Do you think the cause of your problems is a lack of self-esteem? Maybe you are one of those people who thinks that your relationship is going badly and that you let yourself be trampled on because you don’t have enough self-esteem and you lack self-esteem; or that if you were a safer person and wanted more, better and more serious things would happen to you; or that if you haven’t crushed your feelings of inferiority, you might have a better job.
Self-esteem is a concept that is heard everywhere, and not precisely by professionals: magazines, radio programs, influencers, self-help manuals, conversations of friends, family … It is so popular that it seems to have been one of the main keys to well-being. But talking so much about self-esteem and doing it lightly encourages the concept to be trivialized, And also that the information is decontextualized, and that from a certain concrete aspect a mantra is formed, as sometimes happens with the idea of ”loving oneself”, which has become the central motive on which it turns the lives of many people.
The keys to understanding how self-esteem works
There are many proposals circulating to improve our perception of ourselves, and the truth is that when offering, it is not difficult to find positive traits that describe us. What’s happening? Putting all our efforts into these exercises to gain self-esteem does not guarantee satisfaction or success..
It is not just about self-perception, nor about changing negative thoughts to positive ones, nor about our entire life based on self-care. Self-esteem is not a simple concept and is linked to many other aspects. Focusing on discomfort over low self-esteem distracts from other more critical issues and that they could make us understand what the real difficulties are that keep us from feeling good.
If you think you have low self-esteem, I invite you to read on. The challenge of psychoanalysis does not aim to strengthen the image we have of ourselves, but to listen to the subject, because the answers we seek about who we are must be sought elsewhere.
1. Get to know your story
To begin to constitute ourselves as people, we forge ourselves through different identifications. Identifications that we have adopted of things that have been told to us, things that we have heard, things that are the result of our interpretation. Other times we identify with the place they “give us” to the family and we adopt: the intelligent, the responsible, the strong … Or even the negative: the crazy, the lazy, the bizarre .
Discomfort arises when a distance is created between what others say about us and who we really are. It generates insecurity, discomfort, a lack of self-esteem and self-esteem.
In a therapeutic process, one comes to discover what identifications do not work for him and what things describe him and make him feel good. There is no ultimate identity which responds to the essence which is oneself. You can get rid of identities and let go of them, and identify with other things.
2. Take the comparison out of your life
Most people compare themselves, and not just to rejoice in the goodness of the differences and to appreciate the coolness of each other. No. It’s a comparison we get lost in and almost always assume the other is better.
Faced with this pernicious practice, we end up with less: I am worse, I am worth nothing, I am not enough … why do we compare ourselves? And why do we swallow the hook that the other is getting better and better?
On the one hand, it gives us the peace of mind that there is someone who is happy and satisfied forever. Therefore the tendency is to assume the likeness as an ideal Self. The problem is that in the face of ideals you look miserable and passions and rivalries come into play.
And on the other hand we need someone to tell us how things are done, While we assume people are better, we like them to have the keys; someone could tell us how things are done, that they give us that security that we love so much. But there really is no such guarantee. There is only the possibility of playing. Today, it becomes unbearable to choose what is good or bad, what is ethical or not in front of my desire; to choose is to be alone.
3. Seek to get rid of your energy
It’s common to hear people postpone appointments: look for work, start hobbies, for another time when they get better … What if I told you it’s just the other way around? What if we bet on love first? Understand love as an interest in people, studies, work … love for everything, for life in general.
Far from promoting individualism, self-image, mutual aid, tending to strengthen itself, psychoanalysis is committed to love. Taking the path of love makes it possible to live with less discomfort, because having all or almost all the interest in oneself has the disadvantage that it implies a lot of agitation, and that is lived with discomfort, it is a very intense and scary thing.
In his 1914 text “Introduction to narcissism”, Freud noted:
- “The stagnation of libido in the Self must be experienced as unpleasant.”
- “Psychic life is compelled to transcend the boundaries of narcissism and to invest in external objects of libido.”
- “Intense selfishness protects against illness; but in the end we have to start loving so as not to get sick.”
I love this last statement from Freud. This gives us the key to well-being. If what you are looking for is more self-esteem, In what relationships, what projects … do you put your energy? We are what interests us. But you have to be careful, because it seems that this is exclusive to love (in the broad sense) and love for oneself. Not everything for others, not everything for oneself.
4. There is something about you that is working against you.
Of course, there are days when you feel good about yourself, and other days without much explanation, you feel inadequate or insecure (self-esteem issues).
In our daily life we can see how often we act against what we want. You have to be vigilant and know how everyone is putting responsibility. We believe that we own everything we do and say, but we have all experienced that there are times when a little stronger than us pushes us to act against ourselves. The enemy did not come out, we incorporated him.
5. The “if you want, you can” premise is wrong
Sometimes the feeling of inferiority is part of the premise that we can with everything and if we offer everything is possible. This, more than a lack of self-esteem, is an overstatement. To start from this premise is to believe that we are omnipotent, and it is an illusion of the Self which, in the face of any contingency, will be easily affected.
It is convenient to assess what is possible and what is not under our control and is impossible. This will make it easier to get rid of the feeling of helplessness, of incapacity.
It is worth finding the time to learn the secrets of self-esteem and all of its substance. And it is good to know and to know, but for something to transform it is not enough to accumulate information, it is necessary to experience the unconscious. In this sense, the analytical work is very enriching, because it makes it possible to detect and question the axioms with which one works and to interpret the facts, and that the filter of the errors of interpretation falls back brings new values. It also allows you to position “the enemy” and take charge of what that entails, without blaming others and without turning in on yourself. In addition, it makes it possible to clarify and establish which ones go as far as possible and which are of the order of the impossible, automatically relieving the feeling of incapacity and uselessness.
It gives a calm and an energy which is not enough to strengthen the self or the image. You have to be willing, ready to confront yourself, to make decisions, to be surprised and to laugh at the way you do certain things. All of this is done by speaking.