CONTENTS

Self esteem evaluation test
Is anything more vital?
What is it actually?
What is its basis?
The role of unrealistic expectations
Getting to a higher level
Where did we get it?
Outdated and ineffectual
Exacerbating practices and beliefs
Convert the supporting pillars
The benefits of being released from low esteem
Impossible to prove
Go in through the cause not the symptom
Confidence/self-esteem readings 
Self-Esteem Affirmations Main Page
Resources 
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CONFIDENCE MUST BE "BUILT" ON A SOLID FOUNDATION

Affirmations are "air" - helpful in terms of being positive but not powerful if they are not backed up with reality.  See Using Affirmations Effectively.

To be confident, you must not only have the pieces together but you must have the core together, which is backing it with true competence.  While this is true of any area, the very first area we must have, as it is at the very core of it all, is "life competency" or "life capability" as it is called in some cases.

Life competency is the ability to do well in emotional management, management of your energy, sufficient relationship competence, problem solving, and allocation of your time and energy.

Don't finish with doing your learning and implementation until you are at Ultimate Confidence


YOU CAN'T BE HAPPY WITHOUT THIS

You can change your "regard for yourself" (self esteem) by correcting beliefs and by straightening out your thinking to match reality (as in the Barksdale pieces, provided free of charge).  This is eliminating the "negative" side.

But if there is no "substance" behind your positivity, affirmations, supportive sayings of others, and such, there will be little impact - or even possible negative effects.  (Eliminating competition or qualifications in school so that we don't "hurt the self esteem" of the kids may be one of the most harmful practices, even though it is well-intended.)

If you look at what makes a person happy, it includes feeling good about oneself (which is a part of self-esteem) and feeling good about life - but neither of those is possible unless you develop sufficient capabilities to cause predictable results that you want in life.   See Without (Basic) Life Competence You Can't Be Happy

Now read on and continue with this process until you've reached high self esteem and confidence that has substance and "straight thinking" about life and yourself.


EVALUATION TESTING AND CHARTING PROGRESS

Before embarking on improving your self esteem and/or lowering your stress level, take the Barksdale Self Esteem Evaluation Test.  You may wish also to take the Barksdale Personal Stress Evaluation.  Chart them on the forms provided on the evaluation pages. 


DISCUSSION

IS ANYTHING MORE VITAL? CAN YOU AFFORD TO DO LESS THAN "COMPLETE" THIS?

Is anything more vital than self-esteem and its related cousin, confidence?

Without a good foundation for one's self-esteem, one goes through life with a negative feeling, a negative underlying current.  And if you read the happiness pages, you'll find that "feeling good about oneself" is one of the key ingredients.
In order to achieve this you must stomp out the beliefs that are untrue around this, which requires you to get proper perspective and facts. 

It is very, very attainable by every individual.  It is absolutely attainable!  You need only go through the process of clarification that is needed, as anyone without good self-esteem is simply stuck on erroneous thinking, period!


WHAT IS IT ACTUALLY?

The definition of esteem is, in the verb form,  "to have great regard for; value highly; respect" and, in the noun form, ""favorable opinion", based on, in language, "estim" as in estimation (and opinion).

The definition of confidence:  "to have firm belief, trust, reliance; the fact of being or feeling certain, assurance; belief in one's own abilities. 

Opinion is "a belief not based on absolute certainty or positive knowledge but on what seems true, valid, or probable to one's own mind; an evaluation, impression or estimation of the quality or worth of a person or thing."

We will often have low self esteem as a byproduct of not having confidence in our own abilities to produce what we want in life.  But self-esteem has a nuance to it of not honoring oneself, because one is operating in an unrealistic paradigm of "Right/wrong, good/bad". 


WHAT WILL AFFECT MY ESTIMATION OF MYSELF?

The question, then, is "what will affect my estimation of myself?"  And I ask that question based on the vital effect on one's happiness of "having a good opinion of oneself". 

While other people's opinions and verbalizing of praise for you will have a positive effect, it is not sufficient - plus it is also not reliable, and it definitely is not controllable.  However, we waste much effort in a very low return game of contorting ourselves into whatever form will win approval from others - a foolish, foolish endeavor indeed!  

It makes more sense to go directly to the factors that we can manage in order to increase self-esteem and to eliminating the barriers that get in the way of self-esteem, not the least of which is an unknowledgeable, unrealistic viewpoint about how to look at oneself.  We'll deal with all of these - and we'll get alot more results than just repeating nice little affirmations!

The factors related to self esteem include:

1. Compassion
2. Realistic assessment (honoring the learning curve, realistic standards, self-view)
3. Acceptance of reality
4. Honoring self - and being human (its high parts, its imperfection)
5. Character, and its product:  self-confidence (aiming for ultimate confidence)
6. Eliminating erroneous thinking (using Right Thinking, eliminating blame)


WHAT IS ITS BASIS?

Lack of self esteem arises from erroneous thinking (beliefs), just as fears do. 

In fact, it is a form of a fear, based on criticism of self in order to, in some convoluted way, motivate one to do better. 

When you learn that there is no basis for blame and self-criticism (or judgment of oneself or another), then you remove a huge cloud from your life - it is the essential pillar to handle

To correct this thinking, you'll see that we've suggested a number of affirmations to help change your beliefs. 

As you study self-esteem, other issues in life will often melt away, as you begin to "think straighter" and be more powerful in life.

Where you should end up is stated in Why I Am Very Good! (Actually Great!).  Read that when you come back to go into this in more depth.  Where you are coming from now is based on the core belief that "I am not good enough."  So you need to learn how to address that(!).


THE ROLE OF UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

The unhappiness gap is created by having expectations be unrealistic so that we fall short in our doing or "being".  The solution always lies in adjusting our expectations to what is real, not having the unrealistic expectation that we will succeed all the time in meeting even those expectations, and in adjusting our estimation of ourselves to what is real and true, plus accepting when we are not operating at our level of capability.

This is one of biggest (if not the biggest) errors in thinking, causing the most unhappiness and suffering - and all for no useful purpose.  Again, it is part of the "what isn't there" syndrome.


GETTING TO A HIGHER LEVEL

Even with decent self-esteem there is a good payoff on learning more, as near perfect self-esteem will dramatically raise the quality of one's life!

Lack of self-esteem is caused by a set of beliefs about ourselves, not based in reality.  We need to change those beliefs.  We need to unlearn them and set up the opposite belief of the belief that is not working for you.  Toward that end, you would use the beliefs section, and particularly you might also read "Why You Should Read To Love Is To Be Happy With" - it's about beliefs, though it sounds like it is about relationships.           


WHERE DID WE GET IT?

Where did we learn to judge ourselves and others and to compare ourselves to others? 

The source was, of course, those close to us and, secondarily, from others around us and cultural beliefs together with a probable instinctual influence, plus we made a few bad judgments while we were too young to make good ones. 

The level of threat we feel, as indicated by the strength of the emotion, very probably is based on years of evolution where a sense of the pecking order in the tribe was helpful for survival.  At that time, it could have been useful to compare oneself with others to see if we would be useful enough to the tribe not to be kicked out and possible starve to death or be killed. 


OUTDATED AND INEFFECTUAL

However, the threat of not surviving because of being compared unfavorably has disappeared, as well as the usefulness of the "fear"/"alarm" system that evolved.  The overactivation and misappropriate reactions of the fear/alarm system in today's world has proven to be very harmful and not useful in life; without proper management, it creates excessive stress.  See Managing The Mind for how all this developed and why you should no longer let Dumb and Dumber (lizard and monkey brains) run alot of your life. 


EXACERBATING PRACTICES AND BELIEFS

Note that the fear system is often overly activated because of our practice of COMPARING AND OTHER FALSE STANDARDS As stated, we can survive perfectly well without having to compare favorably and without having to have approval.
Understanding why this is true is a key part of letting go of feeling threatened (by a falsely believed threat).  Once we learn to let go, we can just fill our own emotional tanks and become fully free by practicing self-sufficiency.

Perfection ("the path to hell") and other false standards that we can't or don't measure up to create certain failure and a means for criticizing and putting oneself down.  Correcting those standards is one of the two parts necessary to get rid of the "unhappiness gap."  See How To Create Unhappiness, which links into how to cure unhappiness.

We need to use better methods (see Loving Yourself section) and increase our understanding in order to learn to set standards that are motivating but not used for punishing.  (Punishing is an out-dated, primitive, incorrect, unworkable method to motivate people to make changes. Much of that is used in relationships: Behaviors And Practices I Do In Our Relating includes several.)  Read also The Role of Expectations In Life And In Relationships

In life we often fail to follow the principles that work - and we get frustrated and down on ourselves when things don't work - there's a lot of wasted energy plus negative emotion.  One key principle to follow is in the article:  KNOWING WHAT I CAN AND CAN'T CONTROL.

Speaking of what one can't control, we make the mistake of being driven by the need for approval. 

As one acquaintance put it "I'll have self esteem when others approve of me."   

Hold it!  Stop!   We, as with the other happiness factors, do not get it from outside ourselves.  So, a key objective on this site is to crack the false beliefs that are related to needing the approval and/or to having to have it to "be ok".    This is also discussed when we go through the "enough" concept, where we never get there, unless we make that specific change. (You can't reach "good enough" by becoming good enough!)


CONVERT THE SUPPORTING PILLARS

Know this area thoroughly and convert your basic thinking and then practice it so the brain, literally, has it wired in correctly.  Consider ordering the Barksdale materials, which I've found to be the clearest and most effective, though some may get all they need from this site.


THE BENEFITS OF BEING RELEASED FROM LOW ESTEEM

Having one's self esteem intact permits one to no longer stop oneself from taking risks or being worried about being judged.  Consequently, a greater range of activities are engaged in and done in more depth.  Confidence, primarily, is based on having some success in life and/or in a specific area.  But in order to develop that confidence, a person needs to confront problems and develop some confidence in one's ability to come out ok on the other end.  The classic low self esteem person almost always operates from a "victim" perspective, waiting for others to rescue or be nice to them - which never works - read Where Are You On The Victim Versus Cause Scale? 


IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE  

I developed a great deal of confidence in some intellectual pursuits, but I found that I still did not have self-esteem, as "proof" is not totally what self-esteem is about - one can never "prove" one's self-worth or get enough approval.   Part of what happened is that I developed so narrowly that I was not confident in other areas, such as relationships.  I also did not understand that there was no way I was going to be "good enough" unless I changed my thinking - which is the objective of this section and site.


GO IN THROUGH THE CAUSE

Low self-esteem is the symptom - and it is difficult to solve a symptom itself.  We must, instead, solve the cause.  (Read and know and believe in how Cause And Effect work.)

If one handles one's fears, as they are the basis for the thinking that underlies low self-esteem, self-esteem and confidence rise dramatically.  See the Fears section overview.  See especially the basis for fearlessness, for knowing you'll deal with whatever the outcomes are - tremendously freeing!  And one will not have low self-esteem if one has developed fearlessness. 

Life with high self-esteem is a wonderful experience, full of free self-expression, tackling alot of positive challenges, and loving and respect oneself fully, which really feels good and adds much to the Happiness Equation.



OVERALL LIFE - SUMMARY MODULES - To put this and overall life into perspective.  Why read the QuikView Overall Life Summary Modules?

     UNDERLYING BASICS OF LIFE PART I - Psychological "learning", barrier elimination
     UNDERLYING BASICS OF LIFE PART II - Creating a much more powerful way of thinking and
                                                                     living

CONFIDENCE/SELF-ESTEEM RESOURCES TO USE

I have separated these into their own page.  Confidence And Self Esteem Resources
Read and review


PIECES TO READ ON SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, ON THIS SITE

While I have cited a few below, a comprehensive listing, with links, is included in SelfEsteem, Confidence Contents/Links.  


CONFIDENCE/SELF-ESTEEM - See also Psychology, Overall;

     Read the Underlying Basics of Life Sections, as they lay a grounding basis for this.
     It is absolutely necessary that you know and accept the idea of "Internal Conversations" and
       how the process works.

READ FIRST:

                       COMPARING AND OTHER FALSE STANDARDS                                            
                       KNOWING WHAT I CAN AND CAN'T CONTROL  



READ OR USE PER INTEREST:

"Something Is Wrong With Me" - This idea is the foundation of not esteeming oneself and it must be addressed fully in order for the other methods of increasing self esteem can be as effective as possible.  It is vital that you gain a perspective on life and its many gifts - and toward that end it is vital you become an expert in seeing what is here, as in the Gratitude section - review that and become an expert without fail!
 
                        Clear Disclaimers of What Is Absolutely Not True


        Affirmations:

                       Self Esteem Affirmations  

       Confidence

                       The Confident Person - A Questionnaire

       Control

                      Choosing What To Control And Not Control - One of the key psychological concepts
                          is having a clear "locus of control", for if you're not clear you'll suffer from trying to
                          control the wrong things.
(F)                   List of What Can And Can't Control - Be very clear on this - it is very freeing!

       Judged by others

                       Handling Being Judged By Others       

        Powerful person

                       As A Powerful Person I... (See also Life Management, Creating A Whole New
                          Person and The Powerful Person)
                       Power In Life - What is power?  What are the practices and beliefs of a powerful
                            person
        Self Esteem

                      Eighteen Ways Of Perpetuating Low Self-Esteem - Check off those you do.

        Victim posture


                       Where Are You On The Victim Versus Cause Scale?  

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Repeated here, from above:

CONFIDENCE/SELF-ESTEEM RESOURCES TO USE

I have separated these into their own page.  Confidence And Self Esteem Resources
Read and review


PIECES TO READ ON SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, ON THIS SITE

While I have cited a few below, a comprehensive listing, with links, is included in SelfEsteem, Confidence Contents/Links.  









CONFIDENCE AND SELF ESTEEM
ONE OF THE THREE GREATEST HAPPINESS PRODUCERS

Back to top
KEY RELATED PIECES

SelfEsteem/Confidence   
    Contents/Links

Self-Esteem Checklist 
Self-Esteem Affirmations
Blame and self-criticism
I am not good enough
Why I Am Very Good!
Read To Love Is To Be Happy With
Stress
Managing The Mind
Comparing and other false standards
Approval 
Self-sufficiency
Perfection, The Path To Hell
How To Create Unhappiness
Expectations Life/Relationships
Control
Where Are You On The Victim
    Versus Cause Scale? 
Self-worth
Cause And Effect 

Perspective Pieces:

OVERALL LIFE - SUMMARY MODULES