Character and Self Esteem

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering
can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared,
ambition inspired, and success achieved.

-Helen Keller


Self-esteem is totally relative to integrity. When integrity
is defended, self-esteem is enhanced. When integrity is
compromised, character suffers, and self-esteem
is the first casualty.

The dictionary tells us that integrity is unimpaired wholeness,
or incorruptibility. What corrupts character? In a
nutshell, it is always dishonesty, in one form or another.
That makes the solution obvious, doesn't it?
All we have to do is to get honest with ourselves.

The problem is that getting honest can be traumatic. Many
of the thinking and behavior patterns that erode character are
the self same patterns that have made us feel safe. They are
the thoughts and deeds we thought we needed to survive.
Perhaps all our lives we have used these dishonesties to
get approval, acceptance, and what we imagined was our
best shot at intimacy.

Many people are now struggling with self-esteem because they
habitually agree when they want to object, smile when
they want to cry, work when they want and need to play.
These are dishonest behaviors. No matter what benefits
they may have provided, we have to confront them now as
the liabilities they have become.

Self-honesty is displayed in actions, not words.

Excerpt from:
Believing In Myself~ Daily Meditations for Healing and Building Self-Esteem~
Authors: Earnie Larsen & Carol Hegarty

A man was starving in Capri.
He turned his eyes and looked at me.

-Edna Saint Vincent Millay

Some people are both blessed and burdened with extraordinary
empathy and compassion. Because of early social
training or perhaps even a bit of generic code, they're
far more sensitive than most to other people's distress.
They're quick to identify, understand, and vicariously
"feel" the hardships and heartaches that less-aware
people don't even notice.

Nobody knows how many hearts have been lightened, how many
tears dried, by these tender, caring souls. But this
capacity, whether it's born or learned or both, is a lovely
rose with thorns attached. The danger, of course, is in
going to far, giving to much, developing a soft head to
go along with the soft heart.

Self-esteem soars when we honor our values. But our expectations
of self must be grounded in reality. It isn't possible
to respond to every cry for help. To be effective
over the long haul, compassionate works must be guided
by discipline and wisdom. Even the best impulses don't have
a limitless bank of energy to draw on. If we want to
have something to give tomorrow, we must learn to pace ourselves today.

Managing compassion takes as much thoughtful planning as
managing any other powerful resource.

An excerpt from the book
Believing In Myself~Daily Meditations for Healing and Building Self-Esteem
Earnie Larsen & Carol Hegarty

During his lifetime, an individual should devote
his efforts to creating happiness and enjoy it.

-Ch'en Tu-hsiu

Happiness is not constant for anyone, but our capacity for it is.
There is never a time in our lives when we cannot strive for
happiness. Yet striving for happiness is a different
proposition than wishing to be happy. Many of us have
slipped into a passive role. We wait for happiness,
we hope for it, we complain if we go to long without it,
but we stop actively striving to be happy.

Yet to strive is to try. It is to consciously make plans
and consistently keep to those plans in the pursuit of
the desired goal. People who achieve any worthwhile
goal are strivers. There's no other way it could be.
Excellence is but the polished face of practice.

So too, in the pursuit of self-esteem, we must learn to
be steady strivers. We must get off the bench and do
our daily readings, practice the positive word, avoid
those people and places that would cast us down--all
the step-by-step behaviors that ultimately result in
our reaching the goal.

My happiness is a result, not a gift.

An excerpt from the book
Believing In Myself~
Daily Meditations for Healing and Building Self-Esteem

Earnie Larsen & Carol Hegarty

Flowers leave part of their fragrance in the hands that bestow them.
-Chinese Proverb

It is a paradox that the more we give away the more we have.
Not in money, perhaps, but certainly in character and
self-esteem. When we are thinking of others, we are much less
likely to be worrying about ourselves. There's a double payoff.

True giving asks no return. There is no remembering, no
expectation, no greediness for gratitude. And none of
us is too poor to give love, respect, attention, encouragement,
time caring, assistance, compassion. These busy days
perhaps the most precious gift we have to offer our family
and fiends is the gift of listening. And we can never
give the gift of listening. And we can never give the
gift of attention without being repaid in deeper understanding.
What we give comes back to us.

Scripture tells us to bear one another's burdens.
Experience tells us that it is impossible for a generous
heart to give away more than it gets. To ease another's
pain is to ease our own.

When I reach to help others,
I cannot help feeling better about myself.

An excerpt from the book
Believing In Myself~
Daily Meditation for Healing and Building Self-Esteem

Earnie Larsen & Carol Hegarty

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