Lecture 174 – Self-Esteem | Abbreviated Version

P2             You fail to differentiate between rejecting a trait and rejecting the person, whether yourself or others. Therefore you fall into the error of justifying, denying, falsifying, and rationalizing – and often even beautifying—a very undesirable and destructive trait. First, you have to perceive and experience life in a new way. One of the earmarks of life is its untold potentiality for change and expansion. To be more specific: Once you perceive life as it is, you will sense that even the lowliest of all destructive creatures has every possibility for change and for goodness, for greatness and for growth.

At any moment, the thinking may change and create new attitudes and behavior, new feelings, new ways of being. And if these do not happen now, that alters nothing, for one day things are bound to change and then your true nature must finally emerge. The knowledge of one’s true nature having to emerge sooner or later changes everything: it changes your despair about yourself. It opens the door to knowing your potential for goodness, regardless of how malicious you now may be; for generosity, regardless of how mean you may now be; for loving, regardless of how selfish you now may be; for strength and integrity, regardless of how weak you may now be and how tempted to betray your best self; for greatness, regardless of how petty you may now be.

Look at nature, at any manifestation of life, and it is forever changing; it is forever dying and being reborn; it is forever expanding and contracting and pulsating. The power of thought, of will, of emotions is infinitely greater than any inanimate power.

P3             Now, if in the smallest atom—so small that it cannot even be perceived with the naked eye—a power exists to release untold energies for building or destroying, how infinitely more is this the case with the power of the mind: the power of thinking, feeling, and willing. The powers to think, will, feel, express, act, and decide are the earmarks of consciousness. Living consciousness therefore deserves a respect that can hardly be put into words. It does not matter how it manifests; no matter how undesirable and destructive the present manifestation may be, the life that issues from the momentary destructiveness holds all the potential for turning into constructive channels.

People in deep depression and hopelessness must be in error, for they negate the very essence of life. And those who despair about themselves because they feel they are so bad, so unacceptable, so destructive, so negative, find themselves in the error of perceiving and experiencing life in a fixed way, as though what is now must always be. This is the error of deadness. Such thinking ignores and negates the flux of true life.

Since you are alive, this fluidity is yours; in reality you are fluid. That is the great struggle, my friends: you erroneously believe that what is most obnoxious to you is you. For, since you do not believe that you can essentially be anything else but that which you dislike, you have to hold on to it nevertheless, because you do not wish to cease existing. This is why you so inexplicably hold on to destructive traits.

P4             This is indeed a vicious circle, for true self-esteem can, of course, come only by your sensing your capacity to love, to give of yourself. Yet this capacity cannot be known when you take it for granted that it simply does not exist. No matter how fixed your life may appear, it is only one tiny part of the whole story, my friends. Above all, it is a life in which you are free at any moment to think new and different thoughts that create a new and different life expression and personality.

The only trouble is that you have conditioned yourself to let it ruminate in habitual negativity, self-rejection, and needless limitation. But once you decide to use your thinking in a new way, you will experience the truth of life’s hopeful changeability, its endless possibilities to move in new directions. When I talk about new ways of being, I want to make it quite clear that this does not mean they have not existed in you as a dormant essence. They are only new as far as your awareness is concerned, for they are all there, constantly ready to be used for the asking.

P5             Perceive yourself as fertile soil before the seeds are planted. Fertile soil contains incredible power to bring about new expressions of life. The potentials seethe in it, whether or not the seeds are actually put in. Your entire consciousness and aliveness is the most fertile soil imaginable. The fertile soil is constantly there with incredible power to bring forth new expressions of life in your thinking, your feeling, your willing, your energies, your possibilities of action and reaction.

As long as you assume that this habitual approach is the only one possible, you will not grasp the possibilities and powers in your life. Thus, when you feel unhappy or hopeless, question yourself: “Do I not have another way to react to this situation that seems to befall me out of nowhere and to which I choose to react negatively, destructively, making myself hopeless, complaining and feeling angry about it?” First, your thinking and your attitudes change; then the feelings follow suit; then your actions and reactions begin to respond to new spontaneous impulses.

Paradoxical as this may seem, the total self-rejection, the destructive kind of guilt under discussion is incapable of overcoming anything. You know that according to your belief you must experience, because you cannot see beyond the form you have built according to your belief. Your actions then are determined by your beliefs and must thus provide proof of their veracity, no matter how mistaken those beliefs are and how many other alternatives exist in reality.

The energy, the discipline, the stamina, the initiative essential for effecting a change will be comparatively easy to muster when you know a change is possible; when you know that, change merely means bringing out your dormant qualities. When you know that, no matter how ugly the traits may be, you will not despair about being unlovable.

P6             The power that created the universe, with everything in it, including all that you are, possesses the strength to change anything. For even the things that should be changed were created by that same power and must, in essence, be something other than they appear now. Now why has humanity lost touch with the source of its own life, the source of its feelings, the source of its instincts, the source of its own nature, deep inside the self? Only because you are so terrified of your destructiveness and do not know how to handle it.

The instinctual life has always been wrongly equated with destructiveness. Only within the deep core of the instincts can God be found because only there can true aliveness be found. You will learn to value and nurture the deep instincts you have always so distrusted and to find the truth of the living creative spirit in and through them. If you truly look at them (destructive traits) in a dispassionate, objective way, you will always find that fear and denial really oppose the life of the instincts. The instincts are simple and innocent in themselves; your destructiveness is always a result of pride, selfwill, fear, vanity, greed, separateness, lovelessness, one-upmanship.

P7             You can find peace only when you can truly accept the ugliest in you and never lose sight of your intrinsic beauty. If you can conceive of yourself as the essence of life, with all its incredible powers, possibilities, and inherent potentials, you will indeed know that you are deserving of your own esteem and acceptance. I also suggest a specific exercise you might find quite helpful. Put down in writing everything that you dislike about yourself. Have it down in black and white. Look at those traits when they are written down. Then feel into yourself and ask: “Do I really believe that this is all there is to me? Do I really believe that I must be these traits all my life? Do I believe I have the possibility to love? Do I hold forces locked up in me that contain all the good imaginable?”

Since loving is equated with the terrible danger of being totally impoverished, even robbed of your very life, how can you want to love? This is the reason why you fear pleasure. For pleasure not only seems entirely undeserved, but love and pleasure are interchangeable. True pleasure is loving, and without loving pleasure just does not exist. If you harbor love feelings your whole body is in a blissful vibration, with certainty, with security, with peace, with stimulation, with excitement in the most relaxed, pleasurable way. The giving and receiving become so interchangeable that it can often no longer be discerned which is which.

—The Pathwork® Guide