Author Topic: Low self esteem and low self confidence  (Read 4641 times)

pini85

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Low self esteem and low self confidence
« on: August 31, 2015, 08:48:32 AM »
Hi.
This could be a long post. I have been meditating for roughly a year by using a mantra and listening to meditation music. For the past few days I've my anchor is feeling the sensations of breathing, like vipassana method advises. Only recently I actually understood in depth what meditation is thanks to the audio book "Introduction to mindfulness". I have suffered from low self esteem, low self confidence for years now. I use to be out going and a good looking guy. But my appearance got old really fast. I look 10 years older than I am (I'm 30 now). I tried everything, I quit smoking, taking care of my skin, of my health, exercising, eat only foods to help my skin. I'm quite obsessed with it to be honest, but to no avail. And because of that I got so low self esteem. I also think I'm not as smart as people. And when I'm with people I constantly think if I'm funny enough do these people like me? What can I do so they can like me more and we can hang out more etc. I can go on and on. I have so much negative thoughts in my head, running all the time. Now I know meditation can help with this. I know I'm a nice person, and a fun person to be with. But these negative thoughts are holding me back for so many years. What kind of meditation should I do to help me?  What should I do to finally be cured? U also thinking to go to a 10 day vipassana meditaion course. Please any advise would be much appreciated!
Thanks!

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2015, 03:52:07 PM »
Hello pini85,

Welcome to the forum. It seems you are dealing with a few inter-related issues in your life: your appearance, your social status, lack of self confidence, negative thought patterns. You ask what kind of meditation you can do to help solve these problems.

I would not recommend a 10 day vipassana course whilst you have all of this going on. The courses are quite intensive and if your mind is deeply troubled since a long time you may have a strong abreaction (negative reaction) to the "pressure cooker" approach.

Meditation can help, especially with the negative thought patterns, with development of equanimity, and the development of acceptance. The types of meditation you have been undertaking (mantra and with music) can lead to a slightly calmer mind or mild sense of joy, yet are unlikely to lead to great change. It seems you might have realised they are not as effective as you hoped.

So where do you go from here: Well, as it happens you have already found the key through "Introduction to Mindfulness": breathing meditation.

In breathing meditation you are anchoring your attention to the physical sensations in the body as you breathe and you are calming the body with each in and out breath. The mind will chatter, you don't ignore it and you don't suppress it: you note/notice it. As your mind will follow the body into a calm, awake, relaxed state the mind-chatter will diminish.

You will start to experience gaps in the never stopping thinking as you learn to ride this delicate balance of "relaxed but awake". You will start to see that you are not what you think - that thinking is a multifaceted process bubbling up from the subconscious and presenting itself to you as "me" in a 'fait-au complit'.

As you develop your "relaxed but awake" state you will start to find more equanimity/balance emerges naturally - as the light of awareness shone onto your thinking will bring the causes of the negative thinking to your conscious awareness.

You will start to realise that everything changes, that you cannot stop this (including ageing) - though you can take sensible measures to stay healthy.

You may find that as you worry less about how you appear, your appearance is less old! You probably have worry lines on your face from all this thinking that is troubling you, and of course, feeling the way you do now makes social interaction very hard.

The key to all of this is not to get goal oriented in your meditation or look for a "quick fix". It will take time practicing meditation to develop a calmer, more accepting view of yourself and the world. There is a meditation instruction called Shamatha/Calm Abiding if you scroll down on the homepage that may help.

Really though the biggest answer to your "problems" is to realise they are created by expectation and this creates stress. Stress becomes quite habitual. So you need to learn to accept what is (it really doesn't matter how old you look - you know this - but society tells you it does and you believe it ...).

I hope something there is helpful to you. Life is to be lived: you make it into a warzone for yourself instead at the moment it seems.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

pini85

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Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 05:55:46 PM »
Thank you very much Matthew for taking the time and giving me sound advice. Yes, you right that the Mantra hasn't really given me help with these issues. I am doing the breathing exercises with music as well. It's from project meditation called "life flow". I'm sure you have heard about it. It says it makes you go into a meditative state faster. Do you think I should not listen to it? Also I have been getting much healthier  psychologically in the past 6 months. I was rely looking foward on going to this 10 day course. What do you mean by negative reaction? I'll go nuts? It won't help me at all!? At least start the healing process and get the tools I need?
Thank you again.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2015, 09:55:28 PM »
Meditation is about relaxing into knowing yourself and untying the knots you find. I don't think music helps: it gets between you and yourself.

Your first post lists a number of inter-related issues and sounded like you are quite troubled. If you are troubled a Goenka/Vipassana international ten day course may not be helpful - it won't teach you to relax into knowing yourself and it will feed you some confusing information.

And then you say you have been getting psychologically healthier, which is good news of course but begs the question, "do you need to kick-start the process?" - or have you done that?
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

pini85

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Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2015, 04:00:53 PM »
Thank you for the advice. I am not using music anymoreanymore. It seems to be very hard to get into a meditative state. But practice makes perfect right? I believe I have begun realizing that my thoughts are not me. They are merely clouds in the sky that change all the time. I want to do the 10 day course to multiply that knowing.

yvesjonas

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    • I practise one hour of Goenka style Vipassana a day and one hour of Mahayana meditations.
Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2015, 07:52:52 PM »
I have a quiet similar story to tell. Negative thought patterns dominated my life throughout the last years. Even though I have always been quite popular, I struggled with low self esteem and general negativity. 2014 was the worst year for me but my crisis also helped me to change my life for the better. I took a time out and went on a long holiday to India, leading a secluded life and meditating a lot.

I think for me it was not only the meditation that helped but also to get out of my old environment. At home I was imprisoned in my negativity and I had reached I point where I saw no hope. I was diagnosed with double depression and started taking anti-depressants (for about two months). These helped reducing bad thought patterns but they couldn't give me a life where I could come to like myself.

But by leaving behind my old home I could get rid of my negativity. Meditating helped me not build up new bad thought patterns but the old depressing thoughts can still be triggered from time to time. Knowing that they will pass makes them a little easier to bear but by no means easy. It is probably much easier to get into a state of mind were no new negativity is created then it is to leave old, bad thought patterns.

While I was depressed I didn't do any Anapana or Vipassana Meditation, I would not have been able to keep bad thoughts from dominating my mind. I found that the guided meditations (Vajrayana Style or even Louise L. Hay) helped me getting into a more relaxed state of mind. After my mind got more stable I found Anapana more and more beneficial and it became one of my main practises.

I have completed a 10 day Vipassana course and found it extremely helpful but only after I had already improved a lot. Ten days without communication can also give your negative thought patterns a lot of space to amplify and you risk invalidating a very useful method. Vipassana meditation will be extremely beneficial in the long run but I think if you want to improve your situation quickly, there are better and more methods. You should use all means available that will help you to improve your situation. Have you considered (cognitive) therapy? It will help you to tackle your bad thoughts patterns directly while the meditation will help you stabilising at the root? And have you looked in your environment (your surf pattern, TV, people, work) for triggers that induce negative thoughts? Maybe you can remove or avoid some of them.

Try to put as many positive seeds in your mind as possible, avoid negatives. And above all be kind to yourself!

pini85

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Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 06:43:45 PM »
Thank you for your advice Jonas,
All my life I have travelled and lived in different parts of the world, saying to myself a fresh start. But it does not help, my problems (my mind)  follows me everywhere I go. I have read many help books that are Cognitive Therapy based. I have seen a psychologist that is based with psychotherapy. But I can see all the trouble is in my mind. I create the misery. If I'm free from my negative thoughts. And be who I am. I won't have any problems. Meditation is helping me see that my mind is constantly changing. It is not the real me. Thoughts are just clouds in the sky, changing all the time. So I am concentrating on meditation. This is what I have been searching for all these years. And I think the 20 day course will help me distinguish more in depth thoughts that are not real.


bomega

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Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 11:42:43 PM »
Hi Pini,

Sorry you are going through this. It sounds like your attachment to your more superficial attributes such as appearance and ideas is contributing to your low self-esteem. Have you done work around that? For example, you say you look 10 years older, but often, this is less of an issue for a man in society as far as superficial meaningless attributes go, as in most cultures a man is valued for his money rather than looking youthful. But for some reason, your mind has caught this idea and is giving you this negative message that your looks are your worth and that your ego continues to feed it, even in the face of this other signal your mind *could* have bought into to bring you down.  I'm not saying I support this idea - I think placing excessive worth on things that are superficial and transient, like money and looks are a mistake. But I understand that you might feel down because you are still a part of this society which passes this meaningless signals around. The trick is to see through your ego's game (because really society isn't to blame...you get to choose what ideas to believe or not) and then learn to be able to value yourself for who you are anyway.  (ETA: I also want to clarify that I'm NOT trying to say I'm above these society's signals. I have my issues too, and I have been trying to learning to observe how these signals affect me.) From what I've learned, when dealing with low self-esteem, certainly mindfulness is very important to not let the ego run the show. However, it is also important to develop loving-kindness toward oneself. My impression of most vipassana courses is that they don't focus on the second quite as much for some reason (however, I may be mistaken on that part, since never attended one.) I don't know whether a course would be helpful to you or not. I guess I'll let you decide. But personally, I don't think it is necessary. Just one option that maybe be available to you.

I have struggled with low self-esteem issues all my life as well, and have tried many things along the way, most of which helped me to some degree or another. Since I started exploring mindfulness and vipassana meditation, I have come across a couple of resources recently which really helped me.

1) I recently came across the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, which really gave me a lot of understanding about how to actually work with the mind to come to terms with myself and life and the world. I find this book to be really empowering even as it is really gentle and supportive. If you decide to look into this book, you might want to get the Radical Acceptance Guided Meditations CD (which is also available for purchase as a download on her website.) Or you could buy it as an audio book, which probably would have the printed version of the meditations read to you. Tara Brach is a counselor as well as a meditation teacher through the Insight Meditation Society, and she has a ton of really great free resources available on her website: http://www.tarabrach.com/

2) Here on vipassanaforum.net, I was first turned to Pema Chodron, and have been exploring her articles and books. I recently started reading The Wisdom of No Escape, and it is comforting, with a focus on loving-kindness and letting go. This book is a collection of lectures she gave at a month-long meditation workshop she gave, so it is really practical for understanding different ideas around mindfulness and loving-kindness and applying the ideas to your meditation practice and your life. I also read When Things Fall Apart, and strangely it gave me a lot of comfort, like being wrapped in a blanket, although some may find it a bit harsh. (If you get a little sticker-shock on the price, I linked the more expensive Shambhala Library editions of these books, because the book-geek in me really likes the feel of those books. I got them from my local library, so I didn't have to pay for them, but you can save a few bucks by buying the paper back edition. :))
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 12:06:57 AM by bomega »

Marc

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Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2015, 04:39:29 AM »
Hello pini85,

I've had no time to read the replies of other members but I have a quick tip that might help. I gave up masturbation and porn 60 days ago following the advice of several forums related to porn (yourbrainonporn.com). I don't want to assume anything but since the majority of males watch porn and take care of themselves regularly this issue might apply for you too.

I'm not religious and I don't think masturbation is a sin, but as I have been discovering for myself these past 2 months it has negative effects on your confidence, motivation and purpose in life. Masturbation works as a quick fix for your brain, and it releases stress, but if you rely on it regularly your brain gets used to the rush of dopamine and eventually gets disensitized to it, so that you don't get pleasure anymore from the simple things in life.

If you want you can investigate for yourself more (your brain on porn is a good start). I have come to the conclusion that this is a major issue that is very ignored.

Sorry if all of this doesn't apply to you! But I thought it could help  :D

Marc

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Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 08:13:40 AM »
I read the replies. I agree with Mathew that goenka style can become a bit tense, since he never stresses the importance of relaxation. I think it definetely gives a lot of good results but for me it was a bit stressing, specially the first course. The problem I think is that you have to keep moving your attention from head to feet and that might lead someone to belive that meditation is like a race. With breath you are not moving attention constantly, so it's much easier to stay balanced.

Anyway, I don't think meditation can provide quick fixes, it's a life journey. If you are very unhappy or stressed out, the problem is not that you are not meditating I think. You have an easier problem to solve and you will do it by changing your habits. It might be masturbation like I said above, sleep patters, diet, overuse of social media or lack of exercise or other things like that.

But don't take me seriously cuz I'm just talking from personal experience, I might be very wrong

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 02:03:49 PM »
But don't take me seriously cuz I'm just talking from personal experience, I might be very wrong

Personal experience is the best teacher you have.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Marc

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Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 09:09:33 PM »
Yeah ok :) What I meant is that these are some of the things that worked for me but I might have been in a different situation than pini
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 09:24:43 PM by Marc »

Re: Low self esteem and low self confidence
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2015, 07:18:24 AM »
Hi pinni,

Negative thoughts are very easy to deal with compared to other negatives. You just have to be aware that negative thoughts arise when their respective harsh sensations arise in the body. These thoughts are not really you. They r just thoughts like good thoughts. Let them me. Learn to live happily with these thoughts and when you release their respective sangharas you will observe them disappearing .

 

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