" helps us to feel more connected to others rather than feeling we are enduring these types of experiences all alone. Recognizing that mistakes are an inevitable part of being human helps us to be more compassionate with ourselves and others.

    Be mindful of your emotions. If you do feel upset about a situation, try to allow yourself to experience that emotion in a balanced way, without suppressing it or getting completely swept up in the feeling. When practicing mindfulness, try not to judge yourself for having negative emotions. If you can remember that emotions come and go and eventually pass, it will help you to not become overwhelmed by your feelings."


    Here are some of the reasons they cite as foundations of our self esteem. I can relate to these reasons and it was helpful to identify them not only for my own healing but to learn how my behavior can affect my children.

    "Our self-esteem evolves throughout our lives as we develop an image of ourselves through our experiences with different people and activities. Experiences during childhood play a particularly large role in the shaping of self-esteem. When we were growing up, our successes, failures, and how we were treated by our family, teachers, coaches, religious authorities, and peers, all contributed to the creation of our self-esteem.

    Childhood experiences that contribute to healthy self-esteem include:

    Being listened to
    Being spoken to respectfully
    Getting appropriate attention and affection
    Having accomplishments be recognized and mistakes or failures be acknowledged and accepted

    Childhood experiences that may lead to low self-esteem include:

    Being harshly criticized
    Being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused
    Being ignored, ridiculed, or teased
    Being expected to be perfect all the time. People with low self-esteem were often given messages—from parents, teachers, peers, or others—that failed experiences (losing a game, getting a poor grade, etc.) were failures of their whole self"

    Love you guys, deepest bows Troy
    Last edited by Troy; 05-13-2014 at 02:15 AM.

  2. #2
    Hi Troy,

    It seems like very wise and practical advice.

    We need to be gentle with ourselves, forgiving of our human failings (even as we try to act sincerely and do right, living in a healthful and helpful way toward self and others, not two). We need not to buy so much into the voices and judging in our heads, recognizing passing emotions as just the mind's jester at work. We need to recognize our childhoods as our childhoods ... including any trauma ... letting the past go as we can. We also learn to let the present be as the present, the future to be as the future comes.

    I might add that the Buddhist Teachings allow us to let our selves go ... not in a bad sense of losing ourselves or losing our way or our center ... but in the positive sense of letting go of the self's little "games" of judging, fearing, regretting, longing, holding as inadequate. In fact, each and every link on Indra's Net in all reality ... including you and me ... proves to be a shining jewel in its own way. In the very flow of life's turbulent waters we find a certain solid grounding.

    That does not mean we are "perfect" (nothing in the world really is), or ever will be. It simply means we are a shining jewel, minor flaws and all ... perfectly imperfect, imperfectly perfect ... even as we try to polish what we can, accept what small chips we cannot.

    I grew up in a very tumultuous home situation ... and suffered with personal fears, depression and low esteem for years until finding this beautiful way we Practice.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-13-2014 at 04:08 AM.

  3. #3
    Very wonderful !
    Thank you dear Troy And dear Jundo

    Gassho _/|\_

  4. #4
    Thank you Troy. I hope this practice has helped you along with your self esteem. It has certainly helped with mine.



    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Thank you Troy!
    I checked out the website you are refering to, many helpful advice in there.

    When sitting shikantaza we accept ourselves as we are and truly see who we are. Seeing that one has a low self esteem and lack of self compassion is the biggest and most important step. One can fake a good self esteem but that makes one cocky and maybe hurtful to other peoples.
    A real self esteem has room for others to.
    I really have to work on this.

    Gassho, Kantai

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo for your wise words.

    Yes, this practice has brought me a lot of healing and continues to do so. I am so thankful for it!!

  7. #7
    Thank you for sharing Troy ... my life too has had many ruff spots, but this beautiful practice has been my anchor in those turbulent seas. The one thing that I have learned over the years is this practice has shown me that what I am looking for is already here, i just needed to see it. =)


  8. #8
    Troy, thank you very much for posting this. And Jundo, thank you for adding. As Shingen and Troy both said, I too have found this practice to be healing and an anchor in dealing with some very tough things in my life. I am so very thankful for Treeleaf and for having the opportunity to practice here.

    I was raised very strict Christian, where one is expected to be perfect, or at least continue to strive, strive, strive to be perfect--give more to god, read your bible more, act better, don't do this and this and this etc. etc. etc. I know now everyone has this experience with Christianity, but this was mine and coming to Treeleaf has helped have a huge weight off my shoulders. Funny thing is, I am not really much different in the sense that I haven't gone wild and done anything crazy, but my mind is gentler. And when it falls back into those old ways of thinking again, I come back to this practice again and again.


  9. #9
    Thank you for those wise and beautiful words Shingen

  10. #10

    Self Esteem

    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    Treeleaf (and Buddhism in general) has helped have a huge weight off my shoulders
    I completely agree. It is like I have been carrying this large rock around my whole life and have finally found a place to set it down.

  11. #11
    A lovely post Troy, thank you.
    I am especially encouraged by the section regarding the childhood experiences that contribute to self-esteem.
    Raising my boys mindfully ( and accepting when I am not) is an enormous part of my practice.
    There is nothing like an argument with my 11 year old to bring the self's "little games" into play.
    A wonderful opportunity.

  12. #12
    The verse's of atonement have been very helpful. Everyday I atone and start fresh. This practice has taken a weight off, while at the same time showing how deep and strong unskillful habits and behaviors can be. I know everything is whole and perfect as is, and have gotten better at not getting drawn into a personal narrative , but there is also a sharper awareness of the effect my behavior has on others, and it is felt more deeply.

    Gassho Daizan
    Last edited by RichardH; 05-18-2014 at 10:24 PM.

  13. #13
    Thanks for sharing. Lots of wise words here. I always aim to accept myself, with nothing to add or take away, while still trying to 'improve' (if that makes sense). It is, as Jundo told me, hearing from both ears. I am very critical of myself, but I am learning to be compassionate towards myself and others.

    If you are compassionate towards yourself, it will soon be extended towards others too! It is like having a light inside of you, which will shine out when nurtured enough!


  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Heion View Post
    If you are compassionate towards yourself, it will soon be extended towards others too! It is like having a light inside of you, which will shine out when nurtured enough!
    Wonderful and true words Heion. =)


  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    and have gotten better at not getting drawn into a personal narrative
    Daizan, do you mean you've gotten better at avoiding investing in the construct of self, generally? thank you, gassho

    and neither are they otherwise.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie View Post
    Raising my boys mindfully ( and accepting when I am not) is an enormous part of my practice.
    Yes, me too. I have grown in so many ways because of my children. :-)

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Oheso View Post
    Daizan, do you mean you've gotten better at avoiding investing in the construct of self, generally? thank you, gassho

    Hi Oheso. I've gotten better at not believing it, so it is not so rigid. I still frequently get caught up in self-view.. even just here on this board, taking things personally and so forth. Still, by degrees, it has gotten better. Sometimes this practice seems to be about dropping the scenarios I am always creating. It's a relief. The atoning practice helps a lot.

    Gassho Daizan

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