“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
– Helen Keller
Meditation is typically thought of as a way to relax and to create a more balanced way of living. While these are real benefits of meditation they are not the only ones. Meditation enables us to increase our sense of self-worth and open up new possibilities in our lives. Through the daily practice of meditation we can develop positive self-worth and remove the barriers which cause us to limit our potential.
Quieting the inner critic
One of the primary causes of a limited sense of self-worth is negative self-talk. Each of us as an inner critic who can be relentless in pointing out and punishing us for our perceived failings. This constant negative self-talk cannot help but damage our self-worth. Because the talk comes from our own mind we have difficulty filtering it out the way we may be able to with another person. This means that we tend to accept it without judgement and allow it to diminish ourselves.
The practice of meditation is at its core about quieting the mind. By practicing meditation we learn how to recognize these negative thoughts but not hold onto them. Once we let go of these negative thoughts we create a space where we are able to enjoy our lives as they currently are. We do not make judgements about ourselves based on the things we own or the way that our people may perceive us. Instead we understand the truth that we are already valuable.
Putting your problems in perspective
Another reason for a damaged sense of self-worth is that we tend to exaggerate our own problems or failings. Meditation helps to put your problems and your life into its true perspective. We are able to see that in terms of the universe we are very tiny indeed and that our problems or perceived failures are even smaller. But at a deeper level we come to understand that we part of the universe and connected to everything else. Once we realize that we are part of a much larger whole we do not need to feel loneliness or fear.
Tapping into the power of visualization
Visualization is the practice of seeing ourselves as we want to be or achieving our goals as they were already completed. When we visualize something consistently this image of ourselves becomes embedded. We come to believe that which we have visualized in our mind.
The regular practice of meditation provides an excellent foundation for implementing visualization into your life. Meditation teaches us how to focus our attention and to sit in stillness. These are skills that are invaluable when it comes to visualization. Visualization makes an excellent addition to meditation. It can be performed after meditating, or even at a different time in the day.
In order to use visualization in order to improve your sense of self-worth you need to create a “mind movie” of yourself as a confident and capable person. Perform your visualization after meditation when you are relaxed or following breathing exercises to calm the mind. Think back to a time when you were perfectly confident and felt completely capable. Really try and experience what that feeling is like. Then picture yourself in the future enjoying that same experience and feeling.
Some people will have trouble experiencing this kind of state of confidence and self-worth. This is particularly true if you have a damaged sense of self-worth. If you encounter this problem try this visualization instead. Picture a person playing you on a stage. This person is an actor and they are acting confident and happy. Do not make any judgements about this person but accept the fact that they are simply playing a role. Over time you should try switching your perspective so that you are inside the mind of the person on the stage. If you experience resistance switch back to the third person perspective so that you are viewing yourself as an actor. Then try again once you feel comfortable.
If you have not already made meditation a regular part of your life then this is your first step. By removing stress from your life and regaining your centre you will be well equipped to develop a positive self-worth. Your potential and what you can contribute to the world are only limited by what you think is possible for yourself.