Loving Oneness Now
Self-esteem is yet another deep psychological problem to solve. Almost all of us, and certainly most therapists, regard a fine, positive self-esteem as not only valuable but essential to a happy, masterful life. However, a closer examination will reveal that self-esteem is just another "false-positive" cover-up word for ego, fear, defenses, and unhappiness. To truly understand why this is so, we need to get to the core cause of our reactive irritation, anger or rage when someone threatens our egoic self-esteem by attributing thoughts or characteristics to us which we, as egos, consider invalid (and which are also, in terms of Reality, invalid).
Why is your ego so sensitive to these "defamations" to your character? Well, from the popular point of view, you would say, "It is right that I should defend myself against libelous remarks about myself which I know are not true."
But, in this discussion about self-esteem, it is not our defensive or non-defensive replies that I wish to investigate in depth; rather it is the knee-jerk, reactive emotional irritation, anger or rage (that some of us want to rid ourselves of) by getting to the bottom-most causes of that irritation, anger or rage. There is no doubt that our egos feel much more powerful when our defensive protests are accompanied by irritation, anger or rage. These righteous, wrath-filled emotions that often accompany our defensive rejection of criticisms make our egos feel stronger and more in control of the situation.
Now, at this point in our discussion, we could go on and on and on about our childhoods and blame our irrational, dysfunctional (previous generation) parents for the umpteenth time, but as Raj/Jesus says, our problem is with our reactive irritation, anger and rage NOW, not with our insane conditioning many, many years ago. The past is gone into memory, and the actual problem is only NOW in the present contentious situation. In other words, let the conditioned memories of childhood go!
OK. So your ego takes offense NOW and reacts angrily because it perceives an incoming attack which threatens its self-esteem which is vulnerable. Therefore your self-esteem must be on shaky ground if it fears derogatory verbal attacks. The other person has to be set straight by being forcefully told the correct "truth" about yourself—the "truth" according to your self-esteem, not their opinion of you.
Thirty years ago, if a little child came up to me and said, "Daddy, you are stupid to…" I would merely grin and take no notice because I would place no value on an egoic statement coming from a small child. Sometimes I might even agree with them! Even a derogatory statements made by teenagers I might slough off as not worth my belief or attention because I do not consider their opinions valid. When I worked with hospitalized psychiatric patients who were from 5 to 65 years of age, I never took any notice of their abuse because, being ill, they were not competent to evaluate me. The professional staff (my peers) were the only ones "qualified" or "competent" to make positive or negative remarks about me, and I usually reacted to the latter with immediate knee-jerk irritation or anger. Yet, it was I who "granted" them the competency to evaluate my value, my worthiness, my competency.
Now we are getting to the crux of the problem: Which "competent" persons do you perceive as having "valid" opinions about you? They are usually those who are adult "family," or other respected peers, from whom you need some kind of approval. If one of them praises you, you almost always accept their praise as a competent evaluation of your "true worth," which boosts your self-esteem by validating it, but if they are disapproving or derogatory you almost always deny the validity of what they say about you. Their praise is true and correct, while their criticism is not true and is incorrect. But, this is being totally inconsistent and illogical. If the praise of these competent, respected peers is considered true and correct by you, then logically you should accept as equally true any criticisms coming in from these competent, respected peers—something we rarely do. If a friend says to you, "That was a smart idea," your egoic self-esteem is flattered (pumped-up) and you think them wisely perceptive, but if they say, "That was a stupid thing you did," you usually react with (perhaps veiled) anger, and reject their remark as invalid.
On the other hand it might be wiser to disregard all need you have for any outside opinions, positive or negative, because everyone, including yourself, is in a state of being "possessed by" a God-less ego. As an aside here, I would point out that by definition, no ego Knows God; egos can only give their opinions about God in an ignorant way. Therefore the ego and its inherent variable self-esteem has to go! It is worth noting that both praise by others and our self-righteous dominating anger over criticism, can temporarily pump up our self-esteem balloon (see E6) and keep us out of the sea of depression and poor self-esteem.
This false egoic need for constant outside validation of your egoic self-esteem through "approval" (i.e., praise, positive recognition, evaluation, appreciation) from "competent external evaluators" is the key to dumping the entire situation. You do not need any validation, because if you are totally secure in your "self-esteem" why do you need any external validation of it? The answer to that question is, because the ego, including its self-esteem, is based on fear and is never sure of anything at all. Self-esteem is only false, pumped-up, ego-inflation (see E6). Therefore our egos and their shaky self-esteem are erroneous fear-based fabrications we are all inventing continuously to replace and hide the God-Created Self we Really Are.
As long as you are in a state of having a false ego of any kind whatsoever, you will be upset (by irritation, anger, rage) when someone says or does anything, however slightly, that negates your vulnerable self-esteem. Why? Because all self-esteem is of the ego. This is true because your I AM BEING, that God created out of Himself, has no self-esteem; that Christ-Self-Being that You Are is as certain, sure and as secure as God, beside Whom there is nothing—except figments of imagination, such as egos and self-esteem.
So, until we Wake Up, we say: "Father I give up (or yield up, or let go, or surrender) all my little fear-based independent ego-ridden authority and control, including its fictional self-esteem, all of which, Father, is a denial of Your Reality as the Christ that I AM. From now on, Father, please flow through this Singular Mind Identity of Yours, unimpeded by any false nothingness, and be Yourself as the Christ that I AM."
Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright © 2007 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD