Posted by: Monkey | February 17, 2014

The struggle of self-esteem

I have been meaning to, and said I would, write an entry for quite a while now and just haven’t gotten around to it. I haven’t been quite sure what to write yet and so much has happened that I haven’t really wanted to write retrospectively.

This isn’t going to be a blog about my current physical journey through the USA, that will be coming shortly… no, this is about my introspective journey through the layers of myself.

There is something I have been reflecting on lately and that is the phenomena of confidence and self-esteem. What sparked off this internal inquiry was a comment made to me over dinner with new friends while in Houston. One of them made a comment about sitting with two alpha males to which I paused and asked if he was referring to me? His reply was disbelief that I wasn’t aware of it which had me look inside with a big question mark.

Sure, I’m aware of a new-found comfort, ease and confidence that I manage to embody at times yet I never thought of myself as an alpha male. My background has been of a shy, passive and reserved boy growing up. I was bullied all through school, I suffered rejection after rejection by the women I liked and struggled with making friends and even some of my closest friends would tease and ridicule me at times. My self-esteem and confidence started from almost non-existent. I contemplated suicide often, wondered what was the point of living if it was going to be this damn hard and painful. Eventually I turned to drugs to escape into a world of numb fantasy… which went on for years.

Over time I’ve looked really hard at all of these factors, and continue to look at them, that had me show up in the world in this particular way. I’ve learnt not to blame the outside world for putting something on me and instead claim my own responsibility by deciding that whatever the world reflected to me must surely be happening inside of me first. From that perspective I have, step after painful step, managed to step into more of my own power which seems to show up as confidence and an assuredness about myself.

ama-dablamBy no means am I done in this process and there is so much room for growth that reflecting on it is sometimes as daunting as it would be to stand at the base of the himalayas looking up at Mt. Everest saying “I’m climbing THAT???”… but what else is there to do in this life? I believe, fully, in the possibility of living an absolutely extra-ordinary life. I believe it’s possible to have what we want if we can get really clear and honest about it and then do whatever work is required to get there. It may take a while yet the payoffs seem to be worth it.

The interesting thing about this is to then look at some of those people who seem to have it made. Who naturally exude confidence and charm, for who life seems really easy and everything just works. They have the looks, the intelligence, the positive attitude, the natural skills and it all just ‘works’.

Some people actually were raised into this, this is the way they have experienced life and confidence was the hand they were dealt. I was exploring this with a new friend who is exactly like this. Confident, outgoing, successful in many ventures, a model, a solid rock climber, gorgeous girlfriend, positive ‘can-do’ attitude… life is good for him, and this has been his reality for as long as he has known. This is not to detract from the fact he works hard for everything he wants, he actually does work really hard and is disciplined. It’s the frame of his reality versus someone like mine. Raised with confidence and a positive attitude, the universe has felt good to him… a safe place that provides all he needs.

On the other hand for me growing up the universe seemed cruel and pushed against me. I have struggled so fucking hard to even learn to appreciate and love… to open into and forgive a world that seemed only to torment and hurt me has been difficult to say the least.

It could be easy to resent and envy the people that have had an easier time in life, and I have done so… a lot… and I’m also seeing that to do so is to just keep perpetuating the energetics inherent in my painful life experiences.

The opportunity is to, instead, embrace and be grateful for the entirely unique experience of being me. This was what I was given in life and I have the ability to make art out of it.

Self-esteem can be grown and while it may be an intense struggle for some of us, those of us who manage to move upstream against that torrent of hurt and pain our growth comes with a resilience and strength that cannot ever be denied.

So for any of you who are hurting, doubting and struggling right now… remember you aren’t alone in this and in some ways this is our gift to uniquely experience what it takes to transform pain into love.

Over and over and over and over again.





  1. A really excellent, excellent post and well worth waiting for. Thank you. I had much the same experience as you growing up / in school, but the female version 😉 …and likewise, people have a hard time believing that now.

  2. Yes, having the doubts, struggles in life is one of the issues most of us do have. I believe that self esteem is like life journey that we need to conquer every now and then because self esteem as you have said is something that needs to build not just for one time but all the time. It is part of life that we need to overcome.

  3. Lara and Carmen, thank you for your comments 🙂

  4. I love it when you’re going through the journey and in the midst of a storm you stumble upon a beautiful answer such as this and it speaks volumes to you. Almost like there is someone listening to your thoughts and sending you exactly what you need! Thank you so much for writing this good medicine 🙂

  5. You are so welcome Sammy.
    Thanks for commenting!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this, Damien! Your honesty touches me. I fought similar battles and turned to drugs and alcohol to feel better. A couple of years ago I discovered yoga and meditation and these practices somehow made my numb body and mind slowly feel again. It is just as you say: you yourself project the world around you! It is a process that never ends, but I am so happy and grateful for finally being able to see this!

  7. first time i read ur blog ……………..greattttttttttt ty

  8. Great piece. Thanks for your honesty, it’s refreshing.

  9. Nice article and good read. For me its all about discipline.

    If you want the discipline needed to be healthy, ripped and successful, check out THE PATH TO WILLPOWER, at;

  10. Thanks for putting up this blog. It speaks to me. When I first read an entry, I thought: “I recognize this voice. It sounds like mine.”

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