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Self Esteem

The Practice of Loving the Self

It is through our daily practice to affirm our worth, have compassion and unconditional warm regard for the self despite our imperfections as humans that creates healing. It is not defining ourselves by thinking we are better than others because of our gifts and that we are not less than others because of our short comings. It is living in the “same as position” with others. This is a spiritual practice of living in acceptance rather than judgment.

The first way to deal with self esteem is to throw out the idea that our worth comes from performance, a career that we have, or attributes that we have been born with or created and acquired in our lifetime. In our culture we buy into to concepts that give more worth to individuals that have acquired these things which can be deadly especially if someone loses their job, home etc. If we hold our worth by accomplishments and attributes only then we become socially worthless.

So the task is to realize that worth exists, but that it is equally distributed and immutable. Everyone at birth has one unit of human worth, absolutely equal to everyone else’s unit of worth. No matter what happens in your life, no matter what you do or is done to you, your human worth can’t be diminished or increased. Nobody is worth more or less than anybody else.

One way to look at our worth or self esteem is through the lens of compassion. It exposes the essence of your humanness. Through the struggle of living we come to realize that we are all in the same boat. That there are times of pain, and yet we carry on, seeking whatever emotional and physical sustenance that is available. It is important that we “carry on” in the face of all the pain, past and to come, we continue to struggle. So when we let this awareness soak in, if we let ourselves really feel the struggle, we may begin to get a glimmer of our real worth. It is the force, the life energy that keeps us trying.

So having compassion for ourselves and our journey is the beginning of acceptance of us despite our flaws and imperfections. It is through carrying on with our best intentions. Despite our mistakes, we are doing a good job – because it is the best job we can do. Our mistakes and the pain that follows teach us. It becomes possible to accept everything we do without judgment because every minute of our life we are engaged in the inescapable struggle of being human.

Ultimately we can forgive and let go our failures and mistakes because we have already paid for them. It is our condition that we do not always know the best way – and even knowing the way, we may not have the resources to follow it. Our worth or self esteem is that we are born into this place. And that we continue to live with compassion and warm regards for ourselves, despite the enormous difficulty of life.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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