Meditation for self-esteem
Self-esteem is, quite simply, how we value ourselves. More specifically, it’s the thoughts we tell ourselves about the type of people we are. If our thoughts about ourselves are generally positive, then we have healthy self-esteem. If our thoughts about ourselves are often negative, then we — like many other people — may have low self-esteem. The good news is that meditation can help to change the relationship we have with our thoughts, ultimately building self-esteem and increasing our confidence. Read on to find out more about the benefits of self-esteem meditation.Try for free
What is self-esteem?
What is self-esteem? Self-esteem is how we feel about and value ourselves. A fragile sense of self is one that fluctuates day to day or moment to moment. It’s influenced by positive and negative experiences that are either externally provided (for example, when we are complimented or belittled by a coworker) or internally generated (when we reflect on our performance after a presentation). Alternatively, a stable sense of self will rarely, if ever, change.
People often assume that self-esteem and confidence are about repeating a story — one that makes us look or feel really good — in the mind over and over again. But what happens when negative thoughts inevitably creep in and challenge the validity of that story? A common approach for coping with negative thoughts is to try to forcibly change them or retrain our thinking to be more positive. But if we’re hyper-vigilant about looking out for any negative thinking, aren’t we then constantly preoccupied with negative thinking? Suddenly, this approach seems counterproductive — not to mention, exhausting.
True self-esteem, on the other hand, is being able to let go of old story lines and open ourselves up to experiencing the vulnerability and uncertainty that come with no longer having those comfortable stories to fall back on. When we’re able to recognize that our thoughts and feelings aren’t the sum total of who we are, we’re able to access a gentle, quiet confidence that’s not affected by our internal or external worlds.
It’s tempting to think that our self-esteem has been impacted by past events and is contingent on future ones. Rather, self-esteem happens in the moment and comes from a peaceful mind that no longer identifies so strongly with passing thoughts and feelings, and instead recognizes them as just that — passing. So, how do we begin to unlock the control our thoughts and feelings have over us? The answer is, of course: meditation. And Headspace has guided meditation for self-esteem.
The impact of self-esteem meditation
Think of the mind as a blue sky — a blank canvas on which thoughts, feelings, and experiences appear. The true essence of the mind is calmness, brightness, clarity, and happiness. But when burdened by negative thoughts, the mind gets cloudy, dark, and even stormy. We become overwhelmed by these thoughts, identifying with them in such a way that diminishes our confidence and feelings of self-worth.
That’s why meditation can be such a powerful and transformative way to improve self-esteem. No matter how cloudy the sky becomes, we know there will always be a blue sky on the other side. It’s the same way with the mind: no matter how busy it appears, we know there is always an underlying sense of stillness and quiet confidence — if we can just stop long enough for it to appear. Just like the blue sky, the still mind is always present and available to us. We learn to access this place of spacious clarity through meditation.
Here’s how it works: Imagine, for example, experiencing a thought which says, “I’m no good,” and then believing it as something true and substantial, and having that affect how you feel about yourself. Through meditation, we experience thoughts, but we are able to recognize them as passing. Instead of identifying with them or using them to reinforce an old story-line in our mind, we simply let them go. The more we practice, the easier it becomes to go beyond thought, meaning giving thoughts less attention and not allowing them to define who we are. We can experience the innate nature of the mind — which is quiet, confident, and ever-present.
First, find a comfortable position and take a couple of deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Gently close your eyes, feeling the weight of your body press down. Allow your focus to move above your head, and imagine a steady stream of warm sunlight flowing down into your body and washing away any tension. Visualize the sunlight traveling all the way down to your toes, bringing with it a sense of ease and space. Feel it fill the body, dissolving any discomfort or tension.
Now, imagine that warm stream of sunlight slowly traveling up your legs toward your waist, and into the upper half of your body. Feel it gradually move up through the chest, spreading around the shoulders and back, and flowing down your arms and into your hands and fingers. Any last areas of tension are softening as it moves up through your throat, neck, and head into your face until it reaches the very top of your head. Sit in the feeling of warmth, calm, and comfort. Allow that feeling to remain.
Now, let go of the image. In your own time, gently open your eyes. Try to recognize the quality of your mind in that moment, and make an intention to carry that awareness into the rest of your day.
Start a self-esteem building meditation program with Headspace
Headspace offers a 30-day self-esteem meditation course (available to subscribers only), focused on developing a new perspective on negative mental chatter and a less-judgmental inner life, by creating some space in your mind to observe negative and self-critical thinking. The idea is not to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Rather, it’s about seeing through the nature of thought altogether. It doesn’t matter what thoughts arise in the mind, we know that within ourselves is a place of clarity and quiet confidence that’s not affected by the internal or external world. These meditations train us to find that place, not only during practice, but also in everyday life.
And if you’re looking for other types of meditation, explore all that Headspace has to offer, including meditations and courses covering everything from stress and compassion to sleep, focus and more. Get started now!
How Meditation Can Improve Your Self-Esteem
The next time you have a spare minute, close your eyes. Give yourself a few seconds to pay attention to the rhythm of your breath. Then, try to pace your inhales and exhales: inhale for four seconds, pause for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, pause for four seconds, and repeat. Focus on the feeling of your breath entering and leaving your body, the sensation of your feet on the floor, and relaxing any tension or clenching in your muscles.
But why meditate? You may be wondering what the benefits of such a simple activity could be. Of course, being able to relax your body and mind for a few minutes a day can do wonders for your stress level. According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation can assist with combating symptoms of anxiety and depression. But meditation can also improve your self-esteem through comfort with thoughts and acceptance of self. Here are a few ways meditation may improve your self-esteem:
- Meditation takes away power from negative thoughts. Meditation does not mean controlling your thoughts, but it does decrease the control your thoughts may have over you. For example, having lots of negative thoughts about your appearance, your abilities, your value as a person, what others think of you, etc. can contribute to poor self-esteem. In other words, these thoughts can make you feel bad about yourself. However, when you try to shut out these thoughts or argue against them, you are giving them more time and energy, which allows them to grow stronger. Through meditation, you can learn that just observing these thoughts and accepting that they’re there weakens them. And when these thoughts have less of an emotional hold over you, they will likely start occurring less frequently too. Check out Mindful for more information about how this works.
- Meditation helps you realize that your thoughts do not define you. Thinking something does not make it true. Thoughts are often reflexes, just mental occurrences that happen in response to stimuli. So if you have negative thoughts about yourself and your abilities, that doesn’t mean that you are any less capable of worthwhile. Meditation teaches you to recognize these thoughts for what they are: just thoughts. Not realities or truths.
- Meditation allows you to feel like you are enough. One of the more subtle benefits of meditation is the ability to feel present in the moment when you are meditating. When you dwell on the past or worry about the future, feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy can creep in. But when you are fully present, you are able to feel that simply being and breathing is enough in that moment. You can assure yourself that you are exactly where you need to be. You may become more comfortable in your body and the space that you occupy. These little lessons acquired in the process of meditation may start to affect how you feel the rest of the day, too.
Maybe you feel apprehensive or reluctant about beginning to meditate. That might be because you’ve heard one of the common misconceptions about meditation. These misconceptions include:
- Meditation requires hours of sitting still. Many people picture meditation as sitting on a cushion perfectly still for hours at a time. However, according to a New York Times article by David Gilles, you can get benefits from meditating for only 10 to 15 minutes. Additionally, meditation can include movement. Some yoga practices are geared toward meditation, such as this guided mindful yoga for meditation from the YouTube yoga channel Practice with Kris.
- People are either naturally “good at meditation,” or not. This is simply not true. Everyone needs practice to get better at meditation. While some people may have an easier time focusing than others, wandering thoughts are a normal part of meditation and not a sign that you are “bad at it.”
- Meditation is about controlling your mind. Meditation is often thought of as a tool with which people control their minds and thoughts. However, the opposite is actually true. Meditation is about acknowledging that you can’t fully control your thoughts, and accepting your mind the way it is. The result of this acceptance is that negative and anxious thoughts have less power. If you put less energy toward trying to suppress or fight against these thoughts, and instead just observe them or let them be, their control over how you feel diminishes. Eventually, you may learn to be able to just let go of unwanted thoughts, like a leaf floating down a stream. https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
So, are you interested in trying out meditation? You can start by checking out the Chopra Center’s five meditation styles for beginners. You might also be interested in this guided meditation practice for self love from Yoga International and meditation for inner peace from the popular YouTube yogi Adrienne Mishler. Don’t forget to breathe!
ion awakens us to the interconnection between every one of us, that we are not alone here. Rather, we are each a part of this wondrous planet together, and the more we extend ourselves with kindness the less we will be focused on our own limitations.By Ed and Deb Shapiro, Contributor Mindfulness, Meditation teachers; bestselling Authors: The Unexpected Power of Mindlessness & Meditation08/21/2012 12:08am EDT | Updated October 21, 2012This post was published on the now-closed Huff-Post Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
We may all have had times we’ve been put down, undermined, when our belief in ourselves is shaken, questioned or threatened, or when we feel we’re simply not good enough. Such self-doubt can lead to hopelessness, inferiority, even depression. A lack of self-esteem is demeaning and just not an easy feeling.
The Dalai Lama met with a group of Western psychotherapists, and he asked them what was the most common issue that their patients came to see them about. They were unified in their response: a lack of self-esteem. Apparently the Dalai Lama found this quite hard to believe, as self-esteem is not a known problem in Tibet. We talked to one of his translators, now living with his wife and child in London. Tashi told us that children growing up in Tibet would be welcomed and loved by the whole village, which he found very different to the way children are raised in our more nuclear-oriented family culture.
We watched as an eager young television reporter from CNN asked the Dalai Lama what was the first thing he thought of when he awoke in the morning. We thought that the world’s most famous meditator would say something deeply profound or insightful, something along the lines of vowing to save the world from its own ignorance. Instead, the Dalai Lama simply replied, “Shaping motivation.” He said that we all, including himself, have to be vigilant so that our intentions are focused in the right direction, and how shaping his motivation on a daily basis reminds him to extend loving kindness and compassion to all others. Such motivation takes us beyond ourselves so that we are not limited by a lack of confidence or self-esteem.
There are two very specific ways that meditation can help us to transform a lack of self-esteem into inner confidence, self-acceptance and self-belief.
Firstly, it enables us to meet, greet, and make friends with ourselves. We get to know who we are and to accept and embrace ourselves just as we are. We soon find that our doubts, insecurities or fears are really only superficial as we begin to connect with a deeper place of trust, dignity and self-worth.
Secondly, as we bring acceptance and loving kindness to all aspects of ourselves, we may surprisingly uncover a deeper belief that we do not deserve to be happy, that we do not believe we are good enough — a sort of unconscious built-in self-destruction clause. But we can invite kindness into that self-negation and lack of self-esteem until such uncertainty dissolves into love.
Meditation awakens us to the interconnection between every one of us, that we are not alone here. Rather, we are each a part of this wondrous planet together, and the more we extend ourselves with kindness the less we will be focused on our own limitations. Discovering our inter-connection takes us from a place of self-contentedness to other-contentedness. The Dalai Lama says kindness is his religion. You can read more in our book, Be The Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World.
Loving Self Meditation
Find a comfortable and upright place to sit. Take a few deep breaths and watch the flow of your breath as it enters and leaves.
Bring your focus to your heart, and as you breathe in feel as if your heart is opening and softening; as you breathe out, release any tension or resistance.
Now bring into your heart either an image of yourself or repeat your name and hold yourself in your heart, tenderly and gently. Silently repeat, “May I be freed from self-doubt, may I be happy, may all things go well for me.”
Keep breathing into your heart, holding yourself with love, and repeating the words. This will generate a deep loving kindness and appreciation for yourself.
When you are ready, take a deep breath and let it go. Then go about your day with a caring heart and a smile on your lips.
5 Easy Steps That Help You Build Self-Confidence with Meditation
Self esteem is a fragile thing. Did you know that you can boost and build Self-Confidence with meditation?
Whether we like to own it or not, most of us need the recognition or acknowledgement of others to feel confident in ourselves and in our choices. We have all experienced being put down or undermined at one time or another, and it is all too easy to lose belief ourselves and feel shaken up when we are questioned or feel insecure. Without a strategy for bolstering self esteem, self-doubt can undermine our confidence and our capacity to achieve life’s goals. When left unchecked it can even lead to feelings of inadequacy, helplessness even depression.
So what’s the solution to lagging self confidence?
For most people meditation is an uncomplicated way to connect with their spiritual self, manage stress and create a more balanced and peaceful way of living. Having practised meditation for many years myself I have noticed several other tangible benefits that come along with my daily meditation practice, including feeling emotionally stronger and more self-confident.
If you are looking for ways to strengthen your confidence or improve your productivity, there are many ways that meditation can help because on a fundamental level, it helps you develop a better connection with the deeper, core part of yourself.
What is it about going deeper into yourself that makes the difference?
I’m sure you would agree that most of us are used to listening to and connecting with our thoughts more than any other part of ourselves. So much so in fact that it’s easy to forget that there is more to us than our wondering, chattering minds.
Regular meditation helps you transcend that chatter and creates a bridge between your thinking mind and ‘higher silence’ that connects to your true inner essence. Whether you want to call it your spirit, your soul, your higher self, or even divinity, the more you connect with this inner core, the more you tend to live your life from a calmer, deeper perspective.
Here is a brief guide on how to get started
STEP 1: Find a quiet, peaceful location
STEP 2: Get seated comfortably in a straight backed chair, or on the floor cross legged. If you slouch, sit with your back against a wall. You may want to try being out in nature with your back against a tree. The key is to keep your spine straight as this allows your Qi or Chi to flow more easily. More importantly than posture you must feel comfortable or you nay be distracted by aches and pains in your body
STEP 3: Use a mantra to distract your chattering mind. Something as simple as “Peace. Space. Calm” is ideal. Now imagine (visualize) what your ideal environment for “Peace. Space. Calm” would be.
STEP 4: Put your hands on your belly. Take three slow deep breaths. Breath deep into your belly and feel your belly pushing your hands up. Do your best to keep your shoulders relaxed and loose as you breath.
STEP 5: Now visualize “Peace. Space. Calm” and say the mantra to yourself as you breath in “Peace. Space. Calm”, hold the breath for two seconds and then repeat your mantra “Peace. Space. Calm” as you breath out. It is as simple as this. Repeat this process for 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
STEP 6: If you are looking for faster more powerful meditation results then you will find that binaural beats will help to deepen your mental relaxation. Take a moment to subscribe to this blog get 4 high quality binaural beats / brain entertainment audios to progress your meditation results ten fold.
What benefits can your expect to see from regular meditation?
As a result of this practice, you will naturally become less engaged with those inner voices that generally spout inane drivel or negative self-talk. Gradually you will begin to notice that your inner self-critic settles down and becomes silenced too.
In the freedom of that silence you get to live each moment with a greater awareness of your true spirit, and in that space, like a rose bud opening, you get to realise that you are valuable simply as you are – not because of anything you do.
Gently, and before you know it, your confidence reveals itself to you and you find yourself feeling more open and courageous, willing to take bigger steps, and taking the occasional risk is something you so in your stride while happily overriding any previous perceived or predicted failure.
Through meditation the very sense of yourself, your true essence if you like, has become untangled from failure programming and false perceptions of your own inadequacy, and like leaves in autumn, imperceptibly begin to fall away. Though much of this process happens automatically through regular practice, there are also a number of things you can do to help things along:
Relax with affirmations, meditation, visualization and deep breathing. This self-esteem relaxation can be used to promote positive self-image and help you fall asleep in a positive frame of mind.
The script will begin by guiding you to relax your body. Once you are calm and breathing deeply, you can focus on the guided meditations that follow. Each affirmation will help you to relax and focus on building positive self-esteem.
You can use this relaxation script to record your own audio or learn to relax.
Copyright Notice: You may not make recordings or reproduce anything from this website, except for your personal, private use. Please see these frequently asked questions for details.
Copyright Notice: You may not make recordings or reproduce anything from this website, except for your personal, private use. Please see these frequently asked questions for details.
Begin reading the self-esteem relaxation script here:
Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down. Notice how you are feeling right now…physically and mentally.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and release the breath through your mouth.
Take another breath, and allow your breathing to relax you as you exhale fully.
Breathe in gently… and as you breathe out, let the air carry the tension out of your body.
Continue to breathe slowly and gently as you begin to focus on relaxing your body.
Notice where your body is tense. Focus your attention on one of these areas. As you breathe, picture that part of your body becoming slightly more relaxed than it was before. With each breath, that part of your body becomes a little more relaxed.
Imagine what the relaxation feels like… tingly… soft… gentle… calm… loose… free… and let that feeling of relaxation grow.
Scan your body for any areas of tension, and for each area, let the relaxation soften the muscles as they give up their hold. Let the feeling of relaxation grow…spreading calm throughout your body.
Breathe in relaxation… and breathe out tension…breathe in calm…and let all the tension go as you exhale…
Continue to breathe slowly, and gently, deepening your state of relaxation more and more with each breath. Deeper and deeper. More and more relaxed. Calm. At peace.
Now begin to create a picture in your mind. Imagine a place where you feel completely at ease. This might be a favorite place you have been, or somewhere you have seen, or it might be completely imaginary. It’s up to you. Picture this place where you feel happy and calm.
Create the details about this place in your mind. Visualize the sights… sounds… and smells… of your place. Imagine how you feel physically. You are comfortable, enjoying the pleasant temperature… enjoying being still and relaxing or doing whatever enjoyable activities you participate in here…
Enjoy the way you feel in this safe place.
You feel calm and safe here. At peace with yourself.
Remain in your peaceful place while you meditate calmly and build your self-esteem.
Imagine that all of the following affirmations are true for you, right now in this moment, and enjoy the self-esteem relaxation you experience. Repeat each affirmation in your mind, or out loud, with conviction. Use your imagination to fully believe each self-esteem relaxation affirmation.