Written by Karl Perera, MA, DipLC
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When considering how to boost self-esteem, we need to consider all aspects of human nature. This includes a subject that is rarely discussed due to a lack of understanding, the spiritual self. In my experience, spirituality has an important meaning in terms of who we are and how we think and behave every day. I’d like to focus on the link between self spirituality and self-esteem, and why it is a major factor in your self-esteem and confidence.
Before going any further, let’s look at the meaning of the spiritual self.
“Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”Oxford University Press (2020) “Spirituality” In: Lexico.com, Available at: https://www.lexico.com/definition/spiritual .
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”Brene Brown. (2010), The Gifts of Imperfection. Published by Hazelden Publishing.
Spiritual self care is an important aspect of building self esteem. According to Lindgren and Coursey (1995), spiritual beliefs influence self esteem. The spiritual self is driven by religious beliefs and values which are altruistic and not material.
Kim (2013) studied the relationship between spirituality and self esteem in middle aged women and found that it affected their self esteem positively. Kim also suggested that the needs of the spiritual self should be considered in psychological treatment of patients suffering from low self-esteem.
What is Spiritual Self?
What does it actually mean when we talk about the spiritual self? It is the part of you that sees the bigger picture beyond what is our physical reality. It is the part of you that marvels at the universe, wonders what lies beyond this life. It is the part of you that asks the deeper questions of life. Is there a God? What is the meaning of life?
The spiritual self has needs. I believe that we all have spiritual needs, but some have more than others. Does an atheist have spiritual needs? I cannot say, as I believe in a God. What exactly that is I am not sure, but I am happy with my spiritual values and beliefs. Are you?
If you do not have strong beliefs then that is OK. Accept your spiritual truth for what it is. However, if like many millions of us in this wordl, you have a desire to explore your spiritual side, then go ahead and seek your own personal truth. It may be a difficult journey, but it can help you understand who you are. This can boost your self worth and self esteem.
Do some people have no spiritual side to them? I know what I think and am tempted to say everyone has spiritual needs even if they are unaware of them. However, I would prefer to ask others what they think. Some form of research in the shape of a poll may be quite interesting. I will try to add this at some point in the future.
One other thing I would like to say here about this is that the spiritual self seeks truth. But what is truth? Is it different for all of us? Our experiences, tragedies, happy moments and our relationships all shape how we see and understand the world. This in turn may shape our own self spirituality.
One message in the Bible occurrs to me here:
He who seeks, finds what he is looking for.
Seek and you shall find.The Bible
The important spiritual question here is what will you find when you look?
How and Why Does the Spiritual Self Affect Self Esteem?
One main reason why spirituality improves self esteem and well-being is that it gives a person meaning and purpose in life (Kashdan and Nezlek, 2012). According to the same study, having a spiritual belief system boosts a person’s sense of purpose in life. It seems rational, given that most religious or spiritual perspectives provide an explanation for our role in the world and also why we exist.
Religion, and spirituality, may support healthy self esteem by encouraging us to feel part of something much greater than ourselves, and the fact that spiritual and religious philosophies generally emphasize our value as individuals or as members of a community.
Spiritual teachings and philosophies about the self generally encourage the view that everything and every being is connected as part of a greater whole. According to Awan and Sitwat, (2014), because of our connection to the natural world and to others, we are naturally able to contribute to the world according to our talents and abilities. As a result, we have an important role to play in society and in our surroundings. This boosts one’s self-esteem.
How to Use Spirituality To Build Your Self Esteem
In this section we will look more closely at how spirituality can help you to build your self esteem. We have already seen that the connection between spirituality and self esteem is strong, but we need to understand how to put this to work for us.
Be A Good Spiritual Example to Others
If someone pursues spiritual goals such as becoming a more giving and enlightened person, he or she will want to develop positive values that will help others. Being an example to others is part of the spiritual life, and this can increase your self esteem and confidence. This is primarily due to improved self-respect, but others may also respond to you more positively, boosting your self-esteem.
If you want to help others, the best way to do this is by setting a good spiritual example. Let your values and beliefs guide you but make sure that your example is one others will want to follow voluntarily. Your behaviour needs to inspire others to improvement themselves and the world around them. It needs to be selfless and beneficial to others to be appealing. You can never force anyone to accept your spiritual beliefs, you can only be an example for them to aspire to.
Be Guided By A Giving Attitude
When we develop the inner nature of the spiritual self, we aspire to give.This is what most religions and spirituality teaches. Of course, not everyone who believes they are spiritual gives, but the truly good will.
A giving nature will help a person develop better relationships and also the act of giving provides a sense of life satisfaction and self-worth. Giving will increase self esteem out of a sense of contributing to society and helping others.
When you’re in a close relationship, you have to give at least as much as you take. A person who constantly takes from a relationship will not create a bond with others. Giving to others is a compassionate and loving gesture that is likely to be reciprocated many times over.
Be In Harmony With Your Partner’s Spirituality
Relationships are tough! One of the biggest problems is conflict between two people caused by differences in opinions or thinking. Your relationships will improve when you are more in sync with others. People will always have spiritual differences because we all think and interpret things differently. There is no such thing as a single spiritual truth.
Close relationships can have a direct impact on our self-esteem. If we have positive relationships we are more likely to experience high self esteem. So, the worst thing you could do is to impose your beliefs on another person, especially a close partner. You must respect other people and their spiritual values in order to have a good relationship that will strengthen your self-esteem. Even if a person does not believe in spirituality, you should accept their freedom to believe as they want.
Look for what you have in common spiritually, rather than how your beliefs are different. Never expect to totally agree, but come to an acknowledgement that neither of you believes the other is wrong. This will lead us to the next point:
Accepting The Spiritual Nature of Others Is A Key To Better Relationships
In relationships you must respect in order to be respected in return. For the sake of harmony in your closest relationships and for the sake of your self esteem, you must be tolerant of your friend or your partner’s feelings,spiritual values and life choices. You must be tolerant even if you think the other person is wrong and seek to understand first before discussing the issue.
Never criticize or tell someone they are wrong. Respect is the key to tolerance.
Learn to accept people as they are. Maintain spiritual freedom in relationships, cultivate respect for the wishes of others. Likewise, never accept the weight of responsibility to make someone happy.
If someone’s behaviour is toxic towards you, don’t try to change them; this is the worst, most painful, tedious, wasteful, and most unproductive option. Look inside yourself in these times of conflict to see what feelings surface. See if it is jealousy, fear of loss, need for approval, anxiety or pessimism. Pay attention to whatever negative emotion you’re experiencing and don’t get too caught up in the differences between you. Do not, ever, blame the other person.
In short, accept others, their spiritual beliefs, and their right to live as they see best. By all means, discuss and share your thoughts, but always listen and respect the other person’s opinions too.
Pay Attention To Your Spiritual Self Care
By giving yourself every opportunity to meet your spiritual needs, you give yourself the self care you need to be happy.
Spiritual self care is important and involves you setting aside the time to examine your beliefs and values and to practice them through activities you want to carry out. If you are religious, then enjoying the freedome to pray and to attend church, for example, is necessary spiritual self care.
Such self care involves reading and learning more about your inner self spirituality. Books and audiobooks can be invaluable and extremely positive tools to improve how you feel about yourself and your life.
Read Or Listen To These Spiritual Self Help Books
There are so many sources of great spiritual self help books that can help you. I personally enjoy listening to audiobooks as well as using a kindle, but books are among the best self help tools out you have available to you. Read them often!
I’ve found a few great places for you to get audiobooks and books online and here is an amazing offer for you that I hope you will take advantage of from the fantastic people at Audiobooks.com.
Be Careful About What You Demand Of Others
Focusing on and developing your inner self, (one aim of spirituality), is important because we can become more productive as a result (Ashmos & Duchon, 2000).
Paying attention to your inner self you will find that you always seek relationships that bring you emotional comfort in accordance with your beliefs, and that whenever your (and only your) inner emotional code is broken by other attitudes judged by you to be disagreeable, then the hurts, conflicts and confusion will begin. Once you stop looking for relationships in order to comfort your inner emotions, but especially with the idea of living well with the world, finding fullness and good living, you will notice a drastic change in the quality of your relationships.
Do not be a modeller of people, be a modeller of negative into positive emotions, because this is the secret to establishing relationships based on love and consequently the truth, or rather, the truth that liberates!
Deal With Spiritually Toxic Relationships
If you are involved in any relationship that is damaging in any way to your physical or mental health, it is a toxic relationship. Accept that you cannot change someone; therefore, if they have abused you, physically or mentally harmed you, or are likely to do so again, end the relationship. This is difficult, so it’s a good idea to seek expert assistance from outside the relationship.
Never put up with a relationship that damages your self esteem, you deserve better. A good relationship is built on trust, kindness and mutual respect. Never accept any less, but be sure to also give these things to the other person freely and if they refuse to treat you in the same way, distance yourself or end the relationship.
Develop And Nurture Your Soul
I believe the soul is real, some do not. We can’t prove this either way, so all points of view should be acknowledged. If you believe in the soul then you have the duty to take care of it. Feed it with positivity and love. Never go against your gut instincts about what is right and wrong. Listen to what your heart tells you, and your soul will follow.
Self care for your soul is part of your spirituality. Do not neglect this important aspect of your being.
Are Psychic Readings Spiritual?
This may seem a strange question here, but I believe it is very relevant. Spirituality covers many things besides religious belief, and is concerned with matters such as the inner self and the soul. But spirituality may also include other ideas such as hidden knowledge that some psychics have access to.
Is it a good idea to seek a psychic in an effort to access this hidden knowledge or learn something about yourself to help you with the struggles of low self esteem?
Well, a clairvoyant may have special gifts and may be able to offer you some advice about reasons why you feel a certain way about yourself. They are not medical people or qualified psychologists, but some may have a gift for understanding human nature. Just keep your wits about you. If you want to try this, then click this link for an online psychic reading. It might be helpful to you!
Suzanne Newnham, in her book Ethics of a Psychic Reading: A Guide for Professional and Amateur Messengers, says that psychics seek to guide and help their clients with advice and information given honestly from intuition, which she says, can be developed in everyone. There is no doubt that some people are comforted and feel much better after having seen a psychic.
- Ashmos, D. P., & Duchon, D. (2000). Spirituality at Work: A Conceptualization and Measure. Journal of Management Inquiry, 9(2), 134–145. https://doi.org/10.1177/105649260092008
- Bene Brown. (2010). Gifts of Imperfection. Hazelden Publishing.
- Samina Awan, and Aisha Sitwat. (2014). “Workplace Spirituality, Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well-Being Among Mental Health Professionals.” Pakistan journal of psychological research : PJPR 29.1: 125–. Print.
- Kashdan, T. B., & Nezlek, J. B. (2012). Whether, When, and How Is Spirituality Related to Well-Being? Moving Beyond Single Occasion Questionnaires to Understanding Daily Process. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(11), 1523–1535. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212454549
- Kim, Sook Nam. “Spirituality and Self-esteem in Middle-aged Women.” Journal of Korean Academy of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 22.2 (2013): 128–. Web.
Website Author and Your Guide
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.