Is self-esteem bad?

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Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Sighclone » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:21 pm

I had a close old friend, a very intuitive and sensitive person who is new to Tolle ask me this at lunch yesterday. I talked about the definition of self and the ego: "False self created by unconscious identification with the mind", from PON. I talked about Esteem - is that like Donald Trump buying a new building and feeling good about himself for it?

The I called him back this morning and said: "You know, there are some very conscious egos who are pretty well grounded in the Now (but may not know it as such), whose lives are led well and lovingly, and who feel good about their contributions...I do not believe that owning that contribution is all bad if that is what you mean by self-esteem. However, if self-esteem is "me enlightened guru master avatar" and one is all puffed up, well, that's just another ego disguise and that kind of self-esteem is not helpful."

Eckhart was honored to be called by Oprah - he said so. Maybe there was a feeling of gratitude to Source...I can't speak for him. If we are all Being, in the process of self-recognizing, and that is where the Universe is now, shouldn't that make Us happy - it surely brings joy...so we feel good about ourSelves...is that Self-esteem?"

I'm playing word games here ... any other input?

Namaste,
Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by innerhike » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:34 am

Andy,

Good question, good topic.

I suppose this could be answered at many levels. As in levels of consciousness or centeredness.

One level is whereby a person has suffered much abuse at the hands of loved ones and in going through some kind of therapeutic work, they are reminded to love themselves and to practice having a healthy self-esteem.

Another level or type of situation is whereby there was a whole movement of authors and self-help sources that were trying to get people in America to have a healthier self-esteem, against the onslaught of messaging from the conditioning in society, from the media, from advertising, etc.

Then there is the absolutist non-dualist person who will see this whole thing of self-esteem as quite dualistic and therefore false.

One passage I recall from a series of books titled "Conversations with God" contains some reference to this topic. The author is ostensibly talking to God and says to God that he has perhaps not been very successful on account of his low self-esteem. God responds by saying that it is not that people have less self-esteem, it is that they have too much of it, in many cases. I found that to be quite entertaining at the time! :-)

Generally speaking I find that eastern philosophy is about killing the ego (therefore leaving no room for things such as self esteem) while contemporary western thinking is about having a healthy ego. If one thinks back to teachers of non-duality such as Nisargadatta Maharaj who was quite forceful in his speech and manners, and was believed to be "completely merged in Source", I don't think that he was lacking self-esteem. Paradoxically, as we destroy our patterns or false ideas, then our real self emerges and it has a quiet confidence of its own.

The best teachers meet the student at the level of the student, instead of giving everyone the same advice and prescription.

Is it possible that one's perspective on this matter is to be tempered by the type of person one is discussing this topic with?

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:51 am

If our feeling of accomplishment is rooted in "look at me" or "aren't I special", then it's likely to be just more ego fuel - mostly because it separates us or makes us stand out from those who we seek recognition from.

On the other hand, as in the case of Tolle feeling honored, that appears to be more a sense of gratitude. To be grateful for an opportunity or even a recognition, or to be appreciative for a sense of accomplishment, is not the same as feeling unique amongst ones peers. Genuine gratitude is a harmonizing factor bringing us closer to our world. If one feels joy at the recognition of being one with all life, it seems unlikely that that experience is ego-building, whereas to identify with the belief that such an experience represents something grandiose in personal development is more likely to just transform the ego-sense into a different form.

I see Self-esteem as a natural state when the belief in personal identity is dropped. As love is the fabric of life, how can the recognition of that essence not reflect that reality?

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Sighclone » Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:02 am

Thank you, my wise, articulate new friends. I'll send this link to Steve.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by A Name is a Label » Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:44 am

yes, I believe confidence and self esteem (aka love for one's self) to be our natural state!

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by heidi » Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:41 am

Self esteem is good sans ego baloney. :)
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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Onceler » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:05 am

I like the story I read recently where the Dalai Lama was asked a question about self-esteem. He got a puzzled look on his face, talked with an interpreter, asked that this concept be explained, then had a spirited discussion among his attending monks in Tibetan. After some time he simply said that he did not know what "self esteem" meant and that there was no such concept in the Tibetian culture. Sorry....
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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by erict » Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:42 am

Here's a transcript of a talk, where Eckhart talks about self-esteem (it's the one where he mentions the Dalai Lama). I think it's really good. You can read it at:

http://www.inner-growth.info/power_of_n ... esteem.htm
"Be sincere; don't ask questions out of mere interest. Ask dangerous questions—the ones whose answers could change your life."

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Sighclone » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:01 am

Thanks, Eric - that was excellent!


Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Craig » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:11 am

One of Eckhart's quotes that struck me- I believe it's from A New Earth- is this:

"The ego views self esteem and humility as contradictory. In truth, they are one and the same."

Hopefully, that helps illuminate the subject a little more.
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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Ives » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:03 am

“Self-esteem is replaced by something deeper and more real”.

This is the last line from the Eckhart link posted above by Eric.
So much wisdom in so few words.

The ups and downs of self-esteem ('The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune', as Shakespeare said) are replaced by the reality of the now.

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by jasmine » Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:53 pm

Love the comment, "maybe it was gratitude to source." Yes, the awareness that we are merely "instruments" of the divine is so key. All goodness, success, achievement, whatever, flows through us from the divine. We can't really take credit for that, but gratitude is imperative. The more we are open to receiving & being "used by" the divine, the more good will flow from us, & ultimately, that's what it's all about isn't it? We don't hoard enlightenment for ourselves, we want to cultivate it to grow "A New Earth." In my view, it's not that self-esteem is "bad," it's just misdirected. Instead of focusing on how "good" or "bad" we are (transient states) why not focus on the eternal, the divine source flowing through us?

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Sighclone » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:03 am

On pp. 174-175 of PON, Eckhart discusses this a little bit more:

"But do you need to have a relationship with yourself at all? Why can't you just be yourself?"

Feeling good or fulfilled may be another way of expressing the Bliss of Presence, if it is not linked to having or owning, however. And feeling distant from true joy or enthusiasm due to some ego-story and deep conditioning might mean low self-esteem and also mean far from being enlightened.

The majority of my good friends are far more financially successful than I am. I have plenty of education and experience, but have never strived for conventional successes. But I have made some progress spiritually, and that realm has been my home. I'm pleased that I made that choice and it has been rewarding to me. However, it is easy for me to 'feel sorry for myself' when I compare my life with others, so I am not free of some ego-stories, or some interest in comparing. Film at eleven.

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Sighclone » Mon May 05, 2008 10:46 pm

More on this:

From the ET transcription:
So, then suddenly (when you go beyond mind made self-esteem) you don’t love your self any more, nor do you hate yourself, because there’s no self to love (or hate). There’s simply the state of Bliss, which is love. It emanates. But you don’t create a fiction that now you have a good relationship, and love. So that is moving beyond self-esteem.
In fact, Eckhart now has a 'new' self. It is huge - it is Being. Before his shift, we know his 'self-esteem' was horrible. But the ego creates a 'false self'. Now ET's sense of personal identity is real - in that sense he has a 'real self.' Another way of thinking about self-esteem is 'Am I happy with my life?' For people who have low self-esteem, happiness is impossible or fleeting. We know his answer to that question before his shift was 'No.' We also know that answer now is 'yes.' (Bliss...). So in that way, with a new 'self', Eckhart's 'self esteem' is improved. Defining the 'esteem' part is important, too: There is a difference between "I am so proud of myself." and "I respect who I am."

So does Being respect itself? That question implies a subject and an object. I think that Being has no opinion of itself, Being simply is, and is independent of value judgements and opinions...which is the 'beyond self-esteem' concept from the transcript above.

Now my mind is tired,

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Is self-esteem bad?

Post by Narz » Thu May 08, 2008 11:31 am

Guru Narz says, if you're gonna have an ego it might as well feel good about itself. :D

People (egos) who feel like crap about themselves (fragile egos) are the ones who seem to do the most damage.
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