People of today grow up with unfortunate, self-esteem degrading messages.
Our media culture slaps humor on top of it in sitcoms or dresses it up in passionate looking cologne ads, but the underlying meaning is the same: who you are as a man is dangerous, perverted and not enough.
The breakdown that is happening to the modern male psyche is creating a serious displacement of masculine power and vulnerability in our world today. There are so few places that men feel truly welcomed and even fewer places where they feel they belong.
I grew up in a violent home where there was a daily psychological breakdown of my sense of self. I was made to believe that I possessed no intrinsic value and that everything I did only brought on more disgrace and shame.
As I grew older, I became afraid that everything my tormentor told me was right: that I was worthless, cowardly, slutty, selfish and stupid.
Any time we are put down, rejected or exiled, there is a shattering of our inherent self-esteem. The pieces scatter and we cannot go backward in time to retrieve the lost pieces of ourselves.
We cannot change our past, but we can bear witness to and utilize our pain to help us move forward powerfully.
The Difference between Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence
The difference between self-esteem and self-confidence is an important one.
Self-confidence is to have trust or faith in our abilities. It is about how well we perform, the quality of our work, our ability to connect, or our love making skills, in relation to others.
Self-confidence is born from the strategies and tactics which, in ideal circumstances, we would learn from our parents and community as we grow up.
Most of us did not grow up in the ideal and we’ve had to teach ourselves to have confidence in our abilities as adults. While this is incredibly important, I have seen men build confidence every way to Wednesday and still lack fulfillment.
The trick to creating fulfillment is to first build self-esteem then self-confidence.
The etymology of the word esteem is ‘to value’. Self-esteem, then, is how much value or worth we place on ourselves.
Unlike self-confidence which grows based on our achievements in relation to other, self-esteem is rooted in belonging to the whole.
When we have a unique offering, and it is needed in the whole, we feel an inherent sense of value.
Self-esteem happens when you give your true self to where it is most needed in the world.
One Powerful Strategy & Instant Self-Esteem Boosting
How do we find the gifts of our true self?
To retrieve the power of your genius, look within your pain.
The strategy looks like this:
- Find the Pain (words): Write down the top 3 most hurtful words anyone has ever said to you
- Specificity: Go deeper with each one, be specific about what the words were directed at (what were you doing or being in the moment?)
- Positive Replacement: If you could replace the hurtful-vomit-words with a positive version or a compliment – what would the positive replacement words be? (Try completing the sentence, “It’s okay that ______ . or, I like that ______ .)
- Simplify: Simplify #3 until you the positive replacement quality that is 1-5 words in length – this is one of the gifts of your true self
This powerful strategy uncovers the deepest gifts you have to offer.
**Please note, however, that the instant self-esteem boost happens not when you uncover the gift, but when you give it to someone who needs it most. **
I’ve completed a quick example of my own to show you how it’s done:
- The Pain (word): chicken-shit
- Specificity: when I visibly expressed any fear or anxiety, especially when going to a social situation
- Positive replacement: It’s okay that you feel nervous. It’s good to feel what you feel – that way you can be honest with yourself and what you need.
- Simplify: I am honest or I am authentic
Instant Self-Esteem Boost: When I give the gift of my authenticity (which is insanely vulnerable!), people tell me it makes them feel safe, free and deeply connected, and when they tell me this it shows me the positive impact I create, it lets me know how valuable I am, and it increases my sense of self worth.
That means wherever safety, freedom and connection are needed is where I and my authenticity belong.
Our intrinsic gifts are not merely the opposite of what ever hurtful things people said to us, but are a deeper extraction of our true nature qualities that at some point caused social or familial exile.
What is important is not so much that exile happens because at some point in everyone’s life we feel outcast or alone. What is important is that we can come back to our selves fully when it does.
Give your Gifts Away. Starting Now.
Find a homeless shelter and volunteer for one hour, bring flowers just to say ‘you’re lovely and thanks for all you do’, buy a coffee for the guy in line behind you.
Do something kind and compassionate; implement your gift to help one person who really needs it today.
Remember, when you give your gifts away to people who need it, it becomes strikingly apparent how powerful you really are and your self-esteem increases naturally.
Commitments Solidify Learning.
Part of building self-esteem is committing to something greater than yourself for the sake of something greater than yourself.
Leave a comment below the blog and tell us what you’re going to do TODAY that is kind and compassionate display of your true gifts.
Originally appeared at ChristinMyrick.com
Previously published on Goodmenproject.com