It is said that self-respect is the gateway to self-esteem. It is a very simple idea really. The more we like ourselves means the more we respect ourselves. So how do you gain self respect? You gain it when you do what is right over what is easy or when you do what only makes us look good. When you don’t act this way you like yourself even less.
I recently read a book called “How to Change Anybody” by David J. Lieberman, Ph.D. and Dr. Liberman states that within everyone lies three inner forces that are at odds with each other. They are:
- The body
- The ego
- The soul
He goes on to say that the body wants to escape from life through sleep, entertainment, and endless distraction. The ego craves attention and control, and the soul wants to do what is right. Doing what is easy or comfortable is a body drive. Overindulgences of this nature include overeating or oversleeping, in effect doing or not doing something because of how it feels. An ego drive can run the gamut from making a joke at someone else’s expense to buying a car we cannot afford. In other words we do something so that we appear a certain way to others. When we are driven by ego, we do things that project the “right” image and we become consumed with power and prestige, things that many people value as ends in themselves, and not as a means to something more meaningful. Our choices become less based on what is good and more based on what makes us look good to others. When we do this we are not in control of ourselves.
However, when we make a choice to what is right rather than what makes us look good to others, we feel good about ourselves. Things like donating to a charity anonymously or helping the homeless without any of your friends or family knowing about it, you are then acting out of a sense of what is right instead of from the mindset of the ego. This is how self-respect is created and then turns into self-esteem. This is how self-esteem and self-control are intertwined. People who are not in control of themselves and what they really want have no self-respect, as they are slaves either to society or to their own impulses.
This is how a control freak is created. When a “control freak” does not get the respect from others that they hunger for, their ego’s ultimate weapon, anger, becomes engaged. It is a defense mechanism against feeling vulnerable. Anger is the illusion of control and that illusion will make them feel very powerful, when the fact of the matter is that they are really out of control. The less control a person has over themselves the more they try to control the people around them.
There are 6 Keys to Installing Self-esteem: (Yes is as simple as installing an app on your smartphone.)
- Human being need to be moving. There is no status quo in nature. In order to feel good and to feel
alive, we need to be striving, moving forward. We are hardwired to move.
- The ego needs measurable traction. There is a phrase that was coined by psychologist
Martin Seligman that exists when a person feels that since they are not in control they might as well
give up. This term is “learned helplessness.” Seligman says that people are helpless when their
actions are perceived as not influencing their outcomes. A person should feel that they have have
traction and can exert influence over themselves and change an outcome.
- A Sense of independence and autonomy. Freedom is being able to choose to do what you want
to do. When a person exercises true free will in a meaningful direction, they gain pleasure because
it moves them to emotional freedom and stability. A person should also have autonomy and the
ability to make decisions and bear the consequences.
- Meaning and a sense of permanence. Whenever a person does something that has meaning in their
life, this act becomes pleasurable. Simply put, in order to feel good about ourselves, we must feel
good about what we are doing.
- The Creative Component. We derive intense satisfaction from creative thought and action.
Creativity locks in our attention and individuality.
- Good, right, and true. A person cannot do the right thing the wrong way. Lack of integrity will
zap our energy. Self Esteem comes from doing the right thing, the good thing, and staying
true to that.