A manual for a more stable self-esteem
Do you know the one thing I get to read the most in those countless emails I receive every day? It’s this question:
“Where do I begin?”
Where should you start when you’re unhappy, or at least not content, with yourself and your life? In which direction should you start your journey?
Today’s article is all about these questions. I would like to show you the first step to RAISE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS towards one of the biggest problems of unhappy people.
A habit which diminishes our self-esteem every day, which takes away every chance of being happier and more self-confident. Without even needing another person to “help” us be miserable because we’re doing all the destructive work ourselves.
Identification with the evil?
Google saves a lot of our data. As a web administrator, I get to see a minuscule part of it, namely the data concerning my website. That’s why I can, for example, see where my website’s visitors come from.
One of the most common search requests, which leads people to my website, is the following question:
Am I depressed?
And that’s fatal! Do you want to know why? Let me rewind for a second.
Have you ever heard the sentence “Don’t take it so personally” in a discussion? Most of the time, we hear this sentence when other people think that we feel personally attacked by what they just said.
However, often nobody actually wanted to attack us, even if we feel attacked. Mostly, it’s about facts. About changeable, outer circumstances, which have NOTHING to do with ourselves (our inner self).
But sometimes, it’s really hard to draw a clear line between facts and our personality. Between what’s WITHIN our personal control zone and what we believe is OUT OF OUR REACH.
I’m not an exception to this. Everyone has their own weaknesses, and simple words can cause us to fall into an emotional downward spiral which leads us to making stupid decisions.
When we feel attacked within our PERSONALITY, all hell breaks loose! Nothing hurts us more than THAT. Because we can’t directly change our personality. Never. Even with good intentions.
“I want to be less lazy.”
“I want to be more disciplined.”
“I want to be more attractive.”
Nothing is going to work, and do you want to know why? Because of a small but mighty difference in the way we put those “intentions”. Putting them this way means we want to change our PERSONALITY.
“But we can’t (directly) change our personality.
What we CAN change is our BEHAVIOUR and our CIRCUMSTANCES (=facts).
When we change our behaviour, HABITS will form.
And our habits will then build our personality.”
Have you heard this sentence before? There’s so much truth in it. Because it conveys something that’s really important: Even if you cannot change your personality right now (you don’t have to, you’re perfect, just the way you are NOW), you can still change your behaviour. With baby steps. That way, your personality will change automatically, too.
By the way: Do you know what “personality” means? It derives from the Greek word “persona”, which was the mask that actors wore in ancient times.
Thus, your personality is a “MASK” for the outer world. What others see of you.
But that’s just half the truth. There are always TWO personalities:
- The mask which others see of you.
- The mask which you see of YOURSELF.
The mask WE see OURSELVES gives us a sense of security. It makes us feel stable and gives us an idea of WHO we are. It provides us with an identity. Our mask, the way WE see it, has rarely anything to do with how we are ACTUALLY perceived by others. Our mask is made up of different images.
- A small part is what we REALLY are.
- Partly it’s who we would LIKE to be.
- Partly it’s what OTHERS tell us about ourselves (which we just accept as the truth).
- A big part is what we think we’re NOT ALLOWED TO BE (which, of course, we “are not”, according to our thoughts).
- And a big part is who we (subconsciously) believe we HAVE TO BE.
That’s why we react so sensitively when someone else “assumes” something about our personality, which in OUR perception is not part of our personality at all. Then our identity starts to crumble. The sense of security, which we connect with our personality, vanishes. We feel naked, vulnerable, disorientated. Our subconscious, as needy for security as it is, reacts by being diffusely defensive, and we often fall into this emotional downward spiral, which has us doubting everything.
And that’s where we come full circle…
How YOUR persona reduces your self-esteem
Your personality (=the mask that YOU see) is not changeable. Its attention is always on who you THINK you are (which persona you’ve got). Apart from other people’s words, it’s mainly your own choice of words which influences this.
It’s what you keep telling yourself OVER AND OVER AGAIN which you end up believing. It’s what you keep telling your consciousness AND your subconscious which will stick with you. It will automatically look for evidence and will ALWAYS find it. Even the bible says, “He who seeks shall find.”
- If, from your early childhood on, you’ve been told that a “real man” doesn’t play with dolls, you will eventually believe it and defend this “truth”. At the latest when your own son shows an increasing interest in dolls.
- If, from your early childhood on, your family have told you that foreigners are the source of all evil, you will believe it. It doesn’t mean that you’re automatically a Nazi but you will physically feel mistrust, anger and fear towards foreigners.
- If all you’ve ever heard is that Allah is the only true god and those who “don’t believe” are a threat to the world’s welfare, you will believe it, and you may even feel compelled to “defend” the world (as your religion sees it).
- If you keep hearing that you’re constantly making mistakes, you’re never good enough and your opinion means nothing, then you will believe it. Your brain will start finding “proof” for this (=every situation in which you’re making a mistake or in which your opinion is not accepted by others).
At the end of the day, it will be YOU who makes sure that you NEVER forget this, by subconsciously recognising every mistake and every rejection as a sign for being “worthless”, “useless” or “unimportant”.
When re-reading the sentences above, you might recognize the difference which I want to point out in this newsletter:
“…in which you MAKE mistakes.”
“…you ARE useless.”
THIS is where the problem lies. And it’s exactly this why the search request “Am I depressed” is so fatal.
If you see your depression (or any other weakness) as PART OF YOUR PERSONALITY (=your identity), you will BELIEVE that it is part of your personality. Unchanging. That way, you’re taking every chance to feel motivated, alive and optimistic, to feel that you can take your life into your own hands, away from you, because in your subconscious, you’ll believe that YOU (with your personality) are the way you are when you’re feeling low. That those negative spirals are part of you as a person.
Eventually, you won’t be able to recognize that “depression” is a solvable problem (which it is, I am the living proof for this. And by far not the only one). Instead, you’ll “recognize” that YOU are the problem, every time.
Which is simply not true. If you had known how to properly care for your body and mind, you wouldn’t have got that depression. But that doesn’t mean that depression is your “fault”. You’ve always done what YOU believed to be right. With the knowledge that was accessible to you at that moment in time. With the experience that you had in that moment.
Unfortunately, we don’t learn how to “be happy” at school. It’s life that forces us to do so. Some of us experience it earlier, some later. But sooner or later, we’re all forced to learn how to “be happy”, even when facing big hurdles.
“You” are not the “problem”. The circumstance, which led to you having depression, is not set in stone, either. It’s changeable.
With baby steps. And yes, with setbacks, too. But also, with successes. Until your life has reached a new level in which you’ve learned to see the mask of your personality the way you TRULY are.
If you know who you TRULY are, you won’t collapse like a house of cards every single time your identity is questioned. You will realize early on that you’re ABSOLUTELY lovable, beautiful and very intelligent. You’ll just KNOW that you’re perfectly fine, IN THIS MOMENT, JUST the way you are.
You may not be perfect. But then again, who is…
You can take the first step towards more self-confidence and an established self-esteem right now. Ask yourself:
“Where do I label my PERSONALITY? When do I relate something changeable to MYSELF instead of those changeable actions and circumstances?”
Are you depressed? Or do you have depression?
Are you worthless? Or do you sometimes make mistakes, just like anyone else?
Are you really unattractive and not lovable? Or have you just not let those people in who can accept you the way you are? As opposed to those people who simply prefer other traits, just like you can’t love everyone, either.
Are you “fat”? Or do you just carry a few extra pounds at the moment?
Are you anorexic? Or do you suffer from anorexia (which you can conquer)?
Are you a “bitch” or an “asshole”? Or do you just sometimes express your opinion in an undiplomatic and thoughtless way when vouching for your own needs?
Are you a pervert? Or do you just have preferences which other people prefer not to talk about?
Are you really stupid? Or were you just confronted with something you simply don’t know just yet?
I think that’s a lot of fuel for thought for today, so I’ll leave it at that.