One of the most critical aspects of any of life is how we think about ourselves, our relationship with our own Self Esteem.
For some this is a gently fluctuating equilibrium as the life unfolds and the personality establishes itself, whilst for others it is an emotional rollercoaster, which can swing between the polarities of the highly egotistical, to feelings of total worthlessness and paranoia, causing extreme anxiety and depression. For others it is a turbulent and often dark pool where a positive reflection of the self can barely be seen. In all cases our dis-connection from a true & deeper sense of self, as well as what we are told about ourselves in childhood and what others through our lives say about us, plays a significant part, as well as the self-speak which so often is completely devoid of love and kindness. In this third case the self-talk can reach a point where compassion for the self cannot be found and more severe mental health issues ensue.
All of these issues are at critical levels within our society and by 2018 incidents of suicide and self-harm were beginning to show marked levels of increase, especially amongst the young.
By 2018, suicide has become the leading cause of death amongst people aged 20-34 years in the UK. It is also the leading cause of death for men aged between 40 and 44 years.
Self Esteem does not just relate to Body Image, but our obsession with it has now reached a pinnacle, which is augmenting the issues raised above to dangerous proportions.
So often Self Esteem and Self Worth are thought of as synonymous, they are not. By definition Self Esteem is a measurement of how we see ourselves, which is inevitably entangled with how others see
Social Media has become an ideal forum for the Self Esteem and its spectrum. Body Image is now under ever greater scrutiny due to the “Selfie” generation and for so many the sense of the self is based on the number of “likes “ received either to bolster a flagging ego, to inflate it even further or indeed to strike yet another blow to a sense of desperation and self-disgust, all of which takes place within an altered state of virtual reality that exists behind a screen, but is as alive within the minds and thoughts of the user as the green of the grass or the leaves on the trees. A forum that could be used in such a positive way has instead led to a deepening self-obsession that has already begun to cause many to seek to morph the reality of their bodies into something different, bringing an inevitable dissatisfaction with the body as it is in its natural state. Such thoughts and feelings of inadequacy are feeding a tide of self-destructive thoughts that inevitably lead to destructive actions.
Self Esteem is fleeting, impermanent and substantially reliant on outer reaction. Stress accentuates these feelings causing a spiral in which so many find themselves powerless to escape. The paradox is that when issues of Body Image rising from poor Self Esteem take hold, the battle to change the Body Image will never succeed until the thoughts and feelings about the self change from within. Happiness derived from changing the Body Image alone is generally short-lived and as such falls into the category of many other forms of obsessive and addictive behaviour that are used to deal with deeper emotional issues & stress and that are equally temporary in effect.
The solution to this is in the finding of a sense of Self Worth. This is a wellspring of belief in the self that comes from within. It is constant in nature, permanent and relatively unaffected by outside influences. As such it over-rides the fluctuations of the Self Esteem, transcends it and brings to the self into its true nature of acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness and compassion.
There is one very positive aspect of the deepening crisis of Image in which we find ourselves and that is that all things have their reaction, and if you look closely you will see a rising tide of Self-Worth. Those digging deep into their inner resources to accept themselves as they are, to live their truth, to be fully who they want to be. There is a greater tolerance of those who are different, greater compassion for those who find themselves isolated and alone. When that acceptance, that tolerance, that forgiveness and compassion begins also to be directed at the self, not in a fearful, obsessive way but in a loving and liberating way, then we will have truly turned a corner.
Corporate Soul believes that this Self Worth rises from the Inner Self, the Soul, and that in awakening individuals to this inner resource, the outer experience of life can be totally transformed and lead to positive mental, emotional and physical health and a state of wellbeing & wholeness that will allow us to begin to focus our energies outwards and join together in the task of re-building our world after the years of destructive thought & behaviour that has brought it and us, to the brink. When we can turn our thoughts to giving love rather than desperately seeking it, we will then experience that elusive constant state of happiness, which so many seek but never find. We will begin to rediscover our own beauty as well as that of others and of the natural world around us and life will find a new sense of reason and purpose for us all.
In the end mental health is exactly what it says it is, it is the health of our own thoughts, which affect not just ourselves but others and the world around us. The opportunity that lies ahead of us is for us all to take personal responsibility for our thoughts and accept the truth that we create our own realities both within ourselves and within our world.
Please look out for those who suffer quietly and reach out a hand to them, what you may think is a positive Body Image may not be to them instead they may be experiencing a profound inner turmoil. One act of compassion can change a life, not just theirs but your also.