Ego comes before self-esteem – the reverse is true. Ego comes before happiness – the former comes before the latter. And when the latter sets in, so does all the misery. Self-esteem is what sets in motion the process of self-improvement by helping us to set goals and then strive to achieve them. The self-esteem we have will make our path to happiness a smoother one.
When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to do more for ourselves. We become a better friend, a better partner, and a better parent. This also leads to greater success in all aspects of our lives. If you feel inferiority complex or low self-esteem, you’ll likely do things to make yourself feel better rather than to improve yourself.
On the other hand, if you feel great about yourself, you’ll be more assertive with others, better at work, a better parent, a better friend, etc. In addition, your sense of humor will shine through – you laugh more, you smile more, you’re nicer, you have more energy, you share more personal information – and so forth. This is your real self-esteem – your true value – and it comes from within. It does not have to be achieved by means of either ego or by working hard. You can achieve high self-esteem, even though you are the best in the world at doing the least difficult of tasks.
High self-esteem is also important to maintain long-term happiness. If you have low self-esteem, you will quickly tire of life’s demands and feel like there is no point in going on living. Conversely, if you have a healthy sense of self-esteem, you will be happier throughout your life because you will take pride in accomplishments and be more willing to work at making yourself a better person.
The good news is that there is a way to build self-esteem that does not rely on either ego or on being like other people. And it has everything to do with how we think. Self-esteem is nothing more than an abstract belief about yourself and your abilities. The belief you have may be correct to some extent, but is it accurate enough to base your future actions on? Your true self-image and your true sense of self are the things that really matter.
If you want to feel better about yourself, then the best thing you can do is replace “I” with” ME.” Think of this as changing “I” to “You.” When you replace “I” with “You,” you immediately give yourself permission to treat yourself better, because you recognize that YOU are the one responsible for who you are and you don’t owe anyone else anything. By recognizing your own worth, you immediately give yourself the power to make the necessary changes to your life and the life of those around you. In so doing, you get much more from life than you would by merely hoping and wishing. By taking responsibility for your own happiness, you can find your own path through life.
In order to truly feel better and to achieve higher self-esteem, you need to start first by changing the way you think. I’ve written a whole book about how this works and I encourage you to read it. (It’s called “The Science of Getting Higher: A Guide to Building a High Self-Esteem from Scratch,” by Jack Canfield.) When you change the way you think you will instantly feel better about yourself. You’ll also feel better about the world around you because you’ll understand what is important to others and treat them accordingly.
Once you understand how your thought processes work, you can apply the same method of change to other areas of your life as well. Self-esteem needs to be increased in order to feel better about everything. Once you have the proper thoughts, you will be able to improve many areas of your life. Self-esteem vs. ego give us a great way to get there, but we must first come to grips with how we really feel about ourselves first. Only then can we begin to build upon that foundation and improve upon it.