Just like a car needs an engine each us has what I like to call an “Esteem Engine”. Our Esteem engine is what powers our Self Esteem. When our Esteem Engine is running well we have lots of Self Esteem and can cruise through life smoothly and handle the hills and the bumps of life with ease. Yet if our Esteem Engine is not running well our Self Esteem will be low and life can be hard and heavy going and even the smallest hill, or stretch of bumpy road, can seem like too much.
We can take this analogy further as our Esteem Engine is a similar to a car engine in some ways. Like a car engine our Esteem Engine has a number of cylinders (metaphorically) where the power is developed. If one of the cylinders in a car engine goes faulty, not only is there a loss of power, there is also a loss of balance in the engine. The car engine can then become wobbly and unstable which can cause sudden unexpected surges of power, and the car leaps forward; or it can cause unexpected loss of power and the car slows down.
Of course, people can become wobbly and unstable too and for similar reasons. The human equivalent of the cylinders in a car engine are our capacities for Self Confidence, Self Worth, and Self Respect. If one of those is not running well not only will we lose power in the form of lower Self Esteem, and our Esteem Engine will be out of balance.
When our Esteem Engine is out of balance we can get unexpected loss of Self Esteem. We can be going along just fine and then a challenge come along (someone make a comment we don’t like, or we have a setback) and rather than being able to just tootle along through it we find that it slows us down, or it brings us to a dead stop.
Once when our family car engine was faulty my dad would have to go the long way around to get to where we were going as the car could not manage steep hills. Lack of power from our Esteem Engine has similar effects. We can get into the habit of avoiding certain people, or situations, as they seem like too much for us to handle. However, this is not necessarily true. Once we learn how to fix our Esteem Engine we can raise our Self Esteem level and everything in life gets a whole lot easier. What was once impossible for us then becomes normal.
Some problems in life are not caused by lack of skill or knowledge, but by lack of power. Other problems in life are caused by not having the sense of balance which allows us to apply the power we have smoothly and in a way which works for that situation.
If we have low Self Esteem due to our Esteem Engine being out of balance it can be tempting to try and power our way through challenges by doing more of what we do already. We may have a lot of Self Confidence and try and compensate for lack of Self Worth by being even more confident. But this is like revving up an out-of-balance car engine. It makes a lot of noise and can make things worse. It is better to address our imbalance in Self Worth and then we will have more Self Esteem which will allow us to move forward more effectively and more gracefully.