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Free Happiness e-Course Part 5 of 7

Day 5: The secret of gaining self esteem

When a person is low on self esteem and is exposed to excessive stimuli, symptoms such as sleeplessness and chest pain may develop. Stress could also lead to overeating, over drinking, and even suicidal thoughts. That's why it is so important for us to develop a healthy level of self esteem to buffer against life's adversities. Here are some of the things you can do, and I promise if you do them all, you will feel much better about yourself.

Be kind and compassionate

If you want to be happy, be kind to yourself and others. When we are kind to ourselves and the people around us, we attract good things in life. This is not necessarily something to do with religion or spirituality, it is simply economics and psychology. We like people who like us, and when people receive the love and respect they crave from us they may return the favor. On a spiritual level, being kind and loving is also the key to happiness, as countless Buddist literature has written about this topic.

Create a schedule
By having a schedule, you allow yourself to be productive and also enjoy relaxation time. If we actually sit down and review our day, we will realize how much time is wasted. We spend a lot of time on mindless chatters on Facebook, visiting gossip websites, or wandering aimlessly around the mall. All these non productive activities add up. More importantly, we don't actually derive much satisfaction from them.

If we have a schedule, we will be in a much better position to manage our time wisely, a schedule gives us the freedom and time to do something we actually love, like reading a great novel, cooking some delicious meals or playing video game. If you find that it is way too difficult to gather up the motivation and discipline required to live with a schedule, I encourage you to plan for 'play time' at the beginning. You set up a time, say 5pm to 7pm every Friday night, you give yourself the permission, a guilt free pass to do something you truly love. Once you get used to having a schedule, you can start scheduling for work time and become more productive.

Replace negative self talk with positive ones
Whether you like it or not, as human we are both perfect and imperfect. Once we come to accept the fact that it is okay to be wrong sometimes, it is okay to be less than perfect at times, we start to have more self love and self esteem.

It is not uncommon that we run into situations where our own ego and self confidence are challenged. For example, little things such as seeing others being very popular on Facebook may send some of us to depression. It may automatically elicit thoughts such as "Why am I so lonely?", "Is there something wrong with me that I don't have that many friends?" While all of these are valid questions, we don't necessarily need to immediately draw conclusions and tell ourselves that it is our personal failure. The other person may have simply used one of those friend adding robots so to make himself look popular. He may not even know 10% of his "friends". More often than not, we only see part of the situation and our interpretation of the situation is heavily tainted by our own experience, mood and upbringing. That's why we should not automatically draw conclusions to beat ourselves up without first coming up with the facts.

Choose new perspectives and new habits
God has created us and gave us the precious gift of choice. Regardless of our age, socioeconomical background, educational level, religion or personal history, we all have the power to make choices. If you are lucky enough to live in a country where there is no war or major conflict, we can easily choose how to live our lives. We can choose how to interpret the events that are happening around us, what to do, whether to let go of certain habits or what kind of people to befriend. Shifting perspectives are not always easy, but I urge you to allow yourself to experiment with different perspectives and new behaviors. Sometimes we have low self esteem because we do things that we know deep down we shouldn't. When our actions and thoughts don't align, building healthy self esteem is really difficult.


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