How to let go of low self-esteem: Life lessons from a lotus

A lotus is a beautiful and a fragrant flower. In many religions it is a sacred flower because it is offered in gratitude to the Gods. It is the symbol of strength among adversity.

We never know when we may encounter an adversity in life. Some people may encounter it from the day they are born and continue to experience adversities over and over throughout their lives. Meanwhile others may face adversities later on in life as a result of being bullied or from a relationship break-up. In any case, if people do not know how to cope or overcome the adversities they face or have faced, they may end up in a dark place feeling worthless lacking self-esteem.

Getting through the darkness

A lotus begins life in murky dark waters. The seed probably had no choice as to where it fell. Yet it doesn’t just sit there. It uses the muck it has landed in to nourish itself, and grow. It anchors itself deep into the mud for that is where its roots will be for the rest of its life. Then it begins its journey. As the seedling grows it sees the light above, but it has a long way to go before it can make it to the top. But it knows where it is heading. Oftentimes the seedling has to get through layers of murkiness, as it bends and meanders way towards the light. Then finally it gets there. It surfaces to the top.

Never think that you are not worthy or that you an obstacle to someone’s happiness. Because you are not. You are the lotus seedling finding your way through the murky waters.

You may have been told all your life that you may amount to nothing, or that you are worthless. But the people who tell you this do not know you. They do not know that you are still growing, they do not know your life plan. You are not the obstacle to their happiness, they are the obstacles to your growth.

Self-esteem and you

I think self-esteem is a very strange concept. People often think that if you are an extrovert, then you must have high self-esteem. But I am not sure that this is true. I have met people who are introverts, yet have high self-esteem.

So what is this thing we call self-esteem?

It is defined in the dictionary as ‘confidence in one’s own worth or abilities.’

So where does this confidence come from? How do you appreciate your worth and abilities?

Well, I thought about this for a long time. During my teens, I always thought I lacked confidence because I lacked self-esteem. I actually did not like who I was as a teenager. There were people in my life who put me down. Though I may not have seen this at the time, I now know they were the obstacles I had to get through.

It took a while for me to develop my self-esteem, i.e., to value myself.

Like your imperfections

To begin the route to developing your self-esteem, ask yourself why you may feel worthless. What is it about you that you do not like?

Oftentimes when we ask ourselves this question, we could probably come up with a list of hundred things that we do not like about ourselves. We are our own worst critic, because we strive for perfection.

Yet in nature, there is no such thing as perfection.

If you were to take a walk in a forest see if you can find a perfectly straight tree with perfectly straight branches, and a perfectly smooth bark that bears no scars. Nature does not make perfect organisms, and we as part of nature is not perfect. Perfection is a condition of the human mind, and not a condition required by nature. Imperfections in nature are beautiful and artistic. So you do not have to be perfect.

Now write down all the things about you that you do like, bearing in mind that you do not have to be perfect.

Then throw out the things about yo that you do not like about you, and focus on what you do like about yourself.

When you focus on the negatives these things will grow. When you only water the weeds and ignore the flowers, only the weeds will grow. So learn to focus on your positives, and let them grow.


Roots and values

The lotus blossom, though beautiful and fragrant, is still firmly anchored in the mud where it began its life. Its roots hold it firmly in place.

We often talk about uprooting and leaving our past behind. But do we really leave it behind?

You could move to the other side of the world, live million miles away from a bad experience. But running away to a different place and trying to forget the past probably does not help us develop self-esteem. At least I don’t think it does.

We can learn to let go of the pain and suffering attached to the experience and move forward with our lives. But it is the actual experience from our past that has made us who we are today.

Where we came from, and the experiences we have had (good or bad) also contribute to the values we have today.

So accept your roots and know your values as these will anchor you and keep you steady in a changing world.

Find your niche

Oftentimes lack of self-esteem could be a result of not finding your niche in life. Deep down inside you may know what you need to do that is true to your values. Perhaps once you find this niche, you may begin to  love and appreciate what you do.

Be the light in someone’s dark world

A lotus blossom closes up when the darkness comes.

When a lotus blossom closes, you will see that the outer petals are the roughest. They had taken the weathering during the darkness. They protect the inner delicate petals. Then when the sun comes out and its rays hit the petals of the lotus, they open one by one revealing a beautiful flower that gives so much joy to so many people.

Sometimes if you were to involve yourself in providing some sort of service to someone else, and be the light in his or her darkness, then maybe you might find your own self-worth.

Experience unconditional love

Have you ever owned a pet? If you have, then you will know that a pet will love you unconditionally. A pet does not care how you look in the morning. It won’t care if you are overweight, if you have a deformation on your face, or some other weakness. A pet won’t even care whether you are obsessive compulsive or even a hoarder. It will always be happy to see you.  It will see in you qualities that you didn’t know you had – love, compassion, and kindness.

So if your pet can see these qualities in you, then isn’t it possible that others can also see these qualities in you too?

May you find your way out of the darkness and blossom like a lotus flower.



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Mauve Writer

Teacher, Learner, Writer

4 thoughts on “How to let go of low self-esteem: Life lessons from a lotus

  1. This article spoke to me more than I thought it would. Thank you for helping me to see a more positive light with the use of the Lotus!

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