Meditate to Boost Your Self-Esteem

We may all have had times we’ve been put down, undermined, when our belief in ourselves is shaken, questioned or threatened, or when we feel we’re simply not good enough. Such self-doubt can lead to hopelessness, inferiority, even depression. A lack of self-esteem is demeaning and just not an easy feeling.

The Dalai Lama met with a group of western psychotherapists and he asked them what was the most common issue that their patients came to see them about. They were unified in their response: a lack of self-esteem. Apparently the Dalai Lama found this quite hard to believe, as self-esteem is not a known problem in Tibet. We talked to one of his translators, now living with his wife and child in London. Tashi told us that children growing up in Tibet would be welcomed and loved by the whole village, which he found very different to the way children are raised in our more nuclear-oriented family culture.

We watched as an eager young television reporter from CNN asked the Dalai Lama what was the first thing he thought of when he awoke in the morning. We thought that the world’s most famous meditator would say something deeply profound or insightful, something along the lines of vowing to save the world from its own ignorance. Instead, the Dalai Lama simply replied, “Shaping motivation.” He said that we all, including himself, have to be vigilant so that our intentions are focused in the right direction, and how shaping his motivation on a daily basis reminds him to extend loving kindness and compassion to all others. Such motivation takes us beyond ourselves so that we are not limited by a lack of confidence or self-esteem.

There are two very specific ways that meditation can help us to transform a lack of self-esteem into inner confidence, self-acceptance and self-belief.

Firstly, it enables us to meet, greet, and make friends with ourselves. We get to know who we are, and to accept and embrace ourselves just as we are. We soon find that our doubts, insecurities, or fears are really only superficial, as we begin to connect with a deeper place of trust, dignity and self-worth.

Secondly, as we bring acceptance and loving kindness to all aspects of ourselves, we may surprisingly uncover a deeper belief that we do not deserve to be happy, that we do not believe we are good enough—a sort of unconscious built-in self-destruction clause. But we can invite kindness into that self-negation and lack of self-esteem, until such uncertainty dissolves into love.

Meditation awakens us to the interconnection between every one of us, that we are not alone here. Rather, we are each a part of this wondrous planet together and the more we extend ourselves with kindness the less we will be focused on our own limitations. Discovering our inter-connection takes us from a place of self-centeredness to other-centeredness. The Dalai Lama says kindness is his religion. You can read more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World.


Loving Self Meditation

Find a comfortable and upright place to sit. Take a few deep breaths and watch the flow of your breath as it enters and leaves.

Bring your focus to your heart, and as you breathe in feel as if your heart is opening and softening; as you breathe out, release any tension or resistance.

Now bring into your heart either an image of yourself or repeat your name, and hold yourself in your heart, tenderly and gently. Silently repeat, “May I be freed from self-doubt, may I be happy, may all things go well for me.”

Keep breathing into your heart, holding yourself with love, and repeating the words. This will generate a deep loving kindness and appreciation for yourself.

When you are ready, take a deep breath and let it go. Then go about your day with a caring heart and a smile on your lips.



Your Body Speaks Your Mind: A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, to learn how repressed, denied, or ignored thoughts and feelings are linked to specific body parts and illness. Starts September 12 but you can join in and download classes anytime.

Meditation – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, on discovering the greatest friend you could have: meditation. You can join in and download classes anytime. A free introduction on September 20, and a 4-week webinar starting September 27.

See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CDs: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at:



The Best Friend You’ll Ever Have: Meditation
The Simple Secret To Making The Right Decision Every Time
5 Ways to Stay Cool and Be Chilled


Teri P.
Teri P5 years ago

What if, you just don't *like* who you are, and never have??

What if, the reflection of yourself that the world gives back to you, is that you have little value and are not worthy of respect or even common courtesy?

What if that reflection is what you have experienced your entire life??????

Past Member
Christine W5 years ago

Thanks for the tips.

Beverly Morgan
Past Member 5 years ago

I've always had a hard time with low self-esteem, thanks for the help!

Kirsten B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you. And I love your references to what the Dalai Lama says and how he acts. Slipped in the mediation over our holiday, but picking up again now that we are back - starting today.

Past Member
Dolly Navina L5 years ago


Elaya Raja
Elaya Raja5 years ago

Thank you

Barbara Charis
Barbara Charis5 years ago

Annie and you recall feeling love for someone or a pet? This loving feeling, when you close your eyes and direct it to the One who made all living things...will absolutely touch you. You will feel this beautiful loving energy like a very tingling warm electrical charge go through every cell in your body. Just think...I love you. If you want need to give it. If you don't plug a lamp into the socket, it won't light. Just think I love you and let it be. I told a friend to put her arms around herself too and say I love you to the Creator. She tried it every bedtime...and within a short period of time came back and told me that she felt like she was wrapped in a warm cocoon of love.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams5 years ago


devon leonard
Devon Leonard5 years ago

I am ever enjoying the wisdom of the Dalai Lama...... Life is a mysterious adventure in consciousness !!! And an open heart makes it even better....

Anastasia Z.
Anastasia Z5 years ago

interesting ideas, thank you!