Self Esteem - You Are Not Who You Think You are
David sat in front of me at one of my five-day intensive workshops. A
successful businessman with a wife and two grown children, David
believed that he was not good enough.
“I’m insufficient,” he said. “I’m inadequate.”
I looked at this kind man and felt deep sadness for him. He did not
know who he was.
“Why do you believe that?” I asked.
“I didn’t do well in school, and I’ve made lots of mistakes in
“So you are basing your worth on your performance, right?”
David could not conceive of any other way of defining his worth other
than through his performance – which he never saw as good enough.
I asked David to look inside – at the essence of himself - and tell
me what he sees. All he saw was emptiness.
“David, please close your eyes. Now imagine a wonderful being who
loves you very much. Who comes to mind?”
“My grandfather. He died when I was young, but he really loved
“Good. Now imagine that you are seeing yourself through the eyes of
your grandfather. What does your grandfather see when he looks at
“He sees a bright and creative little boy, who is very kind and
caring. A loving little boy. A little boy who is funny and likes to
laugh, and likes to make other people laugh.”
“Is there anything wrong with this little boy? Anything inadequate
“Oh no! He is a wonderful little boy.”
“David, this is who you really are. You are not your performance.
Your performance will come and go and at some point you might retire
and not perform at all. Yet that does not mean that you are,
therefore, worthless. Your worth is in who you are, not in what you
do. Your worth in intrinsic.”
David realized that, because of his highly critical and rejecting
parents, he had always been trying to prove himself and always came up
short in their eyes. As a result of seeing himself as unworthy and
inadequate, he did not treat himself well. He treated himself the way
his parents had treated him – with criticism and neglect. He was
always trying to take care of everyone else, but rarely thought about
taking care of himself. He was constantly abandoning himself
emotionally, just as he had been emotionally abandoned by his parents.
“David, if you chose to see yourself as your grandfather saw you
rather than how your parents saw you, how would you feel about
yourself and how would you treat yourself?”
“I’ve just been thinking about that. I just realized that I treat
my dog better than I treat myself! I would never judge my dog the way
I judge myself.”
“So what would you do differently if you saw yourself the way your
grandfather sees you?”
“I would stop judging myself as insufficient and inadequate. I’m a
really good person. I am not at all insufficient or inadequate as a
person. And I choose my friends based on who they are as people –
not on their performance. So I obviously value the very qualities that
“What else would you do if you really valued who you are?”
“I would listen to my own feelings and take care of my own needs
instead of taking care of everyone else’s feelings and needs. I
would no longer see it as selfish to take care of myself instead of
taking care of everyone else. I would be at least as attentive to
myself as I am to my dog!”
David was glowing. He was discovering who he really is, not who he
thought he was.
People often think that their worth – who they really are – is
based on looks and performance. Yet these qualities are transitory.
What is real and eternal is who you are in your heart and soul. If you
shift your definition of your worth from outer to inner, you will stop
trying to prove yourself. You will know that you are already a
beautiful being, totally deserving of love.
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Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight
books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By
You?" and “Healing Your Aloneness.” She is the co-creator of
the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now!
Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com
or email her at
Phone sessions available.
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