Building Self-Esteem

We All Have that Voice

She’s been visiting me. She is here. In my face in the morning when I open my eyes, she lulls me back to sleep. You don’t have to get up. She says. No one will know. Sleep, sleep. You can. You deserve it.

This last week, after I made a commitment to rise in the morning and write first thing, in my pajamas, without even brushing my teeth, instead, I slept. When I was to be at my computer creating my life’s work, I slept. Given till noon, no need to take phone calls, or do business, I had carved out creative time for Her.

Instead, I got the other one. The one who wants me to not do well. The one who whispers, you know you will never amount to anything. You know you suck. You know they are right, don’t you? You should have kept your day job. Oh, you are writer, huh? Yeah, just like everyone else. Oh, you’re gonna write a book, huh? Have you seen the cluttered shelves of ALL those book stores? Hm. Yeah, yours will stand out among the rest, I’m sure.

She says, you are a loser. You worked hard, and gave it all up to sleep until noon. Congratulations. You took the big plunge, you leapt and trusted that net would appear. How’s it feel being stuck to the pavement?

She’s vicious. Her tongue is worse than the lash of a thousand whips, more piercing than a hundred samurai swords. She will nail you to that cross and she will delight in drinking your blood.

It’s amazing I’ve ever accomplished anything, with her tongue spitting escapades. Her voice is so familiar and so constant that it’s hard to even notice sometimes. The way she admonishes me for most everything I do. The way she makes everything seem so hard and the fact that it’s hard is proof of my idiocy.

What does she think she will get by berating me so hard? Does she think she is separate from me?

Maybe she is my saboteur. Maybe she is part mom. Maybe she is the programming twelve generations back that got encoded into my DNA. Whomever she is and wherever she came from, she is mine now.

I could wrestle her, and I do. Lately, I just turn her off.

She gets me in the morning, though. Something about that sleepy, unconscious time, she runs the show. Without the demands of a job to be at on time, I am my disciplinarian, and I am being blatantly sabotaged by a little girl, lacking in love, who wants to see the ruin of me.

What We Resist Persists

And then it dawns on me, I have to befriend her. She has something to say and I have shut her up so she is dragging me down. She will have this tantrum until I give her space to speak her voice and heed her call.

Notes from Caroline Myss’ Archetypes Page:

“The Saboteur’s fears and issues are all related to low self-esteem that causes you to make choices that block your own empowerment and success. As with the Victim and Prostitute, you need to face this powerful archetype that we all possess and make it an ally. When you do, you will find that it calls your attention to situations where you are in danger of being sabotaged, or of sabotaging yourself. Once you are comfortable with the Saboteur, you learn to hear and heed these warnings, saving yourself untold grief from making the same mistakes over and over. Ignore it, and the shadow Saboteur will manifest in the form of self-destructive behavior or the desire to undermine others.”

Where do you sabotage yourself? Is there a place where you have self-destructive behavior? Could you pause to inquire into what the message is for you?

How To Build Up the Other Voice

That voice has been there for years. One thing we can do, now, as conscious and aware adults, is give space to that voice, heed the call, and heal. And, make sure that the buck stops here.

Begin to nurture yourself and stop allowing that voice to have center stage. Once you’ve made space for it and taken the time to really inquire into where it comes from and what it wants, you can begin to change it.

Interrupt that voice. Replace it with a mantra, like, I am perfect, pure love. Or, if that’s too much of a leap, start simple, like, I am a good person.

We must break the chain and ensure our children don’t inherit that voice from us. Here’s what you can do:

Encourage your child to explore their desires, creative impulses and imaginative play.

Listen to your children. Stop, breathe, and give them time to fill you in on the magic of their world.

Give up limiting beliefs and don’t discourage your children. Whatever the dream, offer them faith, hope, comfort. Say, “I believe in you. You can do anything.”

Give your child choices. You can have peaches or pears. You can come here in two minutes, or one, what would you like?

Whenever possible, do not do for your child what they can do for themselves. Empower them to know success through experience.

Hug them. Kiss them. Touch them gently. Massage them. Hold them. Tell them how beautiful they are and that you will be there for them. Spend quality time with no agenda, go for walks, make art together. Climb a tree, dance, collect leaves, look for bugs, build something.

Lay the pathways now for them to know how to comfort themselves, how to feed confident, and how to make choices for themselves.

The voice in our minds comes from our parents, and it’s a voice that has spanned generations. We heed the call of Ghandi and we be the change we wish to see in the world, healing our own saboteur within and then we go about the honorable work of doing our best to limit the destructive messages we pass on to our children and subsequent generations. We cultivate love, from deep in our hearts, and carve out new patterns of relating that span out and affect in rippling waves.


  1. Chills. Rachel, I got chills. You share honestly, authentically. You share & I feel like I am there, and you bring it home. It hits the spot, I get it, & you are writing about you, but it feels like you get me. It feels like you are talking to me when I read what you write. I feel less alone in my fumbling when you share yours, and I thank you.

    1. Wow! That means so much to me to hear your reflection. I appreciate it so much!!! Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment to let me know that my words reach you. I thank you, thank you so much. xo

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