Many people believe that high self-esteem is something that they have to build up in themselves, for example by saying positive affirmations to themselves. The idea is that this effort will somehow build up a part of their mind that they feel does not exist. However, from a Buddhist perspective it is not necessary to make such an effort.
Buddhist scriptures tell us that we are already pure and good inside – that it is our basic nature. We all are ‘made of’ this inner goodness which is simply covered up by the negative beliefs that we hold about ourselves. So, all we need to do is to remove our inner negativity which will reveal our natural goodness that was there all along.
How can we get rid of our negative beliefs about ourselves?
The good news is that it is not necessary to say hundreds of positive affirmations daily. Positive self-esteem can be achieved much more easily than that. We simply have to stop saying horrible things to ourselves. I call this the ‘thought diet’. Just like we should stop eating junk-food, we should equally stop saying horrible things to ourselves like, ‘I was never good at anything!’ or ‘I am so ugly!’ Every time a negative thought ‘knocks at the door of our mind’ we refuse to finish thinking those hurtful thoughts to the end. Instead, we remember how a loving mother would love and comfort her unhappy child and we envelop ourselves in that same caring feeling and focus on it until the self-destructive thought has disappeared.
‘How can I love myself if I am still so imperfect?’
In order to answer this question we need to remember how a loving mother would love her less-than-perfect child. Surely, she would not stop loving her daughter if she has problems to get on with friends or
if she is not the brightest girl in her class. On the contrary, she would love and comfort her daughter more – not less. In exactly the same way, we give love to ourselves with all our hang-ups and problems. There is no negativity within us – no weakness, no ugliness, no shortcoming that cannot be enveloped by our own motherly love.
The Buddha said, 'you yourself deserve as much love as every other being in the universe!'
We have to send love to ourselves every single time we feel our negative thoughts and feelings arise and I can promise you that it will only take a few days or weeks until we feel much more confident. Will this simple advice for restoring our self-confidence work for everybody? All I can say is that I have worked with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people and every single one of them achieved dramatically increased self-esteem by working in this way within a matter of weeks.
Tara Springett M.A. has been a counselor since 1988 and a Buddhist teacher since 1997. She is the author of The Five-Minute Miracle, Soulmate Relationships and Advanced Manifesting. Her website is: www.taraspringett.com.
For more information about letting go of self-destructive patterns and gain more self-confidence please refer to Tara's book, The Five-Minute Miracle.