Self-esteem and curing stress and burnout.

A simplified definition many people often use for the word “self-esteem” is that it’s “How we feel about ourselves.” But self-esteem includes broader and more important parts of ourselves, so I would prefer to define it this way:

High, or natural self-esteem is manifested in a wonderful feeling of inner-balance, grounded on self-acceptance and a healthy, comforting self-respect towards yourself.

This is very different from self-confidence which is grounded in what you know you can deal with and accomplish.
We can, for example, act in a very self-confident manner without our having high self-esteem.

High self-esteem is knowing who we are and living in harmony with ourselves without needing to have the approval of others.

So what does the connection between self-esteem and stress/burnout look like?

We become negatively stressed when we force ourselves to continue working, even though our bodies have already let us know we’re operating on our emergency reserves. Most of us have a certain level of stress tolerance. However, our usual, everyday level of stress-tolerance significantly expands when we press ourselves to do something we want to do. Conversely, it shrinks when we press ourselves to do something we feel we must do.

One of the root-causes to this kind of negative stress and eventual burnout is very often the result of a conflict taking place inside us between our inner child* and inner-parent that has not been taken care of. It’s often related to our being too strict towards ourselves, which adds a special debilitating source of stress into our lives (This unresolved inner-relationship lowers our self-esteem, though not necessarily our self-confidence – but in either event, it takes up a great deal of our reserve energy– energy we may need to meet unforeseen outside stress factors). In short, such unresolved inner-conflicts increase both stress and susceptibility – and if we’re not careful, they can even lead to our becoming physically ill.

To everyone in a burnout situation, or with a tendency to burnouts, I recommend that you take care of your self-esteem (which also includes taking care of your inner-child and his-or-her needs), in order to meet situations like these with a deeper and higher awareness whenever they occur. Such expanded awareness gives us the clarity to make the choices and take the actions that will serve us best.

Taking care of our self-esteem requires gaining knowledge that we don’t ordinarily encounter in our daily lives. It’s about becoming familiar with, and learning to rely on, the signals that come from our body and our soul as much as those that come to us from the outside real-world we are all trained to deal with. It’s also about getting to understand how this knowledge fits together and how it relates to us, personally, so we can use it in a way that helps us, because it takes into account all the facts about the particular situation we find ourself in. It’s at this point, that we first begin to build a foundation and feel that we have a true self-esteem that reflects our intrinsic self-worth as a human being. Now we’re able to give ourselves time to develop, in a natural way, an approach to life that takes into account both worlds and keeps us from negative stress and burnout.

Taking care of our self-esteem requires some effort and courage, but it’s well worth it.
The rewards are peace of mind, increased well-being, harmony – and a fantastic ability to create long-term success for ourselves, with less effort and more joy.

When we first begin to look inside ourselves, many of us feel a little uncomfortable and try out different “shortcuts” to avoid going to the roots of our self-esteem issues. My experience is that these “shortcuts” only lead us away from living life to its fullest because our low self-esteem is still there and, as before, constantly works to undermine our sense of self-worth.

We once came to this world to live in happiness and harmony. Deep inside, we all know this, because one of the deepest desires we have in common as human beings is to bring peace of mind into our lives.

We all have the ability to reach this state, no matter what our background. We have a “secret” source of Self-esteem and trust within ourselves that can accomplish this. So one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to find this source.

Many people who seek to control their surroundings are afraid of their inner reality – but, in fact, it’s only when we begin to learn about our inner-world that we come closer to something that resembles control over our own lives.
It’s then, and only then, that inner forces begin to lose their power to take unseen control over our lives.

*Inner child.
As children and teenagers we were vulnerable to what went on in our family life and our immediate surroundings.
In the event of painful incidents or constantly repeated patterns of being rejected, unseen or insulted, the little child/teenager’s feelings, reactions and images tend to remain in the unconscious memory.

This denied and hurt child/teenager (our fears) will live its life inside of us and unconsciously determine how we perceive the world and our self-image – until we take care of it.

These “selves” of children and teenagers are submerged personality-states of who we are, they can play a greater or lesser role throughout our lives and sometimes lie wholly at the root of our actions and reactions without our being aware ot it.