Hi Guys…I would have mentioned in one or a few of my blogs that I am a Leadership Development Coach. I coach executives almost every day and the one thing I always encounter is that people are people and executives no matter how high level they are everyone has some level of low self-esteem about some aspect of their lives. This comes out in different ways via different behaviours. So I wanted to share a bit about that because I believe everyone can overcome their self-esteem issues by first acknowledging what it is you’re insecure about, then finding the source, counteract the source and then move on.
Do you want to develop a better ego with perpetual self-esteem? I want to look at how to develop a stronger ego and always have high self-esteem. So let’s start at the beginning as I tend to do.
What’s Self Esteem versus Ego
Self-esteem means feeling good about yourself. People with self-esteem: feel liked and accepted, are proud of what they do, believe in themselves. Self-esteem is a positive or negative orientation toward oneself; an overall evaluation of one’s worth or value. … Self-esteem is only one component of the self-concept
- · Your ego is your sense of self. It is your identity and your concept of self.
- · The ego strengthens your capacity to keep your self-esteem intact despite psychological distress, internal turmoil and the changing conditions of the world around you.
Ego and Self-esteem are not the same. Having a big ego is a negative trait. Having high self-esteem is a positive trait. Many have a big egos and they think they are building their self-esteem
In reality, the opposite is happening, the bigger the ego, the lower the self-esteem. And vice versa, the higher the self-esteem, the smaller the ego. Ego is an inflated fake self-image. Like thinking you are always right or thinking that you are above everybody else. People with big egos are so blinded by their grandiose self-image that they cannot see the difference between the ego and their real self. They actually cannot see their real selves. All they see is their ego and they think it is “self.”
But you can easily spot others with a big ego. People who come across as arrogant, manipulative, selfish, “always right.” are probable culprits. You know the people you can never win an argument with? because they always twist the truth so they end up being right? Bingo.
Self-esteem on the other side of the spectrum is a feeling of content and acceptance with self as is. It is not complacency. It is more of seeing self as is, with its strengths and flaws, and accepting that while we can seek to become better people, it is OK to have flaws. It makes us human. Most people will testify to this statement, but few act upon it.
How to know if you have high self-esteem? It is ironic, but people with high self-esteem accept others as they are. They are not critical. They don’t feel the need to judge others. To the opposite are the big ego people, who are very critical and always judge others. Nobody measures to their standards. Even if they admire someone it will be short-lived. Soon enough they will find a flaw and regret ever liking the person.
What is self-esteem?
- 1. like and value yourself as a person.
- 2. You are able to make decisions and assert yourself.
- 3. recognise your strengths and positives.
- 4. feel able to try new or difficult things.
- 5. show kindness towards yourself.
- 6. move past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly.
- 7. take the time you need for yourself.
Signs of Good Self-Esteem
- · You are ok with making mistakes: …
- · You don’t use self-deprecating language: …
- · You have good posture, and you hold your head high: …
- · You don’t take criticism personally: …
- · You take chances: …
- · You allow yourself to shine: …
- · You don’t put up with abuse or maltreatment from others:
Self-esteem is like that, except it is yourself that you love, care for and feel proud of. When children believe they are valuable and important, they take good care of themselves. They make good decisions about themselves which enhances their value rather than break it down. High vs. Low Self-esteem.
Your ego, on the other hand, is your conscious mind, the part of your identity that you consider your “self.” If you say someone has “a big ego,” then you are saying he is too full of himself. “Having an ego” is usually associated with arrogance and is a term used to describe someone who thinks they are better than others. Yet this is only one part of the ego. … Together, the negative and positive esteem forms our egos. Fear is the emotion that underpins the ego. The ego is really the false self. The self that has forgotten that it is one with everyone around it and one with the Divine Source, with the universe, with cosmos, with every energy possible. When we have thoughts about our self that we agree with we construct a self-image.
The kinds of thoughts that contribute to the self-esteem or ego structure are:
“I’m not good at math.”
“I am smart.”
“My freckles make me ugly.”
“Nobody likes me.”
“I am better than you.”
The ego is difficult to define because the ego isn’t one specific thing. It is actually made up of many different beliefs that a person acquires over their life. Those beliefs can be diverse and even contradictory. To further complicate it, each person’s ego is different. If someone were to clearly identify and describe all the parts of their ego and what it drives them to do, you might not get a good description of what yours looked like. The challenge of becoming aware of what your personal ego looks like becomes more difficult because our culture doesn’t reward us for directing our attention inward and noticing such things.
How to Spot the Ego?
The ego is difficult to see, because it hides behind opinions that appear true – our attachment to descriptions of our identity – and because we haven’t practiced looking. You can get a glimpse by noticing certain thoughts, similar to those listed above. The easier way to spot the ego is by the trail of emotional reactions it leaves behind: Anger at a loved one, a need to be right, a feeling of insecurity in certain situations, feelings of jealousy that are unexplained, the need to impress someone, and so on. These emotions can be attributed to the false beliefs that comprise the ego.
Letting Go of the Ego
Because the ego has multiple aspects, it is not practical or effective to dissolve all of it at once, nor is it likely that you could do so. Much like a tree or large bush that is overgrown in the yard, you don’t just lift it out and throw it away – you cut off manageable pieces instead. The same approach is effective in letting go of the false beliefs that make up the ego. You begin by detaching from individual thoughts that reinforce the ego, then let go of beliefs, separating yourself from the false identity of your ego.
Why We Need to Develop a Better Ego?
We are a remarkable species, but the idea we’re as good as it gets is patently false. And our ego is the perfect example of how our mind can often work against our own best interests.
What’s Wrong With Our Ego?
I will define the ego as an ensemble of feelings of either pain or pleasure that we derive from who we are, how we behave and what we achieve. It’s composed of identity, projected identity, behavior, and connected feelings. Our default ego is built to project a positive image of ourselves to the people around us. It doesn’t matter if that projection is fake, it makes us unhappy or it doesn’t help us reach our goals. Our ego is built to make us look good. To others first, and to ourselves second.
You will realize our default ego is not about long term growth, happiness, life enjoyment or achievement. It’s mostly about faking, short term thinking and, of course, sacrificing our unique contributions to please the crowd. Our default ego sacrifices our true self and our most honest expressions to seek positive confirmation and people’s approval. It also makes us less confident, because a major trait of confidence is that of acting accordingly to our identity.
Identity Drives Behavior
Our identities, who we are, drives our behavior. Importantly, our identity can drive our behavior even when we don’t feel like doing something. That makes identity an incredibly powerful tool in reaching our goals. It’s because we humans have a tendency to seek consistency within ourselves. When our actions are not aligned with our identity we feel discomfort (called cognitive dissonance). The tendency to keep our internal identities, values, and actions in balance is called, as described by Cialdini, is the commitment and consistency principle.
Low Self Esteem: Gap Between Identity & Behavior
Self-esteem is our evaluation of our own worth. When we live up and uphold our standards and values no matter what, then we feel worthy. Our self-esteem goes up and we are proud of ourselves. For most of us, we rarely do and say as our identities tell us though. That means that for most of us, our behavior is very much out of whack with who we really are. It’s because identities are deeper, which makes them a bit more impermeable to external influences -albeit not fully impermeable-. But our actions instead are strongly influenced by environment and social conditioning, which leads to a disconnect between identity and our actions. Basically, in an effort to look good, we want to project a different identity with our words and actions so that people around will like us, accept us and welcome us.
The problem is that a disconnect between our identity and our actions leads to low self-esteem. It’s because we’re not being true to ourselves and we feel like we’re not really in control of our lives.
Social conditioning affects behavior more than identity
Do you know what’s the number one regret of dying people? The biggest regret of dying people is that they’d had the courage to live to their true selves! The first step towards high self-esteem and happy life then is to heed your identity a bit more and a bit less what people want you do say and do. Like Tim Grover said, to get what you really want, you first must be who you really are.
How To Have High Self Esteem
When our behavior is in sync with our identity, we have much higher self esteem. But don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Indeed the very highest self esteem is when our behavior matches our ideal identity. You probably know the feeling. It happens when you manage to follow through with actions on what your ideal self would love to do. For example:
- · You disagreed but were fearful of saying it publicly. But you do it anyway
- · Confronting your neighbor wasn’t easy, but you did and you’re proud of yourself
- · She had a boyfriend, but you asked anyway and you’re glad about it
Let’s see first how to eliminate your current limiting identities:
How To Change Self Identity
This is from the wonderful Tony Robbins’ Creating Lasting Change. Also look at how to develop a growth mindset since the changes are similar.
1. Create Disturbance
First of all, you need to challenge your current identity and limiting beliefs. Do you see yourself as guy who is poor socially? No wonder you avoid social situations! Think of all the times you were not poor socially. Think of all the times you enjoyed social situations. The idea is that you want to draw on so many experiences that you naturally and rationally start doubting your beliefs. Maybe there was a time you had a good conversation. Or maybe there’s someone who likes you. Think about those daily If you can’t think of anything, imagine it.
2. Discover What Caused Your Identity
If you can go back to childhood and understand why you adopted a certain identity, that can more easily help you to let go of that identity.
3. Link Pain & Pleasure
Link pain to your old identity and link pleasure to your new identity. Think of the consequences your current identity is bringing you. Think of what you’re missing because of your limiting belief. No friends, no partner, no fun.. That sucks. Now start imagining yourself as a popular man. How good would that feel. With a growth mindset and a stronger ego that’s fully within your reach. Commit to drop the old identity and embrace the new one.
4. Change Physiology
Associate a new physiology to the new identity. The new you moves and speaks differently. Stand straight, shoulders rolled back in and head held high. Your new physiology will help break away from the past and serve as a cue for your new mindset as well.
5. Say It Out Loud
Repeat to yourself who’s the new you. A social man who enjoys people. Say it to everyone so you will have peer pressure to keep you no course as well (Awaken The Giant Within).
6. Change Your Environment
As we’ve seen the environment plays a big role on your ego pyramid. Cut out bad influences and make friends with people behaving more like the man you want to be.
7. Change Your Actions
This is the most important step. Daryl Bem in 1972 first proposed a radical idea at the time: identity doesn’t just drive actions, but it’s (also) the other way around: actions drive identity! It’s because our brain looks at our behaviors and then infers that if we behave a certain way, then it must be because we are a certain way (also read Incognito by Eagleman). You can then first develop the habits of the man you want to be, which with repetition will solidify your identity. Eventually, you will not need to force yourself, because what you do is just… Who you are.
8. The Daily Mental Grind
Especially in the beginning, you will tend to slip back to your old mental habits. It’s important you stay vigilant and every time you catch thinking or saying anything, not in line with your new identity, change it immediately.
Your New Stronger Ego
Some people suggest you should destroy your ego. I’m not sure that’s necessary. High self-esteem is useful. Pride is useful. You should use your ego to propel you forward. All aspects of self are useful. Wouldn’t it be great if the more you fail the stronger you get? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Changing identity is easier than it sounds. It’s because when you know how it will help you, you will be motivated and you will find pleasure in the process -that’s the beginning of your framework happiness-.
Identity drives behavior. When identity and behavior are in sync, it means we are living to our true self and we have healthy, high self-esteem. The highest self-esteem is when our behavior matches fully with our ideal identity -the person we would really love to be-. Finally, we can and we should change our identity (ie.: what we build our self-esteem around) in a way that empowers us and best helps us reach our goals. When you live and act like the person you want to be, you will move towards your goal while living a naturally fulfilling and joyful life (and with perennial high self-esteem).
- Ego versus Self Esteem: The Illusive Difference by Ammar Mango
- What’s the driving emotion of the ego by Dr. Shefali
- What is the ego? By Gary van Warmerdam
- Lucio (M.A. in communication sciences) is a member of APA and a researcher of human nature.