Self Esteem and Commitment
I think having a dedicated spiritual practice can generate self-esteem. Here’s how:
I’m thinking of my meditation practice here: I have a commitment to myself to meditate every day for at least 30 minutes. The more I follow through with this, the better I feel about myself. And it’s not just about what happens on the cushion and after, which is of course why I choose to meditate, but it’s the actual act of following through; making it to the cushion day after day. When I do, I feel a sense of ease and knowing in my body. There is something that softens in me, like I’ve just received a hug. I know I’m “for” myself. When I don’t, I feel a niggling in my body, like a kind of tension that reminds me of somebody poking at my side. It’s like a subtle angst saying, “I have not honored myself today.” (And relating to spiritual practice, this is in addition to the little voice that says, “I have not connected to my Self today.”)
Our commitments may be about getting to the gym or yoga class, studying, writing, practicing an instrument, or eating healthy food, and I think it’s all the same: any regular actions that fulfill our personal commitments are going to foster trust in ourselves and increase our self-esteem.
In my February newsletter, I wrote about how taking consistent action in spiritual practice over a long period of time is called abhyasa in Yoga. It’s related to discipline and the idea that to see results from our spiritual practices, we must practice consistently over the long-term. So I’m appreciating how not only can we experience spiritual results from consistent spiritual practice, which would probably be the goal for most who practice, but we can also generate self-esteem, simply by showing up for ourselves again and again. So this is a great side-benefit of abhyasa.
More on how yoga and self-esteem are related in my upcoming book!