I recently found a beautiful little book called “1 Question that Can Change Your Life” by Monika Laschkolnig. It is like a self-coaching journal, with some theory and things to challenge your thinking.
The questions is: what are you worthy of?
Monika theorises that self-esteem has two components: a feeling of self-worth and a feeling of competence. She notices that many people build their competence, but not their worthiness.
“No one can take the feeling of self-worth away from you and no one can give it to you; others may have trained you to neglect or forget it, but no one could have ever taken it away. That is excellent news, because it means you still have it inside.
“Perception of your self-worth and your competence is subjective and it is solely you who can enhance your own self-esteem. You can be given circumstances favourable for this process, but it is you and you only who can re-establish your own worthiness for yourself.”
She maps the two components of self-esteem (self-worth and competence) on two axis.
“This shows us how crucial awareness of our self-worth is. The self-worth is the absolute basis of our healthy functioning as human beings, the foundation of a happy and fulfilled life. Only if you feel worthy of growing, expanding, learning, etc, will you develop competence in a respective field. Competence is secondary to self-worth and can be acquired through learning, achieving, and accomplishing things. Self-worth cannot be learned or obtained – it is a knowing coming from within.
“A solid feeling of self-worth is the basis for a health self-esteem. Sometimes people are concerned there might be danger of getting conceited, proud or arrogant as the result of achieving high self-esteem. I would like to dispel that misunderstanding: it is the self-confidence with a missing sense of self-worth the might lead to such a result. However, asking if you can get too mush self-esteem is like asking: can you get too healthy?
“No negative thought you have ever entertained had the power to change the truth of who you are. It might have obscured the pure view of your nature, but it is not able to forever veil the feeling that you are a worthy being because deep inside you have always known who you are.
“Consider the possibility of accepting yourself the way you are, with all your inner beauty and all your shortcomings the make you a perfect human being. And as the worthy and competent person you are, you can set an intention to let go of your attachment to negative emotions, heal and grow.
“Our culture suggests that your worthiness depends on what you do in life rather than on who you are. But it’s who you are that makes a difference: your actions always result from what you think and what you feel; they are the outer reflection of your inner being.
“You are a worthy human being.”