The 5 keys to self-esteem - psychology - 2023
- The keys to understanding how self-esteem works
- 1. Start by knowing your story
- 2. Eliminate the comparison from your life
- 3. Seek to put your energy outside of yourself
- 4. In you there is also something that works against you.
- 5. The premise "if you want you can" is false
Do you think that the cause of your problems is lack of self-esteem? Maybe you are one of those who think that your relationship with your partner is going badly and you let yourself be trampled because you don't have enough self-esteem and you lack self-esteem; or that if you were a more confident person and loved yourself more, better things would happen to you and you would be more popular; Or that if your feeling of inferiority didn't crush you, you might have a better job.
Self-esteem is a concept that is heard talking about everywhere, and not precisely by professionals: from magazines, radio programs, influencers, self-help manuals, conversations with friends, in the family nucleus ... It is so popular that It seems that it was one of the main keys to well-being. But talking so much about self-esteem and doing it lightly favors the concept being trivialized, and also that information is decontextualized, and that a mantra is formed from some concrete aspect, as sometimes happens with the idea of “loving oneself”, which has become the central motive on which the lives of many persons.
- Related article: "The 4 types of self-esteem: do you value yourself?"
The keys to understanding how self-esteem works
Many proposals circulate to improve the perception we have of ourselves, and the truth is that when one proposes it, it is not difficult to find positive traits that describe us. But ... what happens? Putting all our effort into these exercises to gain self-esteem does not guarantee satisfaction or success.
It is not just a self-perception, nor is it about exchanging negative thoughts for positive ones, nor is it about our whole life being based on self-care. Self-esteem is not a simple concept, and it is linked to many other aspects. Placing the focus of discomfort on lack of self-esteem diverts attention from other, more crucial issues and that could make us understand what are the real difficulties that are preventing us from feeling good.
If you think you have low self-esteem, I invite you to continue reading. The bet of psychoanalysis is not aimed at strengthening the image we have of ourselves, but at listening to the subject, because the answers we are looking for about who we are must be sought elsewhere.
1. Start by knowing your story
To begin to constitute ourselves as people, we are forging ourselves through different identifications. Identifications that we have adopted of things that we have been told, of things that we have heard, of things that are the result of our interpretation. Other times we identify with the place they “give us” in the family and that we adopt: the clever, the responsible, the strong ... Or even negative: the fool, the lazy, the weird.
Discomfort comes when a distance is created between what others say about us, and what we really are. That generates insecurity, discomfort, lack of self-love and self-esteem.
In a therapeutic process, one comes to discover what identifications are not working for him and what things do describe him and suit him well. There is no ultimate identity that responds to the essence of being oneself. You can detach yourself from identifications and drop them, and identify yourself to other things.
- You may be interested: "Self-concept: what is it and how is it formed?"
2. Eliminate the comparison from your life
Most of us compare ourselves, and not precisely to rejoice in the benefits of differences and enjoy the cool point of each one. Do not. It is a comparison in which we lose ourselves and in which we almost always assume that the other is better.
Faced with this pernicious practice, one falls short: I am worse, I am worth nothing, I am not enough ... why do we compare ourselves? And why do we buy the hook that the other is more and better?
On the one hand, it gives us peace of mind that there is someone who is happy and satisfied forever. That is why the tendency is to suppose the fellow man as an ideal I. The problem is that in the face of ideals, one looks miserable and passions and rivalries come into play.
And on the other hand we need someone to tell us how things are doneSo while we suppose that people are better, we consider that they do have the keys; Someone could tell us how things are done, that they give us that security that we like so much. But there really is no such guarantee. There is only the option to gamble. Nowadays it becomes unbearable to choose what is good or not, what is ethical or not against my desire; to choose is to be alone.
3. Seek to put your energy outside of yourself
It is common to hear how people postpone appointments: looking for work, starting hobbies, for another time when they are better ... What if I told you that it was just the other way around? How about we bet on love first? Understanding love as an interest towards people, studies, work ... love for everything, towards life in general.
Far from promoting individualism, self-image, self-help, tending to strengthen the self, psychoanalysis is committed to love. Taking the path of love allows you to live with less discomfort, because having all or almost all the interest in oneself has the disadvantage that it involves a lot of agitation, and that is lived with discomfort, it is something very intense and distressing.
In his text "Introduction to Narcissism" of 1914, Freud pointed out:
- "The stagnation of libido in the ego must be felt as unpleasant."
- "The psychic life is forced to go beyond the borders of narcissism and invest external objects with libido."
- “An intense selfishness protects against disease; but, at the end of the day, we have to start loving so as not to get sick ”.
I love this last statement by Freud. It gives us the key to feel good. If what you are looking for is more self-esteem, In what relationships, projects ... do you have your energy? We are what we care about. But you have to be careful, because it seems that love (in its broadest sense) and love towards oneself is exclusive. Not everything for others, not everything for oneself.
4. In you there is also something that works against you.
Surely there are days when you come up and feel with good self-esteem, and other days without much explanation you feel insufficient or insecure (aspects related to self-esteem).
In our daily life we can see how many times we act against what we want. You have to be warned and know the ways in which each one trips. We believe that we are the owners of everything we do and say, but we have all experienced that there are times when something stronger than ourselves pushes us to act against ourselves. The enemy is not outside, we have him incorporated.
5. The premise "if you want you can" is false
Sometimes the feeling of inferiority starts from the premise that we can do everything and that if you put your mind to it, everything is possible. That, more than a lack of self-esteem, is an excess of esteem. Starting from this premise is to believe that we are omnipotent, and that is a delusion of the I that in any contingency will be easily affected.
It is convenient to assess what things are possible, and what things are not under our control and are impossible. Thus it will be easier to get rid of the feeling of helplessness, inability.
It is worth taking the time to learn the ins and outs of self-esteem and all the substance of it. And it is good to know and know, but for something to transform, it is not enough to accumulate information, you have to experience the unconscious. In this sense, the analytical work is very enriching, because it allows us to detect and question the axioms with which we function and interpret the facts, and that the filter of misinterpretations falls contributes new values. It also allows you to locate the "enemy" and take charge of what that implies, without blaming others and without self-reproach. In addition, it makes it possible to clarify and establish what is within the possible and what is of the order of the impossible, automatically relieving the feeling of incapacity and uselessness.
That gives a tranquility and an energy that is not based on strengthening the self or the image. You have to be willing, willing to confront yourself, make decisions, be surprised and laugh at how you do certain things. All this is achieved by talking.