This may be a weird question, but aren’t spiritual seekers supposed to like themselves? I’ve been involved in a spiritual practice for a long time, and it has definitely improved my life. But sometimes it feels like my self-esteem has barely budged. I still feel really insecure, especially around people I don’t know. And I still give myself a hard time. A lot! Do you have any thoughts about the connection between spiritual practice and self-esteem?
I think the answer to your question lies in the question. It’s a red flag when I hear myself say “Aren’t I supposed to…” There is a “should” behind this question. An assumption of what I should be like, or who I should be in the world.
Don’t should on yourself! By the way, this includes not should’ing on yourself for should’ing!
You should be exactly where you are. I don’t mean you should be committed to staying where you are! I just mean that judging yourself harshly for who you are today is not helping you become someone you’d rather be tomorrow. When we judge ourselves, we hold the pattern we’re judging in place with our energy.
Knock that off!
Whenever I feel deeply ashamed or really terrible about something I’ve done – I mean with a toxic feeling within – I can be sure I have missed an opportunity to learn from the situation. I am going to stay stuck. I may do it again and again before I can look at it objectively.
When I can simply look at who I’ve been up until today, I see that who I have been has been based on concepts and beliefs I held to. If I want a different story for my life, or if I want to be a different story, I need to upgrade my beliefs!
Upgrading who we are is something that will happen from doing our inner work. It is enhanced by paying deep attention, questioning our stories, and choosing and telling new ones. This is done moment by moment.
One teacher I appreciate talks about choosing to create your next 10 seconds. We have power in this moment. We don’t have the power to change the past. But we can change what we tell ourselves now, and that will change our future.
So I say, give yourself major props for having grown already! And then directly consciously explore the stories you tell yourself. The ones that lay behind the experiences you’d like to change.
What is it you believe about yourself and the world? Those stories, or beliefs, are just points of view. You can change your point of view, especially if you keep in mind you only need to do it for the next 10 seconds!
I will speak for myself and say that, when I feel insecure, there is fear behind this feeling. There is a scary story I have told myself. A story about not being good enough, or being found out as an imposter who is not good enough.
This story may have started in your inner construct of reality a long time ago. This is most likely the case. You might have been a very sensitive child who was teased, for instance. And you made decisions about what those experiences meant.
But now you are not that youngster any more. Look again! See what your life is today. Remind your self (and your inner child) of what you know to be true today, about life and about your self!
Given your spiritual awareness thus far, would you think it’s safe to say you are a divine being? Then look for examples of your divinity. If you look for them, you will find them everywhere! You can’t get away from your divinity, after all. (Including having powerfully and successfully created a being who has remained insecure in the face of evidence that would prove the lack of logic of that!)
One last note here. If we try to change ourselves by judging ourselves, it will not work. We need to re-choose from a clean slate, energetically. From a shame-free zone, we can create ourselves anew and love ourselves more fully. We can allow ourselves to be who we are, and allow life to do Its thing.
And we can know that, even if we met someone and it did turn out to be like a childhood experience, we have tools and awareness today that we did not have then. We are safe. All is well. Truly.
May you know this more and more fully, every day. And dance in celebration for the opportunity to co-create your life! I mean, really. What else is there to do anyway?
Blessings and Love to you in all you do!
What is your experience with insecurity? Share your comments below!
Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org