You can't begin to live a spiritual life unless you value and respect yourself and other people. Article explains how to build your self esteem and respect.
Silence your inner critic
Are you always putting yourself down and making light of your achievements? Or perhaps you appear endlessly bubbly and overly confident but this masks private fears of inadequacy? If you don't value yourself, you cannot expect anyone else to appreciate you, either. Learning to silence your inner critic and respect yourself is an essential part of being able to live a more spiritual life.
Self esteem is about accepting yourself and behaving in a way that shows others that you value yourself without being egotistical. Respecting yourself will increase your personal power and makes you feel more confident on a soul level. It's deeper than the temporary high you get from a compliment or a flirtation. This is because learning to respect yourself requires a permanent change in you, rather than being dependant upon other people to give you self worth.
Your inner critic is the nagging voice that gnaws away at your self esteem, telling you you'll never be good enough; you can't do it; you'll make a fool of yourself if you try. It may be the legacy of a critical parent, negative comments from negative people, or internal fears that you have created in your mind, which are holding you back. The trouble is if you are constantly telling yourself and other people that you are not good enough, eventually that will become your reality. The way you present yourself is the way people will view you. Whenever you hear the critical voice inside your head, don't allow it to build. Take a moment to pause and consider how irrational your self criticism is; turn the negatives around into positives in your mind.
Inner critic says: 'Nobody wants to listen to your opinion' Silence the critic: 'I have the right to express my views'
Inner critic says: 'You are unattractive' Silence the critic: 'I accept myself'
Inner critic says: 'You'll never succeed' Silence the critic: 'I will focus on my goals'
Building self esteem Although a poor self image can be deeply ingrained, you can learn to change your thought patterns in the following ways: 1) Be active not passive Instead of avoiding taking on a task because you fear failure, be brave and give it a try. Others will respect you for making the attempt even if you don't succeed. 2) Accept yourself There will always be someone who seems to have more than you do - more money, better looks, and a more successful career. But if you spend your time negatively comparing yourself to them, you're losing the chance to improve your own life now. 3) Take responsibility You are in control of how others perceive you. Smile and be friendly, even if you don't feel like it, and you will find that people will respond more warmly to you, making you feel happier and raising your self esteem. 4) Speak out Your constructive opinions are valid. If you are seeking to help others or add positive input to a conversation, don't be afraid to say your piece. 5) Find your purpose Self esteem will come naturally if you find your true vocation in life. Doing something you're good at is life affirming, whether it's raising your children, having a career or trying out your talent (for sport or something creative) in your spare time. 6) Be true to yourself Don't pretend to be somebody you're not. Taking on a false persona might raise your confidence temporarily but it means your hiding from your true self.
Respect Yourself Having healthy self esteem is about getting the balance right. You need to believe in your abilities but without becoming egotistical. Be kind to yourself; you wouldn't talk down to a friend and tell them they are stupid or a failure - so don't do it to yourself. Treat yourself with compassion. Equally, don't let your ego rule you. Boasting about how fabulous you are is not a sign of self esteem; it's a sign of insecurity.
If someone pressures you to do something, this is a clear indication that you should not rush to please them but you should stop to consider whether this action is for your good. If someone withdraws affection or mocks you for not doing what they want, their love was never real in the first place. With friends, suggest a compromise instead of automatically bowing to what other people demand.
Be Respected You may not realise it, but the way others treat you is often the way you allow yourself to be treated. If you don't respect yourself, you cannot expect others to respect you. If you give your affections away too easily or if you act as if you don't value yourself, some people will take advantage of your low self esteem.
Of course, you in turn should treat others with respect, even if their views and lifestyle choices clash with your own.
Try this visualisation... *Sit in a safe, quiet place. Close your eyes. *Think of three good qualities that you have, such as kindness, compassion, knowledge, communicating well with people, patience etc *Imagine yourself using these talents. *How do you feel? What are you doing? Who is with you? *Let the positive feelings that come from using these talents wash over you. Know that you are a unique and valuable person.