Carrying The Mental Equivalent for Happiness
by Frosty Wooldridge
Do you enjoy high self-esteem or suffer from low self-esteem? Millions of Americans live their lives with low self-esteem. Teenagers learn it from one or both parents. Some choose it by comparing themselves with movie stars. Many teen girls mutter to themselves, “I’m not good enough… I’m not as pretty as Becky, the captain of the cheerleading squad… I’m not smart enough to pull top grades.”
Often, young men drink booze to numb their frustrations from not being handsome, athletic or academically successful. They hang with the wrong crowd or stay home where they find solitude. Too often, teenagers of both sexes compare themselves to others.
Low self-esteem may be one of the greatest detriments to personal success socially, mentally and/or economically. But, since it’s a learned behavior, it can be unlearned and changed.
Recently, one of my lifelong friends, the successful author of four published books, visited me at my house. That night, after dinner on our deck, he and I reminisced about our college days together. We both became teachers. During the conversation, I asked him about his fifth book.
“I can’t seem to motivate myself to finish the book,” he said. “I’m still dealing with low self-esteem.” Mind you, this man earned a world record in one category of weightlifting. He earned a master’s degree in advanced education. He reared four successful children. His wife elevated herself to a world-class artist through his encouragement.
“So, Paul, are you going to coast your way to the doorstep of death?” I asked. “Are you going to waste your literary gifts because of low self-esteem? What’s the value in that choice? Why would you squander your gifts because, somewhere along the line, you bought into the ‘low self-esteem’ train, and you’re still riding it?”
“I’m not sure how to figure it out and how to get off the train,” he replied.
“It’s amazing,” I said. “During my youth, I was accused of being too over-confident and self-assured. Some call me brash. I never thought of myself as inferior to anyone or anything. Plus, I never compared myself to anyone. My dad put his arm around my shoulder when I faced difficult challenges. He said, ‘You can do that, son.’ That became my truth. Maybe you could borrow that ‘truth’ and incorporate it into your own life. It’s more fun to live a life of high self-esteem. It creates a higher vibrational frequency in your daily life. It makes you happy. It makes you creative. It allows you to laugh often. It allows you to move toward your highest and best.”
“I never thought about it that way,” said Paul.
I pondered how a man of Paul’s accomplishments could carry such low self-esteem? How do you escape low self-esteem?
First, change your view of yourself. Are you a victim or a product or a tragedy? You decide. You choose your relationship with any of your challenges or situations. In the end, life doesn’t bequeath you a positive or negative thought pattern. You choose it and you live it. Either way, you evolve your life by your choices. If you run from something, it consumes you. When you face it, you gobble it.
Second, choose by daily habit to up-level your intentions for your world. Choose to value every problem, disaster and defeat. Use the gifts of defeat to grow your life. At your funeral, imagine if your best friend spoke about you in the eulogy like this: “Paul lived a so-so life because he chose low self-esteem, which buried any chance of living a truly remarkable life. He wasted so many of his incredible talents.”
Third, no matter how tough the problem, you choose the solutions and engage the intention to grow. Never compare yourself to anyone, ever! Remember that an answer exists for every challenge in your life.
Fourth, unbridle your dreams. Henry David Thoreau said it best: “If you advance confidently toward your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with success unexpected in common hours. You will pass through invisible boundaries. You will engage new and liberal laws. And you will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”
Fifth, consciously open to the joy, happiness and creative energy of your life by shedding the ‘low self-esteem’ skin to engage a ‘high self-esteem’ energy field around your heart, mind and body. Once you choose that path, laughter becomes your essence, a smile becomes your trademark, and the sheer joy of living becomes your infectious identification in life.
Finally, you write the next chapter of your life by your hand and by your choices. Engage your brain, heart and soul toward your highest and best outcomes. Engage the power of brave thoughts. And, for certain, enjoy the ride!
Frosty Wooldridge lives in Genesee, Colorado and is a six-continent, world bicycle traveler who gives 12 concepts and practices for living a fabulous life in his book, “Living Your Spectacular Life.”