Is More Self Esteem Really the Issue?

Tag: Personal Growth,Self EsteemBeth and Neill

Am I Good Enough?

self-esteem contemplation

Are you concerned that you’re not really good enough to achieve what you want– that you don’t really deserve to be happy? if this sounds familiar, then the first step is to determine what prevents you from having high self-esteem in the first place.

We believe so many people have low self-esteem because most of us grown up in cultures that use rewards and punishment as a way to get us to behave the way others want us to. As we grow up in this system we end up developing certain beliefs about ourselves. As we focus on these beliefs, we have experiences that reinforce these limiting beliefs which in turn create negative habitual thinking patterns about ourselves.

It’s the same as when you want a new car, as soon as you pick the exact model you want you begin to notice that car everywhere.

It’s no different when you focus your attention on yourself. If you think there’s no way you’re good enough to get what you want, it’s guaranteed you’ll notice yourself not being good enough to get what you want again and again.

Experience the Difference

These negative beliefs you create about yourself, prevent you from having confidence in what you can achieve. They also dramatically limit the possibilities you have about what you can do and who you see yourself to be. As you become more and more conscious of these limiting beliefs, the sooner you’re able to create more of what you want in your life. This is how you raise self-esteem–by having experiences that prove you are competent and able to achieve what you set out to do.

Power Up Your Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem Today!

Today, start paying attention to what you’re thinking. Anytime you feel uncomfortable, Ask yourself the question: “What negative belief is preventing me from enjoying this moment?” if you find one… start focusing your attention on something you enjoy in the situation, even if it’s something small. Because what you focus your attention on will grow.

Our goal is to support you in creating a life you love. We know we’re not the only ones with great ideas or have found ways that might support you. For this reason, from time to time we introduce you to others and their posts that we’ve enjoyed and think you might as well.

Here are a few other people talking about self-esteem and what they’ve discovered. Enjoy!

With love,


The Problem With Building High Self Esteem – But the problem that we describe as “low self esteem” is actually a fear that we aren’t really worthy. It’s about feelings of low self worth. And that’s why we react so strongly and with such emotion. Healthy self esteem is the ability …

Living Passionately Radio Show – 09/04/08 Episode – 7 Steps to Rebuilding your Self-Esteem after Divorce – The reason for and the process of divorce is as varied as the shape of snowflakes. There is however a commonality among most divorce survivors – low self-esteem. …

How To Battle Low Self-Esteem – Voice blog post on

Building Confidence and Self Esteem in Children – Building Confidence and Self Esteem in Children There are two things that go hand in hand making who the person is today. These are confidence and self esteem. If the person is unaware of one’s potential or what he or she can become, …

Self Discovery – Ask Yourself, “Is It Really True?”

Everything Old Is New Again

Have you ever noticed how everything seems to cycle back into popularity. Bellbottoms, guys with long hair, tie-dyed shirts–they all seem to be coming back in full force. We read somewhere that it takes about 40 years for things to get recycled back into popularity.

We’ve decided not to wait 40 years to bring back The Full Cup Test, an exercise that we used in our seminars awhile ago. We named this based on an old Zen story that goes something like this:

“Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), was visited by a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overflowing,” said the university professor, “no more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in replied, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

It’s Hard To Receive When Your Cup’s Already Full

We just love what this story teaches and we strive to keep emptying our own cups so we’re able to continue learning new things. One way we do this is to think of the tea as a metaphor for the cultural beliefs that fill our minds. This tea comes in many varieties for us: beliefs about what life means, who we are, how we should act, and many others. These beliefs motivate our actions and dictate the direction we will take on our life’s journey.

Because of this, we often ask this question: Are the beliefs that I hold as the “truth” my own beliefs–ones that are truly in harmony with my personal values–or are they beliefs that were handed down from past generations and I have just adopted them unquestioningly?

Question Authority

As we start to question, we are able to empty our cups, which allows us to taste new and more satisfying varieties of tea. We believe this is essential for our continued learning and growth, and for us to evolve into the highest expressions of ourselves.

We also believe that our deepest discoveries emerge in relationship with others. Since we connect with others through language, the most powerful interactions happen through dialogue: sharing our stories, discoveries, and ideas.

To support this evolution in our community, we’re bringing back a modified version of The Full Cup Test. Our aim is to use this as a fun way to stimulate conversation that promotes self discovery. This time we are calling it:
Is It Really True? ~ New Rules For The Game Of Life Quiz

There are no right or wrong answers. Our goal is to stimulate dialogue about some of our commonly held cultural beliefs. The point is to ask yourself these questions and comment on what you discover:

  • Do I believe this statement?
  • What cultural belief is this statement based on?
  • Is this belief in harmony with my personal values?
  • Does it support me living consciously and in harmony with what I value most?

In the next few days we will be posting the first installment of this monthly quiz. So sign up for our RSS feed and look for the title, “Is It Really True?” Then drop by and start playing this game of self discovery by seeing if you agree or disagree with the first statement.

Why People Become Relationship Terrorists

First of all, I dislike using labels such as “terrorist.” Labels such as these tend to dehumanize the person we’re talking about and help perpetuate a culture of “enemy images.” And “enemy images” are the driving force that perpetuates terrorism.

But to unwrap this label, let’s agree that terrorism means: “the systematic use of fear, especially as a means of coercion.” The question that comes to my mind is: How could anyone come to believe that using fear to influence someone else to do what we want is the best strategy? (Just look at the history of the Middle East if you want to see how ineffective this strategy is at truly resolving issues.)

Well, the best answer I’ve found to this question has to do with how we unwittingly adopt our culture’s beliefs and then unquestioningly act on them. I haven’t seen anyone who explains this more succinctly than this talk given by …

Dan Dennett: On ants, terrorism, and the awesome power of meme

Here’s one of those talks that can change your view of the world forever. Starting with the deceptively simple story of an ant, Dan Dennett unleashes a dazzling sequence of ideas, making a powerful case for the existence of “memes” — a term coined by Richard Dawkins for mental concepts that are literally alive and capable of spreading from brain to brain. On the way, look out for:
+ a powerful one-sentence secret of happiness
+ a compelling insight into terrorists’ motivation
+ a chilling view of Islam
And just when you think you know where the talk’s heading, it dramatically shifts direction and questions some of western culture’s fundamental assumptions.
This Is Unmissable.

After viewing this talk, it’s not hard to understand how a dangerous set of relationship memes has hijacked most of the brains in today’s culture, and why people end up acting the way they do on “dating” and Survivor type reality shows.

Fascinating stuff! What do you think?

Committed to Your Success,
Neill Gibson

How to Handle Criticism Without Melting Down, Clamming Up or Flipping Out

Do You Know Any [tag-tec]Difficult People[/tag-tec]?

Is it challenging for you to stay calm and present in the face of [tag-tec]critical people[/tag-tec]–you know those people that have something to say and can’t say it without raising their voice and trying to convince you that you’ve done something wrong.

Would you like to have options other than cringing, heading for the hills, or yelling back to defend yourself? If so, there are two places to look whenever you find yourself reacting in these ways: In Here and Out There.

What’s Going on “In Here?”

The space between your ears is the first place to look whenever you start experiencing discomfort in any situation. It’s where you’ll find the beliefs that are at the root of the problems you think are happening “out there.”

Have you ever seen someone parasurfing–using a small parasail to pull themselves across the waves on their surfboard? Your thoughts are like the parasail in the wind, the wind and surf is what’s going on “out there.”Kiteboarder

If you don’t know how to control the parasail, it’s unlikely that you’ll keep your balance, let alone control where you’re headed. And balance is critical if you want to gain control of yourself and the situation when someone is flipping out.

Falling – Then Catching Yourself – Then Falling – Then. . .

Imagine standing on the surfboard, perfectly balanced, with no force being applied to you, the surfboard or the parasail. Very Zen-like, but you’re not going anywhere are you?

The fun starts when the wind catches the parasail and you feel the drag of the water under the board. In that instance you’re falling forward–and unless you regain your balance quickly, you’re headed for a wipe out.

But then the wind shifts, the waves rise and you’re starting to fall again, and then you regain your balance, and then you’re falling, and then. . .

Keeping Your Balance

To maintain your emotional balance in the face of strong criticism, two things are essential. First, you need to recognize the moment that you start feeling discomfort of any sort. Second, you need to have the skills necessary to regain your emotional balance in a split second.

The first part–recognizing the moment you start feeling discomfort–is actually harder than it may sound.

In studies to prevent police violence, when officers were questioned closely, they recognized that there were typically five verbal exchanges that preceded violence.

Yet these highly trained individuals weren’t even conscious of these exchanges until they were probed. Once they recognized this they saw that the violence may have been avoided if any one of these exchanges had been handled a little bit differently.

Like these officers, you have an emotional guidance system that is highly tuned to alert you to the first moment that things are getting out of balance. And your emotions are much like the control lines on the parasail.

It’s by learning to accurately respond to the way you feel–the lines–that you gain control of your thinking–the parasail. This is how you keep your balance and control the direction the situation is heading.

Controlling What’s Happening Out There

Unfortunately, very few of us are trained how to use our emotional guidance system, how it relates to our thinking, or how emotions and thinking control our behavior.

It seems most of us grow up believing that we’re being dragged through life–into and out of one situation after another–helpless to do anything but hang on and hope for the best.

Or even worse: we’ve been misguided about what the control lines are and how to use them to control the parasail. Instead, we’ve learned that being “emotional” is a “bad thing,” “the best defense is a good offence,” “it’s a dog-eat-dog world,” and countless other beliefs that teach us to react rather than respond.

This leads us back to the second part–having the skills you need to regain your emotional balance in a split second. This is essentially the same as learning to control the parasail in the wind. It’s learning to consciously choose the beliefs that govern your thoughts, which often requires you to un-learn prior beliefs.

This is the process of developing what we call your Values Intelligence–your ability to know and apply what you value, regardless of your circumstance.

Without these skills–like the police officers we mentioned–it is unlikely you’ll recognize when things are going wrong, or be able to respond soon enough to prevent minor upsets from escalating into serious problems.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can develop your Values Intelligence take a look at our article:

And if your ready to do whatever it takes to stop melting down, clamming up, or flipping out, then enroll in The Art of Conscious Connection Online eCourse. It’s specifically designed to give you the In Here skills you need to start gaining more control over the direction of what’s happening Out There.

Is It Really True? New Rules for the Game of Life Quiz ~ Children’s Self-Esteem

If this is the first time you’re playing along, you may want to read our initial explanation. You can find it here:
Is It Really True?
Quiz Intro

Please remember that in this quiz there are no right or wrong answers. We simply want to stimulate dialogue about some of our commonly held cultural beliefs.

Consider this statement…

We should praise children when they do a good job.

what motivates you?

Do you agree or disagree?

Here’s what we came up with as we thought about the statement.

Why would people praise children when they’ve done a “good job”?

As we said last time, we believe that everything people say or do is intended to meet a need or to help them experience something they value. And when we want something we come up with ideas for getting it–strategies such as “praising children for doing a good job.”

So what is it that people want–the values–that motivate them to choose this strategy?

We guess that people praise children because they value:

  • Support: to help the child feel empowered in their ability to accomplish something meaningful, and therefore improve their self-confidence.
  • Acknowledgment: so the child understands the contribution they’ve made to you through their action.
  • Success: helping the child understand which behaviors will support their success in life.

Can you think of any other needs our values people might want to satisfy by using this strategy?

Why this strategy?

Now the question becomes, why would someone choose this strategy?

Behind every strategy we choose there is a [tag-tec]belief that guides our choices [/tag-tec]and our actions. So what are the cultural beliefs that lead people to choose this strategy instead of some other?

Here are some possible beliefs that may lead to choosing this strategy:

  • Children need authorities to help them learn good from bad, right from wrong.
  • The best way to motivate children is by using praise.
  • Without praise children won’t establish a sense of their value or self-worth.

Can you think of any others beliefs that might lead to using praise as a strategy?

Does this strategy work?

If your goal is to have children look to others for their sense of worth and have their actions motivated out of a desire to be praised and to please others–or the fear of not getting this praise–then we would say this strategy works.

We know many adults who depend on the praise and the approval of others for their happiness. We are not immune from this. We still catch ourselves hoping for praise and reward for what we do. And sometimes find ourselves disappointed and questioning our own worth when we don’t get it.

So, if what you really want is for the child to have a high degree of self-confidence that comes from a sense of empowerment, the ability to know if they are acting in harmony with their own values, an intrinsic sense of their self-worth, and the ability to know for themselves which actions will best support their success in life, then we think the strategy of praise probably does not work very well.

To the degree that we’ve come to depend on praise, not receiving it will lead to one of two scenarios–in children and adults alike. Either we start questioning our value, abilities and our internal guidance, or we end up frustrated and rebelling against the “authority” who failed to provide the praise we want.

What new understanding might make a difference?

There are understandings that can help people choose a different strategy than praise.

We discussed one in the first installment of this series: the difference between intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.

This time we are exploring the difference between:

Domestication: Any training process that uses a system of punishments and rewards to accomplish its goals.


Internal Authority: Using the principles and values we consciously choose as our guide.


If you’ve been brought up in a typical world culture, then you are no stranger to externally imposed consequences such as punishments and rewards–praise being one of them.

From a very young age, authorities in your life teach you what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s bad, what’s appropriate and inappropriate.

And you quickly learned that you get scolded or punished for being wrong or bad and praised or rewarded for being good or right.

To paraphrase Don Miguel Ruiz from his book, The Four Agreements: We soon learn to use this system of punishment and reward on ourselves to control our own behavior so we can keep getting the rewards (praise, recognition, a better job, a bigger house, …) and keep avoiding the punishments (ridicule, loss of relationship, loosing our job, …)

It seems that the lesson most people learn from this is:

What other people think is more important than what I think.

Given the amount of time and energy people spend on worrying about what other people think of them, it doesn’t appear that the strategy of praise satisfies the underlying desire to instill people with self-confidence, empowerment, the ability to know and act in harmony with their values, or an intrinsic sense of their self-worth.

What might better satisfy these underlying values?

Internal Authority

Imagine that instead of Praise:

“It was very grown-up of you to help rake your grandmother’s yard.”

“Your such a good boy for cleaning up the crayons.”

“You are so smart to get an A plus on that math test.”

What if we supported children in developing their self-confidence and their sense self-worth by modeling the ability to know what we value and to offer appreciation for how their actions supported us?

Let’s consider these values again. How would we model our value for:


Our desire to help a child feel empowered in their ability to accomplish something meaningful, and therefore improve their self-confidence.

“I love that you helped rake your grandmother’s yard. I think it helps her understand how much you care for her. Is that why you did it?”


Our desire to help a child understand the contribution they’ve made through their action.

“I really enjoy that you cleaned up the crayons because I like it when it’s clean and tidy and I appreciate your help in keeping it that way. What was important to you about cleaning up the crayons?”


Our desire to help a child understand which behaviors will support their success in life.

“I’m happy to see you understood all the ideas in your math test because I think this will help you when you grow up the same ways it helps me with our family budget and running our business. What do you like about it?”

How would this be different for the child? selfconfidence

Imagine being raised in a culture where the people in your life understood what they valued and how to express their appreciation for your actions in ways that helped you develop your ability to know what you value.

Imagine that, both at home and in school, you were supported in making your own decisions, with respect for your internal guidance. And that the “authorities” in your life were truly interested in helping you explore what was important to you about your choices.

Do you think people would be as hesitant to rely on their own decisions or as worried about the opinions of other people?

How would it have been different for you?

What occurs to you?

That’s our thinking about this belief statement. Please let us know what occurs to you about any or all of this.

Click Here to make your comment.

We look forward to reading your response.

With great trust and respect for your ability to choose wisely,

Beth and Neill

PS Please remember to sign up for the RSS feed to make sure you are alerted to our next installment of: Is It Really True?

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