The Middle Way: Self-Improvement vs Self-Sabotage

How to move into self-confidence and free yourself from feelings of superiority or inferiority to others.

Today’s message is about moving from feelings of superiority or inferiority over others – which are both forms of self-sabotage – and freeing yourself from bondage to negativity and moving into a healthy self-acceptance and self-confidence.

Attachment to feelings and emotions of arrogance, vanity, pride or conceit, superiority, over confidence, self-entitlement and boastfulness even though these seem to be promoted as good and beneficial to us in today’s world of Instagram selfies etc are just as harmful to you and may actually mask feelings of shame, inferiority, discomfort, dysmorphia, negative self-image and low self-esteem that we might have.

These two sets of emotions or ideas are both problems, two sides to the same coin. Both are a maladjusted way of looking at the world and our place in it. Both make us unhappy and unfulfilled.

One involves putting others down in comparison to yourself in order to feel good about yourself. The other involves placing others above yourself and finding fault with oneself unnecessarily and in a way that’s detrimental to your own well-being.

Interestingly, from a psychological point of view, feelings of superiority can actually be a mask placed over our true feelings of unworthiness and are the result of our attempt to feel better about ourselves by putting others down.

These feelings of unworthiness and low self-image can have their origins in negative statements from parents, siblings, teachers, other negative experiences or trauma or bullying of all types.

One way to overcome these feelings is to remind yourself that

“My self worth does not depend on other people.”

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It is nice to hear good things about yourself sometimes… to get good feedback. But you don’t need to rely on it for your feelings of self-worth.

But, you know what? Give it. Give the good feedback to others that you find lacking in your own experience. No need to fake it – we’re not looking to flatter or falsely inflate others’ egos – be genuine. Tell others of the good that you truly appreciate in them.

Be an example of the change you want to see in the world.

But wait you ask? Isn’t that a paradox?*

You just said that we don’t depend on others for our self-worth and now you’re saying we should say nice things to other people to give them a boost and make them feel good about themselves? Yes!

Yes, it’s a kind of a paradox but that’s because in the world we live in today, we are more likely to be criticized and put down than helped, and we need to change that.

We all have faults which we should be working on to fix but we all have goodness and blessings in us which we should be thankful and happy for too! So, remind people, your friends, family, even people you only interact with briefly of their goodness.

Tell people when you appreciate their thoughtfulness, helpfulness, genuine niceness and good manners etc.

Be that change!

We should become more resilient – be willing to boost others’ even when we feel that no one does the same for us.

You will find that when you say or do something for someone else, you will enjoy the feeling that it generates in your own self.

So, how to move from negative mindsets into a healthy self-confidence?

When you feel either arrogant or superior to other people or ashamed of what you think is your unworthiness – remind yourself that we all have problems to grapple with and we all have gifts and talents inside us.

Remind and affirm to yourself:

  • I am a unique and wonderful person.
  • I do not need to feel better or worse than others.
  • I have struggles that I am working to learn from and overcome.
  • And I have wonderful gifts and characteristics which make me special, valuable
  • And loved by myself and others.

Whichever way we choose to look at it: these things are True!

So we remind ourselves of these things whenever we feel our emotional pendulum swaying one way – into pride and arrogance – or the other – into inferiority and imposter complex.

The middle way is the cure and the way forward into healthy self-confidence.