“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-brake on” - Maxwell Maltz
I had a lovely chat with William Hutcherson, Ph.D., on my Insightful Conversation show this week. Bill is a retired psychologist with over forty-five years in private practice. As a lifelong seeker with an enthusiastic zest for life and a thirst for knowledge, Bill first came across the 3 Principles back in 1983. Bill’s fascination with psychology and spirituality started many years earlier due to his own experience grappling with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.
Unlike many people who suffer from low self-esteem, Bill’s childhood could only be described as idyllic. He grew up in a small town in Kentucky in the 1930s. Bill was a happy child from a loving family. He spent his days playing with his siblings and friends, climbing trees and riding bikes and helping out with the farm duties. Bill was athletic, intelligent, and popular, yet he still suffered from insecure thoughts and feelings of not being good enough.
Despite the loving environment, Bill grew up in and all of his accomplishments, the feelings of inadequacy followed him into adulthood. Perplexed by this dichotomy and seeking to understand himself better, at the age of twenty-eight, Bill decided to switch from a career in Math to a career in Psychology.
Listening to Bill, it is difficult to imagine this compassionate, intelligent, and accomplished man could have ever suffered from self-doubt and insecurity. It’s incredible to me that regardless of the environment we grew up in, we humans can suffer from low self-esteem. To me, low self-esteem is a spiritual crisis, and the only reason we suffer from a lack of self-worth is that we have forgotten who we are at our essence. So naturally, the solution to our insecure thinking and low self-esteem is to look in the direction of our spiritual nature.
Before coming across the Principles, I was the epitome of low self-esteem. I spent the first fifty years of my life believing that there was something wrong with me. I felt worthless and inferior. I was constantly comparing myself to others and always falling short. Thirty years of therapy and studying a multitude of various spiritual practices helped, but it was coming across the Principles that brought me the freedom I had been looking for.
So, what was it about the Principles that changed me, you might ask? I had two significant insights that dramatically changed how I saw myself and how I showed up in life.
The first insight I had was when I saw the truth that we are “Spiritual Beings having a Human Experience.” That we are both spiritual and human rolled into one. Recognizing that we all come from the same spiritual energy that creates all living things helped me see that I was equal to everyone else. We all come into the world of form with the same amount of innate wisdom, well-being, and resilience within us. Physically, we might look a little different, but we are all one and the same at our essence.
The second life-changing insight I had was that I didn’t have to believe the thoughts in my personal mind. I learned that human beings have anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 thoughts a day. We have no power over what thoughts pop into our heads. Our thoughts are just energy running through us. Random and up for grabs by any of us. I saw that the habitual insecure thoughts that were running through my head were not personal to me. They had nothing to do with who I was. They had set up camp in my head so long ago I didn’t even question their validity. They were so familiar to me I accepted them without question.
I had innocently believed that thoughts such as I’m not good enough, pretty enough, intelligent enough, skinny enough, confident enough, etc., were telling me who I was. I had grabbed onto these thoughts and created a persona from them called “Del.” I spent many futile years trying to change my thinking about myself. I believed that once I accomplished this, I would have more confidence and show up to life differently. Mantras and affirmations adorned my bathroom mirror to no avail.
The Principles taught me that I couldn’t stop the thoughts that popped into my head, but I could alter how I related to them. So instead of trying to manipulate and change my beliefs about myself, I stopped taking them so seriously. The more I ignored them, the more they began to fade. I won’t pretend that they don’t show up now and again, but now I am on to them; they have lost their power over me.
I laugh when I look back over my life and how I had innocently “made up” who I thought I was. I could have just as easily grabbed onto thoughts about myself that supported a belief that I was this amazing, accomplished, brilliant, beautiful person and then lived from that place.
The truth is we are free to entertain anything we want to believe about ourselves. Our personalities are not solid or set in stone. We are made of infinite potential. We live in a thought-created reality of our own making. To paraphrase Sydney Banks, “We are just One Thought away from a completely different experience.”
These days, my new reality is that I host a weekly Youtube/Podcast show. I write a weekly blog, speak at International Conferences, host webinars, and coach individuals and groups. Not bad for a formerly shy, insecure, fearful timid introvert!
With love and appreciation, Del 💕