Ways to Build Self-esteem ~ Bro. Devananda

                                Brother Devananda leading chanting

Wearing (social) masks is not being true to ourselves.  (Our higher Self, not the ego)

Other people are mirrors for us to see ourselves.  Look at how you react to other people to get insight into yourself.

Ways to build self-esteem:

See the good in yourself and in others.  If you focus only on the negative aspects, that is all you will see.  We need to change negative thought patterns because repeated thoughts create a kind of magnetism.  Tell others what you like about them.

*Brother told the story of a couple who started the first two days of their vacation fighting and then not speaking to one another.  Finally the wife couldn’t stand it any longer and so she asked her husband to think about qualities that he liked in her, and that she would do the same.  They parted for a while to think, and when they returned, the wife told the husband how much she loved the graceful way his hands moved when he petted their dog, and how she loved his soft spoken gentleness.  The husband told the wife (who was a writer) how he loved to read her novels, and was so pleased because she always asked him for his opinion and help, and how he loved her smile.  They exchanged with one another in this way, and by the time they got to the end of the lists they had forgotten all about why they even fought in the first place and they became much closer through this exchange.

Keep a list of your strengths.  Give yourself permission to be less than perfect.  Be able to acknowledge your successes, even if they are not perfect.  He gave an example: Say that 27 minutes of a 30 minute meditation were unsuccessful and were spent in complete restlessness but that you had 3 minutes of peace.  You should consider the entire meditation a success.

Master said “Never identify with momentary flashes of error”

The monks and nuns now each have a book in the ashram which contains pictures of each one in various stages of their life, from childhood on up and each one also has a list of strengths compiled for each one by the others.

Parents should talk about what kids do right.  Don’t damage their self-esteem by always pointing out the negative.  They will become how you see them if your judgments about them take root in their own consciousness.

Use affirmations, for example: “I’ll do my best”, “Next time I’ll do better”, “I am saturated with Your peace, love and joy. I radiate peace, love and joy to all.”  Rotating affirmations in your consciousness creates a magnetism that will draw what you think.  Affirmations are good anytime, but work best just before sleep and upon awakening.

Accomplish small goals.

Look within and write down your thoughts.

(Brother did not have time to elaborate on these last two points)

*Brother’s talk was very down to earth and he was very candid about his own faults.  He said he had good verbal skills, but admitted he needed to learn how to listen better.  He said he was working on being less critical of others.  He described how he had been put in charge of Lake Shrine during a time when there was very big construction of the new temple going on and how he was feeling quite overwhelmed in trying to be in charge of so many and such expensive undertakings.  He said there was even talk of removing him from this position, which would have made him feel like a failure, but then a certain lay-person came into his life, who helped him and was able to teach him things about ways to handle all these responsibilities. 

Brother Devananda, 2000 Weekend Lecture Tour, from devotee notes

Devananda, Buenos Aires, 2015_Fotor
                                                       Bro. Devananda in Buenos Aires, 2015

See also~  More from Brother Devananda