What does your self esteem depend on?
Perhaps you have a pretty face, pert booty or awesome boobs. You know this because other people have told you. They’ve complimented you and narrowed their eyes at you in feigned, or genuine, envy.
You kinda like that people wish they had your face/butt/boobs because it makes you feel good about yourself. Even in your darkest moments you can mutter to yourself “At least I have a smokin’ ass.
But what if one day you look in the mirror and no longer like what you see? What if your booty starts to sag, your babies suck the life out of your awesome boobs and your face becomes pitted and creepy with time’s gentle touch? Will you know that you’re still amazing, that you’re still the same fantastic person? Or will you feel lost, worthless, like your one shining star has been snuffed out?
Self Esteem Defined
Self esteem is defined as: Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self respect.
But where does this worth come from?
In order for us to inhabit true self esteem it must not come from external sources. If we allow our self esteem to depend on things like our job, looks, possessions or wealth, what are we left with if due to some means outside of our control we suddenly lose this thing that seems to define our worth?
My Self Esteem Dependence
When I was around 21 I liked how I looked. I knew I looked good because people told me so. I also knew I looked good because when I went out on the town with my girlfriends, guys would hit on me. They’d buy me drinks, ask for my number, or grind up against me on the dance floor.
Sometimes I would roll my eyes at their advances and run off into the night giggling with my friends. Other times I would go home with them. But one thing was certain: Every time a male showed an interest in me I felt good about myself. It was a subtle ego stroke, a pat on the head, a gentle reminder that I was still hot, so therefore, valid.
Self Esteem Dependence Starts with Lack
So where did this need come from? This desperate urge to receive male approval? Well more often than not we seek to rest our self esteem on the very place it has been lacking.
For me it was my looks. Due to a history of disordered eating and poor body image, largely inspired by my father’s ingrained beliefs, I craved the attention and approval of men. If they thought I was beautiful and attractive then I was worthy. I had merit.
On the nights where I went out and did not receive attention from men, I had failed. I had obviously gained weight or chosen an unflattering outfit. Suddenly in my eyes I became unattractive and therefore a fat and ugly failure.
I know it sounds crazy but when you are raised to believe that thin people are better than fat people and that the worst thing a girl can possibly be is unattractive, then this becomes your reality. When you are told that any woman with a brain and an opinion is a “cunt” then you dare not be like them. You do your best to become “cool girl” and allow yourself to be the object in all situations around men, instead of the subject.
Childhood trauma aside, eventually I met an amazing guy who I am still in love with today. He held completely different views to the ones I had be raised with, and slowly I began to realise that there was so much more to me than just my looks.
However, after a few years of living in domestic bliss I realised that I had lost confidence in myself. I was still happy but I had gained a little weight – the love-puff – and this made me question if I was still “good enough”. I wanted to be my my lover’s “hot girlfriend”, you know, the kind of girlfriend that makes his friends jealous. But now I was becoming The Girl Who Got a Boyfriend and Let Herself Go.
I had been so wrapped in our love cocoon that I’d lost contact with the outside world. I’d stopped going to the gym, stopped painting and doing plays. I’d also stopped going out clubbing with my friends which meant I was no longer receiving the approval of other males. I mean, I didn’t need that anymore if I had a boyfriend, right? Having a boyfriend meant I was hot.
Then it dawned on me. Not only had I lost confidence because I was no longer receiving attention from a range of men every weekend, but now I was allowing my self esteem to rest upon the fact that I had a boyfriend. Suddenly it all fell into place in my mind. Believe it or not, I had been completely oblivious to the fact that my self esteem had rested so precariously on these external sources.
The Danger of Resting our Self Esteem on External Sources
When we allow our self esteem to depend on external factors we are potentially setting ourselves up to fail. The new car will get old. The money may get spent. The beauty possessed by a young woman will fade. The high paid job can disappear in a financial recession which can force us to sell the Big House and pull our kids out of the Best School.
Our worth, our true unyielding power must come from within. And it does.
Everything we are, everything we do, say, imagine and create is 100% unique to us. We are a one off masterpiece. There is no one on this planet exactly like us. Our true authenticity is our power!
Most of us waste this power by trying to be somebody else, by finding a mould outside of ourselves and trying to force ourselves into it. We compare ourselves to others and then feel worthless because we are different. OUR DIFFERENCE IS OUR POWER.
When we allow ourselves to pick holes in who we are, we then feel the need to plug those holes with something, anything, to make us feel whole again. In my case I smeared plaster over my poor body image, in the form of approval from drunken horny men. I let them make an object out of me and I let it define my worth.
The Solar Plexus Chakra
The Solar Plexus chakra, known in Sanskrit as Manipura, is located in the upper part of the abdomen, near the diaphragm. Manipura, which translates as ‘city of gems’ or ‘seat of jewels’ is associated with the colour yellow. It’s element is fire and it symbolises the sun.
Manipura governs personal power, will, self esteem, independence, personal identity, self assurance, confidence and self discipline. It allows us the confidence to learn, make decisions and voice our opinions.
Manipura: The Shining Sun
Basically, Manipura is a bright shining sun in the centre of your body. It is your inner jewel, your key stone, the symbol and physical embodiment of your self esteem.
When Manipura is blocked or disconnected we can suffer from low self esteem, depression and/or anxiety, we may become codependent and needy, we also begin to lack self control which makes us more susceptible to addiction.
The real concern about having a blocked Solar Plexus Chakra is that we may try to correct the blockage with numbing agents or outside sources – such as money, clothes and other material possessions.
Manipura can be unblocked through meditation and diaphragmatic breathing.
Sit cross-legged with a straight spine and your palms facing up, resting on your knees. Take 10 slow deep breaths, counting one on the inhale and two on the exhale, three on the inhale and so on.
In your mind’s eye, visualise the Manipura Symbol (above). See a warm shining sun emanating from your upper abdomen. Feel the warm, healing energy fill your whole belly, then spread upwards, outwards and downwards. Allow this sensation to fill you with power. If you would like to use a silent mantra try: “I shine like the sun.”
This meditation may only take five minutes and can be a great, worthwhile addition to your morning routine.
Stand with your feet wide. Bend your knees and lean forward pressing your hands on your knees. Take a deep breath, filling your diaphragm so that your upper abdomen expands. Opening your mouth and take five fast short breaths: out-in, out-in, out-in, out-in, out-in. Allow the diaphragm to work like a pair of fire bellows – as soon as one breath leaves, another is sucked in almost automatically. After the final in-breath allow the last breath to blow out long in a gentle ‘ha’ sound. Repeat this exercise three times, taking a small break in between each set.
Food and Gems
As Manipura is associated to the colour yellow it can be activated by eating yellow foods – pineapple, mango, turmeric – and by wearing yellow crystals – citrine, tiger’s eye. As it is also the sun/fire chakra, sitting in the sun and gazing indirectly at the morning sun can also help to restore its balance.
Finding my Inner Self Esteem
Now, I no longer let my self esteem rest on things like my looks, my clothes, my house-keeping standards or the attention of men.
I no longer need those things to remind me that I am amazing. In fact, when I go out I find myself actively avoiding the attention of men. Where once I intentionally tried to attract it, I now despise it. The male gaze irritates me as it reminds me of the object I used to allow myself to become.
Isn’t it ironic? When we’re young we seek the attention of men. We groom ourselves, we compete against other women for it. We assume those painfully beautiful girls revel in it; the wolf whistles, the advances. But, once we’re older and comfortable in our own skin, we realise what a hinderance it is. We’ve got shit to do. We’re taken. We don’t have time to let you down gently. We don’t need your approval anymore.
Our Inner Power Never Falters
When we allow our Self Esteem to come from within it becomes reliable and steadfast. It no longer wavers or fluctuates like the stock market. It shines bright like the sun. Every. Single. Day.
You are not your beauty. You are not your money or your cool shoes. You are a one of a kind gem, mined from stardust. You are a fabulous collection of atoms, animated by a pure soul, connected to source energy. You are awesome. You are a fucking unicorn.