Photo: Courtesy of Ed and Deb Shapiro
There are two very specific ways meditation can help you transform a lack of self-esteem into inner confidence and self-belief. First, it enables you to meet, greet and make friends with yourself. You get to know who you really are, and to accept and embrace every part. You'll soon find that your doubts, insecurities or fears are really only superficial, as you begin to connect with a deeper place of trust, dignity and self-worth.
Second, it awakens you to the inter-connection between everyone, the sense that you are not alone here. Rather, you are a part of this wondrous planet, and the more you extend yourself with kindness, the less you will be focused on your own limitations. Discovering your inter-connection takes you from a place of self-centeredness to other-centeredness.
As you bring acceptance and loving kindness to yourself, you may uncover the deeper belief that you do not deserve to be happy, that you do not believe you are good enough—a sort of built-in self-destruction clause. As Oprah says: "What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe." So you invite kindness into that self-negation and lack of self-esteem, until such uncertainty dissolves in love.
Find a comfortable and upright place to sit. Take a few deep breaths, and watch the flow of your breath as it enters and leaves.
Bring your focus to your heart, and as you breathe in, feel as if your heart is opening and softening; as you breathe out, release any tension or resistance.
Now bring into your heart either an image of yourself or repeat your name, and hold yourself in your heart, tenderly and gently. Silently repeat, "May I be freed from self-doubt, may I be happy, may all things go well for me."
Keep breathing into your heart, holding yourself with love and repeating the words. This will generate a deep, loving kindness and appreciation for yourself.
When you are ready, take a deep breath and let it go. Then go about your day with a caring heart and a smile on your lips.
Ed and Deb Shapiro are the authors of Be the Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They are featured weekly contributors to Oprah.com, HuffingtonPost.com and Care2.com. Ed and Deb write Sprint's The Daily CHILLOUT inspirational text messages. They have three meditation CDs: Metta: Loving Kindness and Forgiveness, Samadhi: Breath Awareness and Insight and Yoga Nidra: Inner Conscious Relaxation. Deb is also the author of the best-selling book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award.
More from Ed and Deb Shapiro
Can meditation be sexy?
How meditation can calm your mind
Is meditation your friend or your enemy?