What a week of balancing the need to radically take care of myself and to contribute to others last week was!
It’s funny how I often hear people saying that the only way of esteeming oneself is by contributing. By doing good for others.
Because this is not true. You also need to do good for yourself.
And finding the balance between these two is the key. Cause how can you really do good for others, if you yourself are in need? How can you give from an empty pot?
Yes, giving to others does not empty the pot, it also fills the pot. But if you’re not in a good situation, you do need to help yourself, too.
Esteeming yourself is both taking care of yourself and taking care of others. The wisdom lies in knowing which one to focus on and when.
Before identifying how to esteem oneself, I’d like to change the narrative right in the beginning. Instead of a feeling, let’s view self-esteem as an act for the best of your own wellbeing.
When we view self-esteem as a feeling, it seems like we’re doomed to be in the mercy of our feelings. And that there’s little we can do about it as feelings make a tricky master (but an excellent servant).
But what happens if self-esteem is an act for the best of your own wellbeing?
It opens up a possibility to actually affect our self-esteem. With every action you’re able to choose whether you act for the best of your wellbeing or not. Whether you esteem yourself or not.
And if you chose to not esteem yourself with your last action, to not act for the best of your wellbeing, you’re still able to change the situation around with your next action.
What does this mean to you?
What possibilities just opened up for you?
Thinking this way has changed the game for many of my clients. And for myself, too! Let me know, if you’d like some assistance in the process.
As I often get a question about how to esteem oneself, and cause there’s no one right answer, I ask you these three questions to help you identify what works for you at the moment and helps you to esteem yourself.
- Is it important to you, or do you often consider what other people think of you?
- Are you constantly looking for the approval of other people?
- Do you always put other people’s needs in front of your own?
Be honest with yourself in your answers.
If you answer yes to all of these, it’s clear that you need to esteem yourself by radically taking care of yourself and your own needs. Meaning, putting yourself first in your priority list.
If you answer no to all of these questions, it’s clear that you need to contribute to others to esteem yourself. Meaning that you put other people’s needs in front of your own for a while.
Because self-esteem is the golden mean in the continuum of esteeming yourself. On one extreme is the way of being where one has always put everyone else’s needs in front of her or his own. And on the other extreme is the way of being where one puts her or his own needs always before other people’s needs.
Well, the path to that golden mean is obviously different from each of the extreme. The same thing can’t work for everyone.
If a person, who always prioritizes other people’s needs before her own, is trying to esteem herself by contributing and doing even more for other people, it only leads her further away from the golden mean.
And if a person, who always puts her own needs before others’, tries to esteem herself by prioritizing herself even more, she also only ends up further away from the golden mean.
Clearly, both require different actions to esteem themselves.
Just notice, that the side of the extreme you come from is not constant. It can change from one situation to another. Check in with yourself regularly to be aware of what is needed to esteem yourself and be willing to put in the effort.