Self-esteem is something I write and talk a lot about here on the blog and our various other channels.
As men who struggle with a compulsive porn addiction problems, sex, and masturbation, our self-esteem tends to be horribly low when we first decide to quit. We hate ourselves, we’re filled with guilt and shame, we believe we’re weak and pathetic, and more.
Unless you rebuild your self-esteem, you’ll always find yourself struggling to maintain your reboot. You’ll never see yourself as a man who can live a life free of compulsive sexual behavior if you don’t address your self-image and self-esteem. What can you do to work on your poor self-esteem when you first arrive at the porn addiction recovery – reboot program?
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. It’s based on your self-image and how you view yourself. For example, if you see yourself as a pathetic, porn-addicted man who can’t overcome his behavior, you’ll have poor self-esteem. However, if you recognize that everyone makes mistakes, has the power to overcome them, and know that you’re working to be a better man, you’ll have a strong sense of self-esteem.
There are a few different aspects that make up your self-esteem. Addressing each of these areas will help you build up your sense of self-esteem and strengthen the way you feel about yourself.
Humans naturally feel a desire and drive to belong to something. Your identity is made up of two parts: identity within a group and identity within yourself. In terms of a group, your identity is defined by the kind of people you surround yourself with. This includes your family, friends, colleagues, and community. In terms of yourself, your identity involves all of your characteristics, both positive and negative. Reaching self-acceptance is important for cultivating self-esteem.
Competence is having trust in your ability to do or not do something. It involves an understanding of your capabilities, limitations, and desire to learn new things. You won’t feel very great if you believe you aren’t capable of much. On the other hand, if you believe in your abilities, you’ll have a deeper sense of self-esteem. Men who feel highly competent tend to have higher levels of self-esteem than those who feel incompetent.
Self-confidence is the main feeder of your self-esteem. Your sense of security, both personally and with those around you, contributes heavily to how you feel about yourself. Confident men also have high self-esteem. Building up your self-esteem relies primarily on building up your self-confidence.
Self-Esteem in Extremes
There is an important caveat when it comes to building self-esteem. Going to extremes on either end, whether you have far too much self-esteem or far too little, isn’t a healthy place to be. The most effective approach to self-esteem resides somewhere in a balanced middle point.
For example, some men may have very high self-esteem without realizing that it isn’t grounded in anything. They have an overly inflated sense of self but it isn’t built on anything outside of their perception. Then you have men who tear themselves down any chance they get. These men also carry an unrealistic, extreme view of themselves but on the other end of the spectrum.
Something I notice in high-performing men is their tendency to vacillate between these two spaces. Sometimes they puff themselves up and believe they’re better than others around them. Other times they’re overcome with guilt, shame, and remorse, and believe they will never overcome their behavior or amount to anything.
Typically these extremes of self-esteem stem from coping or compensating. Men who struggle with self-acceptance will swing from one extreme to the other without. They struggle to find a middle ground where they can simply be a small part of the greater whole.
Having self-esteem in extremes is not a helpful way to live. It’s not grounded in reality and it’s built on a false sense of self. You’re neither better than everyone else nor worse than everyone else. You reside somewhere in the middle, a human among other humans, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The Importance of Building Self-Esteem
When you develop healthy self-esteem, you know exactly who you are, where you want to be, and what you want to do. This enables you to make better choices in every area of your life. It informs the direction you need to take so you can most efficiently and enjoyably arrive at your intended destination.
Having a clear idea of these three things allows you to make smarter decisions about who you spend time with and which activities you participate in. When you’re operating from a place of healthy self-esteem, you’ll surround yourself with people who understand you and do things that you like doing or will benefit you.
Part of fulfilling these long-term goals involves getting out of your comfort zone. You won’t be able to get out of your comfort zone if your self-esteem is low, though. This is another reason building self-esteem is so important. When you’re comfortable with yourself, you’re more likely to try new things, meet challenges, face your fears, address your insecurities, and more.
A strong sense of self-esteem is also crucial because it increases your resilience to the judgment or rejection of others. You aren’t concerned about what others think of you when you have a strong sense of self and a clear sense of where you’re going.
How to Start Building Self-Esteem
Now that you know why having a strong sense of self-esteem is so important, I’ll leave you with an exercise to practice building it. You might think it sounds silly but I need you to trust me on this one, brother.
Stand in your bedroom or living room, somewhere you can be on your own. Imagine there’s a circle drawn on the ground in front of you. Looking at that circle, call to mind all of the positive things you want to be, the happy feelings you want to feel, the best memories you can think of, and everything you hope for from life. Put the thought and energy of all those great things into that circle that sits on the floor before you.
Then I want you to physically step into that circle and allow the positive energy and image you created to surround you. Feel those incredible feelings and experiences merge with you. When you step into this circle you’re stepping into the new version of yourself. You may not feel it fully yet but you will notice a shift in your mental energy and well-being.
Once you practice this exercise at home you can begin bringing it with you anywhere you go. Imagine that circle is always right in front of you and you can step into it at any time. Then you can step out of it a stronger, more confident version of yourself.
I know, it might sound a bit woo-woo or out there. I want you to try it, though, without judgment. Once you do, head over to the Porn Reboot Facebook group and tell us about your experience with it. Let us know what your experience was and read about some of our other brothers’ experiences with the exercise. It’s a great first step toward building self-esteem as you begin incorporating other aspects of the Porn Reboot program.