For most of us, paying attention without judgment is the main obstacle. We harbor opinions and judgments about nearly everything and this taints our consciousness with false perceptions. In effect, reality appears distorted. People who suffer from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, etc. experience this distortion to a higher degree. It is an element of everyday living to most people.
Mental distortion and false beliefs are one of the biggest causes of emotional stress – the resulting unhappiness leads to frustration and depression. Developing mindfulness is one of the most effective tools to avoid this happening. Meditation helps to alter our perceptions, to enable us to see and accept reality as it is.
Here are six common signs of low self-esteem:
1. Reading too much into people’s actions and words towards you. People who suffer from low self-esteem find themselves analyzing everyone’s tone of voice, words, body language, etc., looking for signs of rejection.
2. You find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others, for example, your friends, colleagues, or family. There is a constant internal pressure created by ourselves to observe how we measure up to other people or judge how inadequate we are.
3. A tendency to be excessively defensive. This is because we secretly nurture a fear that everyone is out to get us and believe that our actions should please everyone.
4. You try your best to be a people pleaser. If you do not agree with a viewpoint, you avoid expressing your honest feelings because you are afraid of losing that person’s approval. This type of behavior indicates a desperate need for approval and acceptance at any cost. For example, you may display signs of anxiety if your friend or colleague takes time to respond to a text message or phone call.
5. You are unable to handle compliments in the right way. This is because you secretly believe that you can never accomplish anything, and something outside of yourself, e.g., luck, destiny, etc., must have played a part in your success.
6. People with low self-esteem usually enjoy putting others down and spitting out insults because it makes them feel better about themselves. Addictions, depression and abusive behavior are also manifestations of low self-esteem.
Mindfulness does not always mean you are on a spiritual path. Modern day mindfulness integrates the wisdom of ancient teachings with modern insights, in order to gain a better understanding of the inner self without the dogma of religion. Mindfulness trains the mind to control thoughts instead of the other way round. Mindfulness helps us manifest positive, empowering results due to purposeful deliberation. We often see either positive or negative results, but we remain unaware of the thoughts and actions that helped manifest those results. The practice of mindfulness helps us make conscious, deliberate choices in every moment of our lives. Remember, you are in control of your life and your choices.
Meditation helps the mind to develop the skills and strength to manage problems relating to our own thought processes. Most of the stress and anxiety that we experience is created by our own minds and is related to what we think of ourselves and our relationship to the world around us. When incorporating mindfulness meditation into your everyday life you will be strengthening your self esteem as well as other relationships and the way you respond to external stimuli.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation include, but are not limited to, the following:
The main objective of mindfulness is to intentionally direct our attention. One of the major goals of mindfulness is to silence the internal chatter that continues in our heads day in and day out. Internal silence helps nourish and heal us. Mindfulness helps enhance clarity and focus and paves the way for improved decision-making skills. There are several different types of meditation techniques available. Choose one that suits you the best. Some examples include mantra meditation, sound meditation, breathing and visualization meditation and so on. Avoid practicing techniques that do not help you to attain inner silence.
Being comfortable and true to your self is what matters most. Remember to go easy on yourself. Meditation is not about getting the technique right – it is about allowing your mind to find its truth. Let go of rigidity, preconceived notions, or what you think you ‘should’ feel. Just be.
Please do not go into meditation with any set expectations. You are opening yourself up to a new world and new perceptions. The whole point is to be open and non-judging. My favorite exercise is detailed below. If you want to try some different exercises on your own, the internet has so much information. If you’ve never practiced meditation, don’t worry. You’re in a good position because you’re starting with a blank slate. Mindfulness is associated with tangible benefits: learning to be in the present moment brings about transformational changes and improves the quality of our lives. While beginners may experience temporary benefits, experienced practitioners are able to enjoy more permanent benefits that arise after transforming our relationship with our thoughts. The fundamental principle of Buddhist mindfulness suggests that clinging to thoughts, ideas, feelings, opinions, or judgments is the cause of all discontent and suffering. If you would like to be guided through an exercise, schedule a call with myself or another coach.
Remember to create the right inner environment by avoiding external distractions: switch off your cell phone and request that your family members or colleagues do not interrupt you for ten minutes or so.
Tip: It is not necessary to alter your natural breathing. Simply observe your breath without judgment.