The Self-Esteem Castle

I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this knows or has known someone with low self-esteem.  They just really don’t believe they are deserving or have the skills, strength or knowledge to be successful.  They assume they are always going to fail or be taken advantage of. Therapists see it all of time.

Other people are very confident.  Sure their self-esteem may take a hit from time to time, but ultimately they are okay.  They know they deserve good things.  They know they can generally do what they set out to do.  And if they don’t, one failure doesn’t mean they are a failure.

But there is something that lies in between those two situations.  Some people work to build their self-esteem.  They develop skills, they learn, they appreciate their successes and learn from their mistakes.  They know they are worthy and capable.  But they don’t act that way.  I call this failure to use the self-esteem castle.

Think of self-esteem as a castle.  If you have low self-esteem you have little or no defenses.  You maybe standing in an empty field with no defenses.  When something bad comes your way you take it full force, because there are no castle walls to deflect it.

When you build your self-esteem you build a castle.  it provides you protection when bad things come your way.  It may knock a stone out of your castle…maybe even knock down a turret.  But you still remain unscathed inside.  You may need to do a little work to repair the damage…but better a damaged castle than a damaged you.

Those other people?  The ones in the middle?  What they do is interesting.  From my perspective what they do is invest in building a self-esteem castle.  They are smart, good, capable, strong, smart.  Their castle is strong.  They can even tell you about it.  They can describe what it is built out of and what it is capable of doing.

So what is the problem? It’s this.  They build the castle…but wont’ stand inside of it.  They stand outside of their castle and can point to it and describe it…but when something bad comes they still take it on directly.  All of those defenses they built go unused.

Why does this happen?  It isn’t always clear.  Sometimes a person may not think they are worthy of using the defenses.  Sometimes people just don’t get how to use them.  It can me one or many reasons.

The process of getting in the castle is  accepting that your castle exists and is worthwhile. Not just logically acknowledging it but emotionally accepting it.

You’ve probably had those moments where your head knows something logically.  All of the facts point to it.  There really is no debate.  But your heart doesn’t believe it.  We say it all the time…”I know it but I don’t feel it in my heart.”  And then comes that moment of integration, when your heart accepts what your head already knows.  And it feels good.

That is what we are looking for here.  You’ve invested your time and energy in building your castle.  You know it is strong.  Accept in your heart and climb inside.  Let it do its job.

The benefit?  It is amazingly freeing.  It allows you to try new things and take risks with less or no fear.  Because of taking on the full brunt of any bad things, your castle does.  And you get to learn how to repair your castle and make it stronger and better.  Those fear generating experiences become opportunities…opportunities for growth, change and improvement. It makes life an adventure…one experienced from a castle!

About awentherapy

I am Jay Blevins, LMFT (www.awentherapy.com). I am a licensed systems therapist with a private practice in Madison, WI. While I work with individuals and partners around a wide variety of issues, my primary focus in on alternative relationship structures, alternative sex and sexuality, and power dynamics. I am a contributor to various relationship and sexuality blogs and publications and have been a frequent presenter at alternative lifestyle events and psychotherapy conferences.
This entry was posted in Acceptance, Awen Therapy, Castle, Emotions, Insight, Integration, Self-Esteem, Therapy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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