Self-respect and self-esteem are “key words” that could be used to refer to the same thing: A sense of being worthy. Although psychologist may disagree; the semantics is irrelevant once we have a point of reference to discover those words in our experience.
In the consciousness of individuality, we have 2 “bi-polar” states: High self-esteem and low self-esteem. Very few could experience a steady balance.
Typically, to be “high” means to have a great ego: That person is the “center” of the world, the most important item after no one, the navel of the Universe, if you would… 🙂
In that state of ego-centrism, there should be a way to bring that ego down to a more manageable level, right?
That has been the task of religions.
“You are an impure, degraded sinner. You should feel ashamed of yourself. Ask for forgiveness, you sinner!” Sounds familiar? 🙂
There is a God who loves us, just as WE ARE. BUT, He wants us to change, to become better…otherwise, we will be punished…. We need to understand the following: To obey God is for our own good. We need to make the “right” choice…otherwise… well… 🙂
The issue is that to “shape up” or change is not a matter of making a “choice” as religions try to put it; but it is a matter of realization, that is consciousness, awareness. When there is realization, there is no need to choose.
Apparently religions went a bit too much in their “sinner” pitch throughout hundreds of years, developing guilt along with a sense of being unworthy in followers and by default, in the human psyche.
In that setting, the concept of “self-respect” appeared as a necessity to “fix” things.
Donald Duck feels like a worthless little duck. BUT once he found out that the multimillionaire, Scrooge McDuck; the richest duck in the world, was his direct relative; then at that point Donald thought of himself as being “someone” worth of respect. After all Donald Duck, belongs to the McDuck clan.
Note that Donald’s “self-respect” is based on the existence of someone else. In another setting:
“You should have self-respect because you know God.”
Q: But what about if Donald Duck had “something” in him. Could that “something” give him self-respect?
A:That will give him more ego.
Q: So, we should have nothing to avoid ego?
A: No. Something does not give you ego unless you think that you are worth “something” because of that.
In the consciousness of individuality, the quality and amount of “self-respect” that an individual may have is in direct proportion of inner knowledge, that is:
“Donald, Do you know yourself?”
Donald: “Yes I do. I am a computer programmer working for one of the finest computer firms in the world. I like chocolate and Lamborghinis… I am a caring, down to earth guy…”
That sort of “knowing yourself” brings a certain consciousness. “Self-respect” for that individual will be totally different than someone who has a deeper insight in the self.
Do we see the historical game of increasing/decreasing ego? It is the game of going from one extreme to the other. A “Bi-polar” game. 🙂
How is “self-respect” viewed from the consciousness of Totality?
That word does not exist, for the greatness of discovering our own “nothingness” is that “everything” is all that exists and “we” are part of that.
Thus, we could hear some “irrational” words such as: “By being nothing, we gain everything.”
Because there is “no-self,” there is automatically, respect, esteem, etc.
A reader asked about an “elaboration” on jealousy: How it generates, how it works and how to get rid of it.
The sharing offered comes out of observing that emotion in motion…
Why do I feel jealous?
Because there is a separation between me and another.
That separation brings a feeling of “competing” with another, rivalry to a person or a need to posses a person. The need to dominate.
You cannot be jealous of things.
When we feel that someone is not part of our “group” or does not belong to our “circle” and we consider that person a rival, then there is jealousy when something “good” has happened to the perceived “rival.”
Observe how you separate from a person. Observe the feeling of competition coming in you. Observe how that rivalry takes over which will not allow you to enjoy their advancements.
For this type of jealousy to occur, there has to be comparison going on in our minds. That comparison brings the feeling that we need to “keep up,” that we need to be “better,” we need to “dominate.”
This type of jealousy is observed everywhere: at work, in the religious group, among relatives, friends, etc.
Ralph is a computer geek. He boasts about his computer knowledge with everyone and that is how he maintains a “status” as an “expert” at work. Ralph challenges his supervisor constantly. Ralph is jealous because Ralph believes that his supervisor does not have the knowledge that he has, but yet he is supervising him. Ralph is not willing to follow his supervisor’s directions and becomes confrontational.
Eve and Joyce belong to a religious group. Eve has always admired Joyce’s way of speaking and addressing the public in her religious talks. Eve wants to be as popular as Joyce, but her gift of public speaking is not as efficient. Eve feels jealous every time someone from the public congratulates Joyce.
The teacher said in the classroom. “I want to congratulate Carl, today. He is the only one who has scored 100 in the test. The rest of you have the possibility to become like him. Just study harder to keep up with him.”
The teacher unwillingly has set up the right environment for jealousy if Carl has any “competitors” there.
This type of jealousy can advance into cowardice. Once a jealous individual acknowledges that he/she cannot keep up with his/her rival, then “back stabbing” will be used as a way of dealing with his own jealousy.
There is jealousy in “loving” relationships as well.
Sandra is “in love” with Mark. One day, Tracy comes in and Mark makes a comment about her beautiful watch. Sandra is present and she starts feeling jealous. Sandra has not gotten such a compliment from him. The word “beautiful” towards another woman, even though it was about a watch, is something that Sandra cannot take very well.
Sandra cannot stand the thought that Mark could express something nice about another woman. Sandra has to be his “everything.”
When there is no complete possession, because of a rival, there is jealousy.
Thus, how do we get rid of that jealousy?
Simply by recognizing that it is there when it appears. Simply by recognizing that “rivalry” has arrived.
When we are aware of its presence and just observe it; that sensation will go away by itself. Normally, what we do is we react immediately with pain and suffering or we think about it and give “life” to that sensation. “How is it possible for Mark to say that about Tracy? I feel disappointed. Mark is not loyal with me… etc.” Greater quantity of thoughts means grater fire to ignite dormant emotions.
Thus, the main problem is not feeling jealous, but the sense of insecurity, lack of self-esteem, self-worth which is expressed every time we compare to another.
Once those hidden emotions are understood through looking in our lives those episodes where those emotions were triggered, then we are making the necessary steps to understand the self.
For example, the sense of insecurity may have come to Sandra when she was left by her father, when Sandra was a 7-year-old kid. Sandra felt that she could not rely on people anymore. Therefore, when Sandra finds someone like Mark and feels that now Mark is all for “her,” Sandra is covering that insecurity with someone. When that someone does not meet her “criteria,” then Sandra feels disappointed, then that evolves into anger for she feels betrayed even though it is an insignificant thing for a grown up… however for Sandra’s inner child, it is not. 🙂
The above is just an example of the type of work that we need to be willing to do to understand ourselves.
Once we recognize that the source of jealousy is not really jealousy in itself caused by “others,” we can see that we need to find out the cause of that jealousy in ourselves.
“We” are the problem and the solution.
One of the most striking characteristics of a spiritual path, is their use of devotion as a means of “going further away” from the original “purity” of their teachings. That is “entropy.”
There is no “religion founder” who wanted to be the founder of a religion, as far as I am aware of. A religion appeared because their followers wanted to “bottle up” the experience of the divine by their original founders and the sacredness of it, into perceived “easy steps to follow by followers.”
The further away someone is from a spiritual teaching, the closer that person will move into “devotional practices,” in other words the “substance of the teaching,” will be replaced by the “perceptions of what is sacred or divine.”
Another consequence of devotional practices is, that there will be little difference between the personalities of human beings for the aim will be to make a “cookie cutter” out of everyone. From the way someone dresses to the way someone smiles. There is a perception that by behaving in a certain “standard” way, then that former “divine experience” will be acknowledged, respected and followed.
As a religion emerges out of a spiritual teaching, then certain protocols are expected and perceived as the “proof” that a follower is in the “path.”
Interestingly enough, there will be little difference between this type of behavior and being part of a military force. A “look alike” has the perception of “loyalty.”
The “standard protocol” must be followed and the individual personality crushed, for the aim is to comply with a known standard to deal with and to be perceived by.
Perceptions become the main goal and substance is lost.
Devotion enters into this realm. Devotion is the way to express “low self esteem” in a nutshell. It is a tremendous sense of awe and being impressed by someone. That is often confused with love and respect.
Devotion, worshiping means the acknowledgement that “I am less worthy” than someone else, whether that is God or another guru or person. Devotion is the means to feel “part of” something which cannot be understood. In Devotion, a perception of love is used to show a sense of belonging to someone. However, there is no true love, for love is between equals in self respect, not between “unbalanced relationships.”
Devotion brings this sense of loyalty based on emotions. Devotion lacks understanding for if there was understanding, there wouldn’t be a need for devotion.
Many religions have extreme devotion to God. Their aim is to make a “person” out of God. To worship God. That is not the substance of spirituality but the perception of what “ought to be.”
We need to “sing His praise.” ” We need to obey His orders,” ” We need to love Him,” etc.
The teaching is lost. The substance is gone. Devotion takes over.
God is not a human being. God is not interested in my “devotion.” God is not interested in my little ways of stroking His ego, because He is ego-less. God has teachings. Gurus share a teaching.
The value of that teaching is in my own “imbibing it” out of that understanding and not by compulsion, not because I will be “punished,” if I don’t follow.
A spiritual teaching is meant to enhance who I am by showing me who I am. Change will happen. That is the “substance,” that is the “reason” for a spiritual teaching. That is the “reason” for a religion to exist.
The rest is well intentioned devotion.
Thank you for your challenging question.
I am concerned that you have considered suicide at one point in your life. I have dealt with a close friend of mine who had extreme depression and bi-polar moods swings. He had a “chemical imbalance,” thus, he needed to take medicine for life to deal with that. I had another friend who was very sensitive and “disembodied souls” were attacking her and almost “killing her” by changing her mood into extreme depression to the point of not being able to get up from her bed. Once these “spirits” were dispelled, she became alright.
The reason why I am sharing this is so you are aware that many times, it is not “us,” but there are other interactions that we need to be aware of. I urge you to find that in yourself.
Personally, I have found “folk medicine” from fortune tellers to “aura cleaners” of great help rather than going to a typical “pill doctor.” Some may not like this; nevertheless, I am sharing my experience.
Please look for alternatives to get well if you still have suicidal tendencies. This is your first priority.
As far as Raja yoga, any BK I know of has some “low self-esteem.” (inferiority complex.) It is easy to understand after going through so many births without finding that “fulfillment” which we knew from before. This is why BapDada typically will enhance our self-esteem through his “pep” talk, loving words and feelings at the beginning of every avyakt Murli.
It will take some time while you are a BK to make the transition, for we are used to receiving our self-respect through the “real world.” Please be patience and tolerant. It just takes time for realizations to appear that will change your life. My advice is this: Just keep following the Maryadas the best of your ability. Concentrate on yoga (articles shared here) and enjoy life by doing those activities which bring ‘fulfillment.’ For me, is to be surrounded by Nature. Exercise outdoors, singing happy tunes and surrounding myself with “supportive company.” Friends who would listen to you rather than trying to “fix” things for you. Listeners.
Self respect is a building process, through realizations as Baba describes in the Murlis, the realization of being a special soul with a special task. Find your own call in life, your own “niche.” Develop that specialty. That will give you SELF-RESPECT.
Last but no least, the more you concentrate on the welfare of others, the least you will think about you. The balance point is that “you” have to be well for others to receive that benefit.
All the best,
Great question! Thank you.
Self-esteem is a word with many meanings. In Baba’s vocabulary it is based on the knowledge that we are complete beings and in the case of BK souls, that we are “ancestor souls.”
Whenever there is attachment we tend to over value someone’s opinion or attitude. Attachment to what?
Attachment to what I feel I am (role.) Attachment to the idea that I should be treated in a particular way, attachment that “I must be acknowledged.” All of those attachments are pointing to our mind-set of who we think we are. The problem is that we have not felt what is like to be a “detached observer” or as Baba has mentioned, to feel “body-less.”
Without those experiences on a regular basis, we still will be pulled by our “old ways of thinking and feeling” because we have not experienced anything to proof otherwise. That is why, even though we have gyan, knowledge of what Baba has told us, we cannot process that for lack of experience. We can say that we trust and have faith in what Baba says, but that is just at the “word and mouth” level. Too much talk without the walk.
In short: We need to experience to be “body=less.” We need to experience the soul in yoga. We need to feel that inner completeness and then automatically “self-esteem” will be there without using that word. That experience needs to be “constant” for otherwise, we forget and we get pulled again to our old patterns.
Such is the behavior of the “Maya addicts.” 🙂