An excerpt from "What is Self-Esteem? A Psychologist Explains" by Courtney E. Ackerman
Besides clinical interventions, there are also things people can do on their own to boost their self-esteem. One of these methods is meditation—yes, you can add yet another benefit of meditation to the list! However, not only can we develop self-esteem through meditation, we also gain some other important benefits.
When we meditate, we cultivate our ability to let go and to keep our thoughts and feelings in perspective. We learn to simply observe instead of actively participate in every little experience that pops into our head. In other words, we are “loosening the grip we have on our sense of self” (Puddicombe, 2015).
While this may sound counterintuitive to developing and maintaining a positive sense of self, it is actually a great way to approach it. Through meditation, we gain the ability to become aware of our inner experiences without over-identifying with them, letting our thoughts pass by without judgment or a strong emotional response.
As meditation expert Andy Puddicombe notes, low self-esteem can be understood as the result of over-identification with the self. When we get overly wrapped up in our sense of self, whether that occurs with a focus on the positive (I’m the BEST) or the negative (I’m the WORST), we place too much importance on it. We may even get obsessive about the self, going over every little word, thought, or feeling that enters our mind.
A regular meditation practice can boost your self-esteem by helping you to let go of your preoccupation with your self, freeing you from being controlled by the thoughts and feelings your self-experiences. When you have the ability to step back and observe a disturbing or self-deprecating thought, it suddenly doesn’t have as much power over you as it used to; this deidentification with the negative thoughts you have about yourself results in less negative talk over time and freedom from your overly critical inner voice (Puddicombe, 2015).