Category Archives: Self Esteem

Meditation on Qualities of Mind, Heart and Body

Meditate on your mind as peace : : Your heart is peace : : Your body is peace

Meditate on your mind as wisdom : : Your heart is wisdom : : Your body is wisdom

Meditate on your mind as contentment : : Your heart is contentment : : Your body is contentment

Meditate on your mind as balance : : Your heart is balance : : Your body is balance


What if you took a day with a few other people and turned your attention to unrest we cause when we do injury to this planet? What ideas might you come up with? What small, practical steps could you, together, begin to take?

Take a moment to find peace at the center of your being, the peace beneath the turmoil. Your heart is like a stone that rests at the bottom of a stream as water gurgles above it.

Meditate for three minutes, just noticing your breath coming into and leaving your body. This will lower your cortisol level.


You made a number of wise decisions today. What were some of them?

A human resources manager described how she finds her intuitive heart. “It’s the same voice that tells me which person to hire out of all the good people who make the final cut.” How do you find your own wise inner voice?

Feel gratitude for the heart that has been beating without your deliberately thinking about it since you were in your mother’s womb.


You may wish to take stock of the many good things you’ve done this week. Write about them. Appreciate the person that accepted challenges, helped people, worked hard and skillfully.

Enjoy the ease and satisfaction you get from remembering when you did something hard, something you didn’t want to do, something that scared you. You did it anyway. You grew bigger and more robust as a result. Your spirit is happier now than it was before.

You’ve moved your body this week. Perhaps you’ve lifted weights, walked, danced, done yoga. Now consider buying vegetables of all colors, slicing and chopping them to make a meal full of delicious flavors. You know what else to use – whole grains, coconut oil, meats from farms that raise animals responsibly.


You might practice listening to different sides of issues. Talk to someone with different political beliefs: a liberal, a conservative. Hear this person with an open mind, with a decision to understand why they see things the way they do. Look for the common ground you share. You will see that this person’s story is your own story.

Listen to your heart about the tragedy of Freddie Gray. Feel your compassion for the young man whose life has been cut short. Feel your compassion for the police officers. Every human person has the intention to do what they believe is good.

Again, meditate for three minutes to bring your physical plant into harmony. It strengthens your immune system and lowers your blood pressure.

Readers: What are more ways to honor our peace, wisdom, contentment and balance?

Am I OK Enough?

Once, someone important found you lacking. Perhaps this person honestly intended to help you, not criticize you. Or maybe they were just taking something out on you. Someone further back hurt them, and they passed it along.

Now in the present, the criticisms we’ve taken to heart lack any practical value. To flourish, we need to start from a foundation of self-esteem, an awareness of our worth. We all know that. But how do we clear away the shame messages and remember that at our cores we are glorious? Whole, shining and alive?

One way is to look at ourselves, the unity of our minds, hearts and bodies, more clearly. We usually take for granted the thousands of wonderful things we are and do. If we pause and reflect, though, we may well be gratefully astounded by ourselves.

How would we get through our days were it not for our minds directing us? Minds do the big things: create systems of roads connecting all parts of a country. Enable us to walk onto airplanes and move through the air. Work out peace treaties. Think up games. And little, vital things: we check e-mail and get dressed in the morning.

Our desire to listen to people and heal ourselves and throw birthday parties springs from our hearts. Part of us feels connected to the melting polar icecaps and picks up little kids when they cry. We send money to Doctors Without Borders. We put our arms around our friends and play with our pets when we’re tired.

Our hearts and minds can move around in the world doing interesting things thanks to our bodies. Without our bodies to act, we couldn’t read books to kids. Nobody would go to aquariums and watch sharks. Fabulous brunches wouldn’t matter. Or even exist.

Think for a moment about all the amazing things our bodies do, things we never think about. Our brains coordinate the complex business of keeping us alive. Our blood carries carbon dioxide to our lungs that we breathe out and nourish plum trees with. We experience the extravagance of the sunlight on our skin because we have nerves.

How could a creature who is and does all these things be anything less than magnificent?

In the next post we’ll continue to think about these things in light of a Meditation on Four Aspects of Being. In the meantime —

Readers: How does your mind give to the world?

How has your heart spoken to you this past week?

What do you enjoy doing with your body?

Healing Self Esteem

So many of us are self-critical to the point where we dislike ourselves.

The Dalai Lama was meeting with a group of Western psychologists when the subject of poor self-esteem came up. He indicated that he didn’t understand this concept. After much discussion with his translator he finally said: we just don’t have that issue in Tibetan culture. Not only do we not have words for this, this condition doesn’t exist for us.

Would that we could say the same thing in the west. Those who were most severely criticized, rejected, or abused as children can suffer terribly with self-criticism and dislike of themselves. Even if we were mostly treated well as children, it’s hard to find someone in our lives who doesn’t struggle in some way with self-esteem.

There are people who seem to have too much self-esteem, but if one’s sense of self isn’t based on a balanced and realistic embrace of weaknesses and strengths, an over-aggrandized sense of self-importance will deflate in the face of real hardship. When this person falls, they fall hard.

“Ok,” you say, “I know I’m too hard on myself. I’m much kinder to others than I am to myself. But I’ve always been this way. What can I do?”

Beginning a practice of the Loving-Kindness Meditation could help ease your harsh judgments of yourself.

The Loving-Kindness Meditation is a short series of intentions you can say to yourself silently or aloud:

May I be filled with loving-kindness.

May I be well in body and mind.

May I be free of anger and anxiety.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

A number of my clients have begun repeating this meditation to themselves a few times throughout their day or perhaps for a longer period of time in the morning or evening. They always say it helps. Often within the first week they notice a significant shift in how they feel about themselves.

“Those are nice words,” you may say. “But I don’t believe I could ever be that way. Really loving to myself? Free of anxiety? It would feel like I’m just going through the motions if I tried doing that meditation.”

So take the risk and try it anyway. As you say the words, they become a part of you.