Many people suffer from low self-esteem. The surprising discovery many psychologists are now making is that this low self-esteem is often accompanied by another characteristic which is equally debilitating for the victims of this kind of thinking. In addition to low self-esteem, people who suffer from this problem also carry with them a defense mechanism deep inside themselves that is used as a way of trying to combat what they see as their character defects.
People who suffer from low self-esteem typically accept the idea that they are a “victim” of the world. They feel that they have somehow been cheated and they become angry and point their finger at others in order to feel better. The use of positive self affirmations is often misused as a way of asserting ourselves against an imaginary enemy that no longer exists and merely strengthens the illusion that there is something out there that is trying to hurt us. This is not the way the self-affirmations were meant to be used.
There is a victim mentality in many of us who suffer from low self-esteem which tends to keep us feeling sorry for ourselves and provides a secret “enjoyment” for us within our psyche. This is done, seemingly, so that we can still love ourselves but it does not really help us in the long term because it merely keeps the old cycle going wherein we view ourselves as a victim and continue to feel like a “loser”. We only remain similar to the way they have always been and the self-affirmations have no effect. In order to make a real change and to utilize the true power it, many modern-day techniques now encourage people with low self esteem to also look more closely at the manner in which they see themselves as a “victim” in the world. This victim psychology must also be let go of if the more positive self-affirmations are to truly raise a person’s self esteem.
As human beings, we love to see ourselves in a positive light as a person who is good or special or helpful to the world. Although it should be enough for us to simply view ourselves as exactly what we are, we insist on seeing ourselves as somehow “better” than what we are and to engineer elaborate ideas in our minds which will make us appear like something more. What is wrong with who we are? Who told us we were bad in the first place? Rather than believing we are bad and working very hard to “increase” our self esteem, the more useful strategy is simply to become comfortable with exactly what IS and to sit still in our chairs and observe who we are at any given moment. This is actually the logic and the meaning behind disciplined meditation.
Although self-affirmations are useful for getting us away from the destructive behavior we may have fallen into, they are not the end-all solution to raising our self-esteem. Part of a problem with a positive self-affirmation is the hidden assumption that there is something wrong with us to begin with which, in itself, is part of the problem and something that we must observe directly if it will ever be let go of. We must practice observing the way our minds work in terms of our victim-like thinking and then we will truly be free of this low self-esteem problem.
How many times a day do we catch ourselves thinking that someone has done us wrong? Do we feel that our boss or our parents or “the government” has somehow cheated us of the things we deserve? Why have we not done anything to make our own lives better rather than blaming our problems on someone else and becoming a “victim” in our own minds? Overcoming this victim mentality is central to improving self-esteem and can oftentimes be a long road to recovery. It may require joining groups, reading books and meditating every day. Over the course of time, we begin to see ourselves as perfectly acceptable just the way we are. We no longer need to “fight” against others to win our self-esteem. We feel confident that we or ok and we have found a new way to live. Next time we feel the need for a positive self-affirmation, we may try this; “I am completely comfortable just as I am and can sit here completely still in perfect contentment as I watch my thoughts and emotions gently float by.”