Author Topic: Self-Esteem and Buddhism  (Read 2869 times)


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Self-Esteem and Buddhism
« on: October 28, 2012, 04:04:23 AM »
We are told in Buddhism that we should be at peace with our minds, that holding attachments brings suffering, etc. etc.

My question is, what about self-esteem? Self esteem is a concept of Western civilization psychology, but how does it relate to buddhism? Isn't the concept of self-esteem (having an opinion about yourself, so basically is identifying yourself with your thoughts) similar to the ego?

What would be the approach of buddhism towards a low self-esteem? Would the buddhist approach would be to not think ANYTHING in particular about yourself (To have NO opinion about yourself, instead of having "good" or "bad" self-esteem?

Are positive emotions encouraged in Buddhism or should one remain with equanimity and neutrality?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 04:19:31 AM by lokariototal »


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Re: Self-Esteem and Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 05:27:04 AM »
This is a really good question and one that I  have always thought about.  :angel:


Re: Self-Esteem and Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 01:49:17 PM »
     Hi loka,

     The buddha has discovered this technique of insight, this technique when practiced properly will give you a look at the true nature of reality. As you progress on this path you will reach different stations each one giving a deeper understanding of the nature of reality, these stations will naturally dissolve the ego. Until this process is completed there will always be a sense of self that will feel this way or that way. Keep practicing until there is no ignorance remaining.



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Re: Self-Esteem and Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 06:41:18 PM »
Hello lokariototal,

I want to react to your post, even though I am not from a Buddhist cultural background, and even though I do not regard myself as a Buddhist.

Having a low self-esteem is a certain attitude. Taking the low self-esteem very seriously makes the low self-esteem into a problem. Pounding yourself on the head and telling yourself that you are worthless, is making this attitude into a solid thing - it is form of building an "ego". 
Compare this to being proud. That also is an attitude. And if someone holds on to his pride, taking it very serious, he is building an ego with his pride.

It is appropriate to know what you are good at, and what you are not good at. It is a natural thing that these things raise or lower your self-esteem. That is OK.

It may be, that there exists with a person some hard-core low self-esteem that has nothing to do with what the person is doing. That hard-core low self-esteem is is not the result of a careful and proper judgement. If it were a careful and proper judgement, it would help you to improve.
Vipassana will help to look into this hard-core low self-esteem, see what it is, and probably allow it to change or to dissolve.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Self-Esteem and Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 08:34:41 PM »
Self esteem is definitely tied into the ego. Given self esteem is usually the product of measuring one's self against everything else (I'm of merit because I'm better than most at Chess, or I'm lesser than everyone else because I'm not wealthy, etc), it is at odds with the non-dualism of Buddhism, where there is no distinction between one and all.

So the Buddhist approach would involve the cessation of measuring yourself as being distinct from everything else so there is no high or low self esteem, you are what you are.

Positive emotions are encouraged indirectly by following the Noble Eightfold Path in that adhering to it will hopefully discourage you from acting and thinking negatively which lead to negative emotion.

Just my two cents.


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