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Self Esteem: Only You Are Responsible

self esteem


Self Esteem: Only You Are Responsible

Are you often anxious about how you perform and how you look? Are your good feelings dependent upon how others feel about you? Who is responsible for your self esteem – you or others?

“At work, every time I have to speak at meetings, I get so stressed.”

“I’m taking a class and I’m always afraid to raise my hand and ask a question.”

“I’m fine one to one, but as soon as I get into a group, I’m so tense I can hardly stand it.”

“I’m totally relaxed with my women friends, but as soon as I’m with a guy I like, I can’t be myself.”

Each of these people is anxious and stressed, because they want to get approval and avoid disapproval. What are they telling themselves that is causing their anxiety?

“Oh God, I better not forget what I want to say and make a fool of myself.”

“The teacher might think the question I want to ask is a dumb one.”

“If I say the wrong thing, no one will like me.”

“I better not say something completely stupid.”

Each of these people is telling themselves things that are causing anxiety, and underneath these self-judgmental statements is a deeper belief:

“If I say or do something wrong or stupid, they won’t like me, and that means I am not okay.”

The need for approval, and the fear of disapproval, comes from the belief that others are responsible for your worth. If they like you, you are okay, and if they don’t like you, you are not okay.

If you are a person who seeks others’ approval, then you have made others responsible for your sense of worth.

Imagine that you have a child, and instead of loving this child, you keep giving the child away to others to define. You keep saying to this child, “You better do it right because if they don’t like you, then you are not okay.” The result would be that the child would feel very insecure and unlovable, because you keep giving him or her away to others for approval.

When you make others responsible for your sense of worth, you are doing the same thing on the inner level – giving away your own inner child. Instead of defining your own worth, you are making others responsible for this.

This is a very hard way to live. You have to constantly try to figure out what someone else wants of you, to get approval and avoid disapproval. Your good and bad feelings are dependent upon how you look and how you perform, so you have to be constantly on your toes.

What if you were to take on the responsibility of defining your own worth? How would you go about doing this?

One of the problems in defining your own worth is that you may have been programmed to see yourself through the eyes of your parents, teachers, siblings and peers. If, when you were growing up, you got judged, criticized, rejected or ridiculed, you may have incorporated others’ images of you into your own mind. This unloving treatment contributes to the development our wounded self – our programmed ego mind. You can’t define your own worth and lovability from that place; you need to define yourself through the eyes of love, not the eyes of judgment.

Start with imagining an older, wiser part of you, or imagine a person from your childhood who really loved you. Imagine that you can see yourself as a child through the eyes of this other person, or through the older, wiser part of you. What do you see? Can you see your innocence, your lovingness, your sense of wonder, your creativity, your aliveness? Open to seeing who you are in your essence – your true Self.

If you practice seeing who you really are – not who you are in your wounded programmed self, but who you are in your essence Self – you will start to value your own beautiful essence. As you value your essence, you will start to treat yourself in kinder, more loving ways.

The more you do this as part of your Inner Bonding practice, the better you will feel about yourself and the less you will seek approval from others. In time and with practice, you will find yourself feeling so much happier and more peaceful!

[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]


CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.

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