How do you handle low confidence, self esteem or worthlessness?


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Do you people have these feelings? I know meditation helps dealing with them better, but are there any other techniques you use to get past that sulking phase? How much do affirmations work?

15 Answers
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Hi Aparna, You are right in stating that meditation can definitely help. However, more than just sitting in meditation I find that when it comes to confronting the issues of negative self talk or low self esteem, it is essential to cultivate the quality of meditativeness in our daily lives.

 I too have suffered from low self-esteem and almost a constant state of general anxiety for almost 12 continuous years, so I feel like I know a little bit about  what it is like to go through this. I am also happy to say that the techniques I am sharing here hugely helped me overcome these challenges. It consists of just two steps. As with anything else in life, it won't be a quick fix, it took a hell of a lot of commitment from me but it definitely helped me, thats why Im sharing it here and It is my wish that it also benefits you. These two steps can be combined or integrated easily with other practices like sitting meditation, mantra chanting, yoga etc.

Step #1 : BECOME MORE PRESENT

Humans are unique in that we seem to have a relationship with ourselves. A bird or a tree or any other animal on Earth doesn’t have a relationship with itself like we do. For example, even the most hideous looking dog wouldn’t face a self-esteem issue. Animals are integrated creatures by default and they don't create a a secondary, mind-created ' Self Image '.  Once created,  we always walk with a mental projection of “ a me” and we then end up having a relationship with that image!  And, often times we don’t like what we see in that image. That “image-self", we may often be in conflict with it. This is what low self esteem is all about. Most of the time, we simply take for granted without question the negative self talk generated within our minds and we don't even see the fact that one part of ourselves is pitted against another and that we are in a relationship with ourselves. Are we one or two?? Taking back control over your thoughts is the first step towards reclaiming control over your life. A good practice towards this is to bring your attention into the present moment as frequently as possible. The mind-created image of yourself or your Ego is incompatible with the present moment. If you notice, the Ego is always concerned with only two things: 1. keeping the past alive and 2. projecting fears/hopeful dreams about the future, because without them who are you?? Bringing your awareness to the present moment can break the vice like grip of the Ego. 

STEP#2: ANCHOR YOURSELF IN THE NOW

So how do you bring your awareness to the now powerfully? One exercise I used to do and still do is to periodically bring my attention to my hands or feet and feel my hands/feet from within. I personally connected with this better than watching my breath. Try it, can you simply focus all your attention on your hands or feet? Doesn't have to be a huge undertaking, just for a few seconds or a min or two is what Im talking about.  Bring your awareness to how it feels from the inside. You may experience the pulsing of life, it may feel like a buzzing or a tingling sensation. Become really alive to these sensations with all of your attention. Like I said, just for a few seconds or a min, but for those few moments do it with the full intensity of your awareness. Do this multiple times during the course of your day. This exercise will help you to temporarily break free from the grip of the cycle of thoughts coursing through your mind and will introduce a little meditativeness into your daily life. You can do this anywhere and at any time. The more you do it the more you will start to slowly become powerfully aware of the passing of different thoughts in your mind and you will begin to realize that you are not the thinker but the one who is witnessing the thought stream. Becoming a witness to your thoughts will hugely weaken the control the mind has over you and this will be reflected in you starting to develop a lighter attitude towards things that once used to stress you to no end. 

Even if it doesn't eliminate the problem altogether, having even a tiny bit of respite is a huge relief nevertheless! 🙂 

Hope this helps 🙂

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Hi Aparna,

Based on my own journey so far, I have the following advice for you:

  • Don’t believe that voice in your head. That self-talk telling you that you are not good enough or unworthy or even that you cannot succeed, don’t believe it! The stories your mind are telling you are false:) They are all due to conditioning by society and our exposure since childhood and past lives. Kill that voice by dropping those thoughts and just keep doing your very best!
  • Don’t measure your worth or confidence based on what society defined as good, because who said they are right? They aren’t:) 
  • Aparna, you are absolutely amazing and beautiful, please believe in yourself and know that you are worthy of all the great things in life! I mean it:)
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Few practical tried and tested tips apart from meditation:

1. Investing in oneself. Learning new skills (be it painting, pottery, or programming) and mastering them, gives a sense of achievement and joy. Also helps with improving self-love. 

2. Spending time around children (especially under 5), in nature and/or around animals work wonders too. 

3. I find consuming lots of news, social media, TV, OTT, etc very energy-draining activities. I rather like listening to podcasts. On Youtube 'Buddha At The Gas Pump' and 'The Ranveer Show' are some I recommend.

4. Playing sports/intense physical activity is another great way to get an adrenaline rush. I personally like jogging/running but badminton, and swimming are good ones too. Helps with getting good sleep too. 

5. Earning money (no matter how little or more) is also a good idea. 

6. And finally having noise-canceling headphones while around some people truly help!!  😀

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What I think helps most with this is a personalized inquiry into where these feelings came from, what caused them and why are we still carrying them? Not everyone was validated growing up. In fact, most people heard more often what was wrong with them, rather than what was "right" and this sticks with us.

And while it is a personal/inner dialogue that needs to change, sometimes its hard to do it by yourself. On one hand, no amount of praise can help someone who is in the habit of devaluing themselves, but sometimes there are people who are hanging around the wrong types, and hearing some encouragement from others really helps. So, the kind of company you keep is one thing to consider.

Wrote this during my break at work, sorry if it's not helpful. 😆

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https://os.me/to-bee-or-not-to-bee-spiritual-approach-in-life/

You may find the above relevant.

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This is very general question and such my answer is also going to be very general.

How do you handle low confidence, self esteem or worthlessness?

From my experience low confidence stems from lack of experience in doing things which you would actually want to do, but something is holding you back from doing it, maybe lack of opportunities, fear of failure etc. What I have usually found helpful is asking this question, given there are no obstacles in my path what would I want to achieve or where would I like to be or what result would I want ? The answer to this question is your goal and realistically speaking reaching this is not going to be easy but maybe lack of trying or giving up is what is making you feel low within.

To handle this we need to act on it, usually bigger the goal the longer the journey and as Swamiji says taking one baby step at a time is the key. This is where habits really come into play, to reach your goal maybe you would have to transform yourself, such transformation begins with rooting out your not so helpful habits with those that are aligned with your goals.

So if I were to make an analogy, consider a boxing match, every time you get hit by the opponent(life) its okay to feel the pain and be on the ground to gather yourself for a second but you gotta get up and continue if you want to win.

Hence you need to find out whats making you feel low and then ,being realistic, act on it.

Do you people have these feelings?

Yes absolutely, anyone who has desires(that is pretty much everyone) will have disappointments.

I know meditation helps dealing with them better, but are there any other techniques you use to get past that sulking phase?

Being disciplined helps, it makes your mind listen to you, coming back to the boxing analogy your daily training helps you get back on to your feet faster. There could be many techniques for instance I follow a morning routine, it includes meditation, which is helpful for me as a Grihastha & a Sadhak as this keeps me disciplined.

How much do affirmations work?

I have never really tried affirmations, and I have heard from Swamiji that hollow affirmations are not helpful either, meaning if you haven't put in the work simply affirming a positive outcome wont help.

Above all we also need to learn to live in surrender, meaning given any difficult situation, we should be able to understand if there is something we could do that would help and then act on it, if there isn't anything we can do about it, then learn to let go.

My apologies if the answer comes out as rather blunt but facing the situation would be a better way out in most cases.

All power to you in your difficult moments. Keep going.

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Hi!

As we go higher up in the spiritual ladder,we encounter more of such feelings-despair,loneliness etc...As we see things crystal clear and not what they were made to see-Maya-So the gap between reality and expectations is huge and manifests as these feelings.What can we do?Earlier I used to ignore/write and burn lists/sing loudly/chant/see tv/go for a wlak and bypass them nicely.Now its not possible-Best way-accept these as part of your growing up/life-If we get happy do we say Oh god why am i happy?No na we happily accept that so should we accept this also and do remember nothing lasts long as swamiji says-If you are happy that wont last long same goes with sadness etc...And meditation is not a panacea for all ills-Unguided meditations are most dangerous-I can vouch for this after having learnt it the painful way.Please use the sadhana app and do the guided meditations prescribed there as they are tested by swamiji and put up.

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Jai Shri Hari Aparnaji,

Hope you are doing good.

Just start living for others, help others selflessly. Though it is difficult, but you can begin with small steps.

Regards

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Hello Aparna,

I was there once and whatever I am going to share is through personal experience & it is through trial & error I came to find what works for me, so the most relevant advice which I could think of is to spend time with yourself and keep on trying different approaches to find what works for you, having said that I am sharing below what helped me : 

  • Writing: it may come as a surprise but personally writing could be therapeutic, helping us in realizing emotions & patterns we all too often neglect.
  • Reading  By reading the thoughts of others we get to see our problem through a different lens and that fresh perspective could give you the necessary outlook you may need to find your solution. A great read would be the appropriately titled "When all is not well"  it personally helped me in coming out of those tiring tough times where it seemed there would be never the next day again.
  • Spending some time with Divine  Sometimes, it becomes necessary to have somebody whose hand we could hold someone to guide us to understand us and not judge us for our troubles & who better than the divine in whom we could seek refuge and remain unafraid? This is something which played a pivotal role in my recovery, to be able to devote some time in the presence of the divine, to chant his name, it seemed that day after day calling him worked and slowly he removed my troubles. You could try it yourself, try chanting or anything which made you feel closer to him/her/it.
  • Don't overdo it: Once you have to find the methods or techniques that work for you & after tailoring it to your needs, it's necessary to remember to not be overly dependent on it, the reason I am mentioning it, is because I was guilty of trying to be overly dependent on them , like meditating for 3 times a day when nothing seems to work ,it's important that you give it sometime to work.

I hope you find yourself out of this situation and my advice could help you in some way.

All the best !

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Hi Aparna, I used to feel hurt and low in confidence and self-esteem when I looked upon others approval in everything. Starting from the morning cup of tea 😊 no-one acted or approved the way I needed. After much waiting by Divine Grace I started the self love and self approval. Now i am not troubled by low confidence issues🙏

You can try this too❤️❤️🙏😊 have a lovely day 💕

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Jai Shri Hari Aparna,

I just want to say "Thank you" for asking this question. I am also able to learn because of you.

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Hi Aparna , Few years back I was low in confidence but as Swamiji's books entered my life...Reading his books and gaining wisdom from it , I started getting confidence..Earlier I was afraid to speak in public or stage but now it has almost gone..Confidence comes from our knowledge and wisdom... Start reading books on philosophy and spirituality... or a subject u want to master.Read  his books "Big questions of life , Fistful of wisdom and fistful of love" . Apart from Swamiji's books , I recommend you to read book " Laws of Spirit World by Khorshed Bhavnagari" . This will help you know true purpose of our soul...After you know your purpose , you will never feel unworthy. Thoughts are powerful so affirmation will work if u believe in it and work towards it..With just thoughts and no work , nothing can be achieved.

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Hi Aparna - Here I go with my 2 cents 😅 ( please forgive if it sounds preachy lol )

I wish you to know that nothing is wrong with you that you have to set straight. Be gentle with yourself at all times. Be your own best friend as much as possible. Again don’t ever beat yourself up for not achieving some standard that you have defined in your head.  ( I tell myself this ALL THE TIME 😅 ).
This is not a journey of “doing” but I think it is a journey of undoing and discovery( I believe). In this journey many people find many routes like - self inquiry, faith and connection with the Divinity, meditation etc. There is not one path but so many, you have to trust your inner self to find the path or combination of paths that suits you and for that you must relax and be comfortable with yourself and your own process. Then experiment with various methods, you have so many options and many good ones in the responses here already.

When you are in “doing” mode you might feel like you are preparing for a marathon which you don’t think you can do in the first place. Stressed and unsure of what you are doing and changing strategies at a whim because you don’t feel confident.

When you are undoing you might feel like you are sitting in a warm bath and sinking into the warmth very comfortably, fully aware , relaxed and confident that even if you don’t know how to get somewhere you have an internal GPS that will take you there.

Take care 🙂

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>Grounding, sticking bare feet into mother earth as a daily practice, try on lunch break. 

>Pray to the full moon, asking it to take your negative feelings 

>Stone/rock therapy mentioned in "Medical medium" book by Anthony William. Literally take pebbles or stones you find on the ground, name them the emotions you want to get rid of, take them with you everywhere in your pockets and near the shower for several days placing your mind into the stones to absorb that negative thoughts, then when it seems to be better, throw them into a body of water, back to earth.

Ram Ram 🙏 

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