Self-esteem-building includes looking after oneself. I don’t think there’ll be arguments between you and me when I say that it’s normal to look after oneself. But doing so means a lot of different things to different people, depending on the kind of “programming” each person has been through in his/her life’s journey. There’s the "programming"of a market-oriented society, for instance, where the central meaning of people’s actions is material wealth and the values attached to it.In this kind of "programming", self-esteem-building is attached to the world view that values material wealth above all else. Another one may be that of an environmentally-oriented society where the interconnectedness of the web of life is the most important. Still another may be that of peace-based societies where the values attached to peace are the most important. There are many more types of psychological conditioning or "programming". The list goes on and on. In all these different formation of the individual person’s psyche, in particular, and the collective psyche, in general, the questions that creep under the veil of every person’s awareness is: How much do I know myself? Am I defining myself as an earth-bound profit-making member of the highest form of mammal in the animal kingdom? Am I someone who believe that defining myself means my link to peace-making efforts or my link to the dignity of creation? How happy am I in my particular definition of life? To what extent am I able to be the person I want to be? These are not simple questions and the answers are even more complex. But one thing is sure - self-esteem-building is part of the questions and the answers.
How much of the self do we know? What do we mean when we say “self”; self-esteem-building? I found the explanation of Eckhart Tolle on the meaning of “self” very enlightening. He says the self is more than just our bodies, birthday, parents, education, job experiences, relationships and personal history. There is the false self and the true self. The true self is what stays when all the passing thought patterns and emotions that we attach ourselves to give way to the energy inside ourselves that is aligned to our original nature. Love is our original nature. We have yet to decode love as an idea. What does love mean and how is it related to self-esteem?
What is self-esteem then? Why is it important?
Our common understanding of self-esteem is that it is that little voice deep down ourselves that makes us feel good or bad about ourselves when we do something or when we do not do something. Feeling good comes from the alignment of very complex things in our thoughts and feelings. Feeling good could come from a sense of self-respect, self-worth, inner power and inner peace. The opposite is true if we feel not deserving of something or not worthy of love and respect from others. It sounds so simple when discussed. But it is not so when our thoughts can’t keep still or when we always feel a sinking feeling in our stomach because something in our true nature is lost to something false.It is here where our "home of meanings"matter.