In part two of self-esteem, we can strive to answer the question “Why is it so important to feel good about ourselves?” Aside from the obvious psychological reasons there is a spiritual basis for self-esteem.
First, the mitzvah of ‘Veahavta l’Reiacha Kamocha’ (loving our neighbor as ourselves) is dependent on oheving (loving) ourselves? As this mitzvah is considered the basis or summary of the Torah according to Hillel, Hashem is thereby instructing us to love ourselves as a fundamental precondition to fulfilling all other mitzvot. Only by first loving ourselves are we able to then extrapolate that love and enthusiasm for life to others as well.
Furthermore, the more we cherish ourselves the greater the joy we feel in keeping mitzvot. We are thus more able to utilize our strengths to fulfill our mission in life. It is essential not only to love ourselves but to appreciate our unique talents and strengths that enable us to accomplish our task we were born to fulfill.
Appreciating our talents and G-d-given gifts greatly enhances our Avodat Hashem. Indeed, our physical and spiritual motivation increases according to how good we feel about ourselves and how much we believe we can achieve.
Emuna is not limited to trusting in Hashem but also extends to acknowledging that He trusts us to accomplish our unique purpose and thus enrich the world with G-dliness and be co-partners with Him. We need emuna in ourselves to believe that we have the capability to fulfill the monumental task that Hashem has appointed each of us to do.