12# Iron rules of strong self-esteem
The purpose of this article
I came up with these iron rules the other day as a reference guide for myself to remind me of the fundamentals self-esteem. An ‘iron rule’ is a law of power. These iron laws are basically organisational principles to help restructure your thought patterns & actions to maximise your emotional health, feeling good about your true identity & capabilities.
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is your core self-evaluation of yourself. Social confidence you can fake to certain degrees, but you can’t bullshit your subconscious mind when it comes to self-esteem… Core self-esteem is what you ACTUALLY think of yourself. Often ‘ultra-confidence’ is a super compensation to camouflage low self-esteem… A large portion of self-esteem is built within the primitive years of your childhood and school years etc. Particularly in the years of 0 – 16 years of age where a child is highly dependent on his / hers parents & is more vulnerable to abuse, neglect & abandonment.
If you grew up in a highly dysfunctional family of origin then you wont have been given the necessary tools to esteem yourself with. If you were chronically shamed all the time, guilt tripped constantly, ignored, neglected, abandoned, physically abused, modelled parents with poor mental health, you weren’t aloud to protect yourself or be powerful then the chances are you will have impaired or no self-esteem…
Low self-esteem is at the reactor core of all addictions, violence in the world, perfectionism, rage, narcissism, co-dependency, dysfunctional relationships, almost all of mental health disorders & depending your levels of self-esteem it will determine well you succeed in life.
False self-esteem boosts
You can temporarily amplify your self-esteem through others validation, food, alcohol, gambling, buying things, drugs, putting others down so you feel more powerful, even achieving but self-esteem applies it is self-generated NOT outer-orientated. A trick a lot of people do to numb out their painful feelings of low-esteem (which includes toxic shame, neurotic guilt, self-hatred, social anxiety) is they find ‘outside reaches for inside security’ as opposed to fixing the problem internally. Addictions are often are really emotional anaesthesia & a maladaptive way to combat low self-esteem.
Typically those with low self-esteem induced in early childhood will have a form of post traumatic stress disorder known as ‘C-PTSD’ aka ‘complex post traumatic stress’. If you have been abandoned, neglected, abused within your primitive years you will have been through a series of betrayal traumas from your source figures which can really damage your beliefs & actions around relationships, including the relationship with yourself.
As with traditional ptsd where someone occurs a ‘shock trauma’ where someone has 1 accident in a car crash & every time they enter a car they have all the symptomatology of ptsd, people will have a similar sequences of events happen but will experience ‘emotional flashbacks’ typically more around people when put in similar situations as the traumas they faced in early childhood life.
Emotional flashbacks when experienced by a person may not have a visualised image being played within their mind but will just experience a sudden rupture of toxic emotions. These iron rules within this article are very effective for emotional flashback management and can be helpful reminders that you’re not in a child body anymore and you have more inner / outer resources to help you combat your day to day tribulations. Typically, an emotional flashbacks can make you feel small, defective, worthless & make you want to isolate (the essence of shame, produces a feeling of wanting to hide). They are temporary age regressions. Through effective inner-critic management & reading these iron rules below, they will help minimise both the frequency & intensity of emotional flashbacks.
The ‘salvation fantasy’
By no means are these rules the definitive prescription for low self-esteem… One of my favourite authors Pete Walker describes what as known as a ‘salvation fantasy’ as kind of ‘false paradise’ people envision which represents high self-esteem people or the final end point with their c-ptsd recovery where they think they practically indestructible from ever experiencing emotional flashbacks or minor fluctuations in self-esteem. This is very black and white thinking which a lot of people with c-ptsd & low self-esteem suffer from… This does not exist…
There will be always tribulations & the predictable unpredictability of life and sometimes having tendencies to fall into old self-defeating patterns of thinking. To me, part of being human is embracing our humanness and realising we do in fact make errors and are inherently imperfect. Losing the perfectionistic fantasy of always being invincible makes life easy to manage and takes a lot of the pressure off to be constantly at peak performance. Without embracing this fact, we actually set ourselves up for low self-esteem… The reason being it can create a very negative feedback loop. For example:
- I am doing well at taking better care of myself
- I experience an emotional flashback
- I failed at the goal of total emotional perfectionism
- Now I hate myself
- ***Toxic feelings emerge***
- Falls into addictive ritual to numb pain out
- Begins cycle again with the same idealised fantasy of emotional invincibility embedded within their belief system and tries to be perfect once again, only to eventually fail and cause more self-hatred & addict-like obsessive compulsive behaviour.
***Side note*** One of my beliefs is: ”I release myself from the need to be emotionally & socially perfect at all times and under all circumstances.”
Characteristics of people with high self-esteem include:
- Don’t compare themselves to others
- Take care of their body & quality of their diet
- Set boundaries with people whilst respecting others
- Value their opinion about themselves over others whilst respecting others opinions
- Make themselves their mental point of origin & put themselves first
- Practice self-compassion with themselves & combat hypercritical inner-dialogue
- Don’t attach their worth to their mistakes & embrace obstacles / setbacks
- Value their values & abilities / talents
- Work on themselves daily
- Live their life purpose
Here are what I think are the most potent components of what I believe are highly effective for generating strong self-esteem. I have wrote them as mantras / affirmations for practical use to begin reprogramming your subconscious for high self-esteem.
Josh’s 12# Iron rules of strong self-esteem:
- “I will internalise my accomplishments by focusing on my personal strengths & achievements more than other peoples qualities & successes.”
- “I forgive myself for my past mistakes to avoid guilt tripping myself. I don’t need to be perfect. Every time I fail, I get better because the life lessons failure provides me, helps me to succeed. In a way ‘failure is success’ for this reason.”
- “I won’t compare myself to others. I will only compare myself to the person I was yesterday. Comparing is only a insult to my own worth as nobody by default is the same as me.”
- “Everyone is my equal. Nobody is above me, and I am not below anyone.”
- “I will not obsess over other peoples opinions of me. I will instead view my opinion of myself as the most valuable opinion of me there is.
- “I will strive to remain present (not dwelling the past or future) and will ‘respond’ to the moment without ‘reacting’ to the moment.”
- “I will strive to do as much grieving work as possible to filter out as much pain as possible from my past. I will do this at my own pace. There is so such thing as ‘perfect grieving’ it’s a continuous process.”
- “I will strive not to use my imagination negatively by catastrophizing about my future and instead will use my imagination in a positive way to visualise good things happening to me.”
- “I will make myself my mental point of origin by putting my needs on high priority and putting myself first.”
- “I will work on my life purpose and goals as much as possible everyday. Combined with effective relaxation to ensure I take care of my health & wellbeing while being productive.”
- “I will strive to give myself compassionate inner-dialogue to deescalate my inner-critic and use combative self-talk when I feel it is appropriate.”
- “I will strive to protect my welfare by setting healthy boundaries with people to honour my dignity as a human being. This could be as simple as using the word “No!”. Said firmly whilst maintaining good eye contact. I am allowed to express my anger responsibly to get my needs met & to ensure my own safety socially.”
I know these iron principles of generating strong self-esteem will really help you. I would recommend ready them everyday for 1-2 months to begin to internalise them to memory and read them if you feel you’re having an emotional flashback.
Until next time. Go forth & may your power be legendary.
From your neighbourhood friendly coach
Joshua Leo Stuart