Self-Esteem and Self-Responsibility

Good self-esteem implies that we have some control over what happens in our lives. This means that we each take responsibility for our decisions, behaviour and achieving our goals.

The bottom-line is:  No one is going to make our life better or to save us!  The more we do for ourselves and look out for ourselves, the higher our self-esteem will be. When we practice self-responsibility, it is an active approach to work and life as opposed to a passive one. If we fail to practice self-responsibility, we allow ourselves to be at the mercy of other people or situations.

There are three roles that are often played out in the work situation that highlight a lack of self-responsibility: the rescuer, the victim and the oppressor. None of these individuals take any responsibility for themselves. The rescuer is the person who either keeps quiet about their true feelings or tries to please everybody else, even if it happens at the expense of their own well-being. The rescuer will agree with their senior for fear of being unpopular or disliked. The rescuer feels responsible for keeping other people happy and making life easier for others.

The victim is the person who feels helpless to affect change in situations. This person identifies strongly with the martyr role and automatically looks to themselves to find fault. The victim will feel that no matter what they do, life just does not work out for them. Victims come across as very unsure of themselves and apologetic.

The oppressor is the person who blames everyone around them. They are very good at diverting any attention away from themselves and will be quick to point fingers at other people. They will also use fear tactics to gain co-operation. Oppressors come in different guises: those who are overt bullies and who coerce, manipulate or humiliate others. Then there are those who are much more subtle in the way they try to manipulate others or butter them up to gain their support.

In consulting with executives and business owners, I have seen how the more experienced and wiser business men have learnt lessons in their career. They have learnt which battles are worth taking on and which may tarnish their reputation. They have learnt how not to be hooked into situations or any of the three roles described. They work really hard on either not taking situations personally or working through their feelings of frustration or anger. They have learnt to temper their responses.

Younger executives may still find themselves reacting from an emotional state. One of my clients was a managing director of a components manufacturing company that reported into a larger group. Initially he was almost subservient in his interaction with his seniors. He was always motivating the performance of his company or his behaviour.

As we worked on his self-esteem and he felt more confident, he began to see himself as an equal to his seniors. They soon noticed this and started consulting him on decisions affecting the larger group. He moved from being a victim to recognising his own self-worth and stepping into his inner power.

None of the three roles described are helpful at work or in life. It is crucial therefore to know that each of us is responsible for the following:

  • The achievement of our desires
  • Our choices and actions: “I am the key change agent in my life”
  • The level of consciousness we bring to our work: to do our work well or not, to blame others or take responsibility for ourselves
  • The level of consciousness we bring to our relationships: “Am I fully present in interactions? Do I think of  the implications of what I say? Do I notice how others respond to what I say?”
  • Our behaviour with other people: “How do I speak? How do I listen?”
  • Our personal happiness: “No one else is responsible for making me happy”
  • Accepting or choosing values by which we live: “Do I live my values or those of others?”

It is very clear from research I have done with successful executives and business owners, that each of them feels very strongly about taking responsibility for themselves and learning from situations.

Nobody is coming to rescue us and to make life easier for us. The onus is on each of us to look with awareness at our life. We need to empower ourselves to make decisions that will serve us and the greater community better in the future.

If you would like to strengthen your self-esteem further feel free to Contact me.

Posted in Self mastery.