Feeding Your Self-Esteem

In about 70% of the clients I see, they voice that they would like to improve their self-esteem. They report that they don’t like themselves and they have trouble identifying what is unique or special about them. Since my entire career has revolved around the study of people, I can easily understand how difficult it is for my clients to identify what “stands out” about them.

Good self-esteem is not about excelling. It is about knowing who you are, appreciating your personality, and loving yourself as a human being. If you have good self-esteem, you will make it through the tough times and be able to recover from the trials and tribulations of life.

We live in a very competitive, critical society, and there is much emphasis placed on comparing yourself to others.
• If your child is having trouble in school or sports, do you secretly wish that you had it as easy as the Jones’—after all, their children are making the grades and excelling in sports?
• If you work on a unit in a hospital, do you face the constant pressure of reducing utilization rates and to do more for less? Are you on a mission to compete with the rest of the hospital?
• If you have a small business, do you create self-induced pressure to measure up to your competitors in sales?

To combat these pressures, it’s important to do the following:
The secret of building good self-esteem requires that you know what you like about yourself. In past columns, I have asked you to identify 25 personality strengths that you possess. Loyalty, creativity, spirituality, persistence might be a few of those traits. We live in a world that bashes people. As we watch today’s current events we are inundated with political parties bashing each other. We observe people belittling the President to make their point. We watch judges on reality TV demean the contestants in front of millions of viewers. We experience bosses and administrators blaming employees for not pulling the company out of financial ruin.
To neutralize this societal trend and to preserve your self-esteem, it is important to remind yourself daily of your own self-worth.

A person with good self-esteem knows instinctively what their character strengths are and uses affirmations daily to feed their soul. As you drive the kids to school or yourself to work, take time to have that personal conversation that resembles a pep talk. I actually refer to it as “self-parenting”. Nurture yourself as if you would a small child with encouraging statements that imply a sense of confidence. Use statements like:

–If you need confidence, “you can do it!”
–If you are down on yourself, “you’re a child of God and God doesn’t make mistakes!”
–If you are shy, “you are loving or humble.”
–If you are uncertain about yourself, “it’s okay not to be absolutely sure of something. Life is trial and error and at least you have the courage to try.”

Use these statements to speak to yourself like this regularly. It boosts self-esteem and replenishes positive messages you need to combat the negativity you hear or fear.

As a child, your self-esteem was typically contingent on the messages you got from your family. As an adult, your self-esteem is dependent on you. You must feed it positive thoughts to increase your sense of self-worth. Knowing, appreciating, and loving yourself ensures good self-esteem.

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