According to studies, at least 85 percent or more of the world’s population suffers from low self-esteem. Although it may appear that such difficulties are only experienced by the poor, uneducated, or lower socioeconomic members of society, people from all walks of life can face situational or more widespread difficulties with their self-esteem.
Many extremely successful business people suffer from low self-esteem in some aspects of their lives. Perhaps they are socially challenged, or they struggle to form close or intimate relationships. Perhaps they have low self-esteem because of their physical appearance or health. Perhaps they are not having enough fun in their lives, or they are putting too much emphasis on their work. Many people who are “successful” are driven to succeed. They compensate for feeling inadequate in other areas of their lives by working harder and finding a job where they can excel. This gives them a new focus where they can win, but it does not meet their unmet needs in other areas such as relationships, recreation, personal and spiritual development, health and appearance, and their ability to live balanced, fun, and fulfilling lives.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with finding an occupational niche in which one can be successful while also feeling good about oneself. Many people who lack self-esteem in other areas, on the other hand, are driven to succeed, driven to prove their worth. Because business is an area in which they can excel, they neglect other areas in order to focus excessively on business.
However, because their actions are based on the mistaken belief that they are not good enough, that they are defective, or that they are unworthy of being fully loved and accepted, there is little lasting satisfaction, even in areas where they can excel. They appear to be climbing a ladder, with the top of the ladder in the clouds. They believe that if they can just reach a certain height, they will be successful. They will have demonstrated their worth. They will find fulfillment, happiness, and satisfaction. However, no matter how high they climb, they never seem to arrive. There are always new goals and objectives to prove their worth to. The more they accomplish, the further they must travel. They never seem to measure up, no matter how hard they try. Or, if they do, it will be brief and fleeting. There is no getting to the point where they can find the peace of mind that comes from self-love and self-acceptance.
Because the foundation of their ladder is built on quicksand, they frequently sink as quickly as they climb. In fact, from their point of view, they will never achieve the perfection they so desperately desire. They will always find evidence to highlight their flaws and reinforce their fears of being unworthy, unlovable, or otherwise defective.
The message of The Self-Esteem Book is straightforward. No one should accept a bleak existence as a result of a lack of self-esteem. Most people make up or believe that there is something wrong with them, that they are inadequate, not good enough, and unworthy of being loved and having access to all that life has to offer. If they are willing to examine their past in order to find the source of their resignation and low self-esteem, they can reinterpret what happened to them in such a way that they can heal and complete the past, eliminate negative self-talk, and live their lives from a decision to strive for excellence and contribute to others. They will manifest happiness and fulfillment if they develop a strong belief that they can influence people and the world around them and that they are, in fact, very worthy of receiving life’s blessings.
In addition to the cost of never finding true happiness, long-term fulfillment, or peace, low self-esteem has a wide range of consequences for businesspeople. For example, by failing to address the root cause of their self-esteem issues, they forfeit their personal power, as well as their ability to pursue their life purpose and fully manifest their gifts in the world. If we spend our energy worrying about our flaws or being incomplete with our past, we will never be fully present to today, and we will sacrifice our true potential to achieve a result.
Our relationships suffer as a result of our misinterpretation of others’ words and actions, which invalidates us and makes us feel bad about ourselves. We may be so driven to prove ourselves that we sacrifice our personal effectiveness and charisma by focusing on ourselves and our shortcomings rather than the wants and needs of others. We may play small and hide out in social situations or whenever the prospect of looking bad or “being found out” presents itself to us. Alternatively, we may overcompensate and develop workaholic tendencies in order to prove our worth to others or to ourselves. Because of this misguided focus, we trade our ability to have the greatest possible impact on others and to best contribute our gifts to the world.
The three-step process outlined in The Self-Esteem Book is the key to breaking free from the vicious cycle of low self-esteem, diminished confidence, and the never-ending, frustrating quest for fulfillment. The process begins with healing one’s past so that it no longer drains one’s energy and consumes one’s attention. Once the pull of past ghosts has been released, we can turn our attention to properly analyzing our current situation. We can identify what is working and what isn’t in our lives to support living an upset-free life of choice, a life that honors our most important values and inspires us to live passionately.
Finally, we can take that magical wand that is our birthright, wave it over our lives, and deliberately design our future. We can choose to do so in a way that excites us, by letting go of the dreary state of low self-esteem, unhealthy resignation, and self-pity that no longer serves us. We can live with the intention of honoring our God-given magnificence and leading happy, fulfilled lives in which we fully contribute to others by sharing our gifts with the world.