Self Esteem and Lost Happiness

iStock_000008484482XSmall When was the last time you felt happy?

For me, happiness only ever happens when I shut my mind up and bring myself absolutely into the moment.  Any moment.  It can be walking to work, breathing deeply as the wind tries to rip my jacket off me and the rain threatens – there’s an invigoration to the air before a storm.  It can be sitting at the local park at lunch, savouring a sandwich while the birds call and fly overhead, the flowers behind me adding their fragrance and the scenery in front of me dotted with other people eating, sitting and taking time out from rushing around.

It’s never a moment when I’m busily thinking of what I need to do, what’s about to happen, or even reviewing something that’s already happened.

Your mind and thoughts are the enemy of your happiness.  Happiness is found in being immersed in the very instant you’re living in.  It’s not in the future, or in thoughts of the past.  The voice of your thought-stream will only ever pull you further away from it.  That voice is all to often critical anyway – we’re mostly raised that way.

I know from experience that the lower your self esteem, the stronger and more critical that inner voice will be – constantly cycling through worries, fears and plans but in the process drowning out any chance of any happy moments.

Low self esteem is hard to overcome, I know.  But you don’t have to let it rob you for years as you work to build it back up again.  The first step in recovering is simply learning to hear what that inner voice is telling you – especially the negative stuff – and then cancelling it out with positive thoughts.  In the process the voice gets quieter.  That makes it easier to forget all those past/future thoughts and simply be.  Just breathing, looking around and feeling your connection to the rest of the world is one activity that’s very difficult to get down on yourself for doing.  It’s like a ‘time out’ from how most of us live our lives.  Ironically, it’s truly more of a ‘time IN’ to life and truly living it.

It does take practise, but when you believe in yourself enough to let those immersive moments happen, you’ll find an endless source of happy moments.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Mark Zamen September 29, 2009 at 10:14 am

    This is a very good post: accurate, thoughtful, and well expressed. There is no doubt about the soundness of your advice; a poor self-image can ruin the life of a person who might otherwise have achieved at least a typical level of success and contentment. That is one of the salient points of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay, Mormon, bipolar man, and chronicles his internal and external conflicts as he battles for stability and acceptance (of himself and by others). More information is available at or

    Mark Zamen, author

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  • Crystal October 1, 2009 at 5:03 am

    Thanks Mark. It’s a message I think all too many of us need to hear, unfortunately – so many aspects of modern life just seem almost designed to destroy our belief in ourselves. Like your book, I speak from personal experience. Best of luck with it.


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