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Just Having Healthy Self-Esteem Isn’t Enough…This is Why

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Self-esteem womanRecently, I had lunch with a friend – a relatively new friend who I’m enjoying getting to know.

(Contrary to popular belief, I still believe that with intuition and openness, women can make new friends at ANY age, ladies).

Remember this post?

We were sharing with each other how, in our previous relationships, our self-esteem was so low. We swapped stories of how we gained weight, battled depression, and essentially felt like we both lost ourselves from those experiences.

For me personally, the journey out of that took a while, and has really shaped what Modernity is and is becoming/growing into.

What I’m learning, the more I study and develop the content of this site and listen to my favorite spiritual teachers, is that if we think just having “enough” self-esteem or some pre-determined amount of it will suffice and help us be our most confident, we’re wrong.

I began to question this teaching and enter into inquiry recently after watching one of my VERY favs, Eckhart Tolle, teach this idea of ego vs. healthy self-esteem the BEST way I’ve heard it. And, at the risk of me ruining the message or tainting it with my own interpretation, I’d love for you to watch it.

BRILLIANT. He explains WELL what we do and how we process self-esteem and why it’s fleeting.

Pay attention especially around the 2 minute mark (where he talks about comparison), the 3 1/2 minute mark (where he talks about where this mindset originates), the 7 minute mark (where he talks about where true esteem and power comes from), and the 9 1/2-minute mark (where he talks about low self-esteem).

Terms you may not recognize (don’t be intimidated by these terms just because you’ve never heard them or they’re different language than what you’re used to):

  • “form” – basically anything that has form to it. House, car, clothes, job, business, money, clients, etc. Identifying with anything that “has form”.
  • “The formless” – The eternal; what’s eternal; what’s NOT “in form” or of the world; God
  • “Transcendence” – just means “to climb” or “rise above”. Transcendence comes from the Latin prefix trans-, meaning “beyond,” and the word scandare, meaning “to climb.” When you achieve transcendence, you have gone beyond ordinary limitations. The word is often used to describe moving beyond physical needs and realities. A great example of this idea in our daily life is fasting (or refraining from certain things on purpose). When we fast food or chocolate or tv or certain types of music, we’re attempting to move beyond physical needs and realities that we would normally cater to. (Again, not a scary word!)

Seriously, doesn’t he have the cutest little laugh? lol…. Love it!

Essentially, what he’s saying is that, it’s okay to feel confident or have a healthy outlook of ourselves as it relates to the things we possess, own, or have. (Because it does feel rewarding and take work to obtain these things).

But, in the end, that’s not the lifeblood of the self-esteem – or it needn’t be if we want it to be sustainable. So ours (yours and my) self-esteem has to start with self (no hyphen) esteem. What we know within about who we are in a much deeper place and perspective. i.e. what would I be without my business or my income or my job or my inner circle or accomplishments? What exists before anything of form, and am I in tune with that?

And if your answer is “I’ve never thought about it” or “I’m not sure”, there’s no judgement happening here today – this is why we learn these things – so we can question them and explore them.

There has to be more to why we feel the healthy self-esteem or confidence about who we are and what we’re here to do.

I’ll take any questions or thoughts you might have in the comments about this topic, and thank you for reading, watching, and being here!

Tamisha

Photography by Erik Madigan Heck

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