Beneath the commonly accepted understanding of self-esteem as the ego feeling good about itself, there is the real self-esteem which is based on a spiritual recognition of one’s true value. That value has nothing to do with accomplishments …or positive thinking. To find this pure essence of the soul it is necessary to go beyond the idealized version of the personality to one’s core being. To get over the mental habit of not feeling like you are good enough, you need to see that thinking pattern is you ego operating from the belief that there is no spiritual value inside you and that all your worth is dependent upon your outer achievements. When you understand the falsity of the ego’s beliefs, you can stop investing your emotional support in it, and over time the feeling of not being enough will be replaced with the light and presence of your true self that knows its worth for what it is, not by what it does.
As long as you identify primarily with your character in this dream we call life, it is reasonable to feel proud of your accomplishments, ashamed of your misbehavior, superior to others who have achieved less or are less intelligent or less athletic or less good-looking or less wealthy, inferior to others who have achieved more or are more intelligent or more athletic or better looking, etc. But your true identity is the consciousness and the creative intelligence in which this phenomenal existence appears. Our purpose in life is to experience that truth with increasing clarity. As progress in this direction, our self-esteem is replaced with a sense of both humility and confidence, and instead of competing with others, we feel a greater connection with them and greater affection for them because, like us, they are also expressions of the same creative intelligence.