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Improve Your Self Esteem

Slide-together : now with cards
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Your self esteem is within your control. It may seem as if other people and events make you feel a certain way about yourself, but really, your emotions belong only to you!

5 Ways to High Self Esteem

Remember Your Personal Power – When your perspective is that other people “make” you feel certain emotions, you put the power over your emotions in their hands. If they have the power to make you feel emotions, then only they have the power to manage those emotions, and you have none. This is not how you want to see things.

Even though you may have an emotion in response to a particular event, the emotion still arises from you. This is a good thing because then you have the power to feel that emotion, listen to what it has to say, and eventually send it on it’s way. You can’t do those things if you have given your personal power to another person.

Change Your Story – Our level of self esteem is often connected to certain events that we responded to in a particular way. Depending on how you responded to the situation your self esteem was either positively or negatively affected. If you can change the “story” you are telling yourself after certain events, your self esteem will not be negatively affected.

For instance – you get cut off while driving in traffic and you feel angry. You then say to yourself, “I’m always being treated rudely. People are always looking to treat me poorly.” Not only do you feel angry, but now you have created a story that says ” I’m not strong enough” or “I’m not good enough.”

But, you can change your story. So, after you get cut off and start to feel angry, you can say “That driver probably wasn’t paying very good attention. Maybe they are late for an important meeting. I remember the last time I was late for a meeting I needed to get to, I might not have been very conscientious either.” Now, instead of making yourself the center of a negative act against you, you have attributed the motivation behind the behavior to the other person, which is where it probably belongs. It’s the same event, but whether you create a negative story or a positive story depends on what you are telling yourself.

Look in the Mirror – You can view everything that happens to you as a reflection of your own life. Instead of seeing negative events as disasters, see them as messages. Ask yourself “What is this telling me about my life?” “What do I need to change?” If you can bring an objective eye to a negative situation, you can find things that you need to adjust, rather than seeing the event as confirmation that you are not good enough or that you are a bad person.

What do you love? – Start a list of things that you love, in other words a “lovelist.” There don’t have to be “things” per se on the list – there can be events, feelings, observations, activities, etc. The object is to write down what you love while you are “struck” by it. As you build your list, look through the items and see what it says about you. Are there patterns? Why do you love certain things? Connecting with what we love is energizing and makes us feel good. Don’t just make the list either – practice the items on your list regularly.

What do you fear? – When you know the things you love, you know what things you should go towards. When you know the things you fear, you also know what things you should go towards, but for a different reason. Self esteem issues seem to gather around things that we fear. Fear can negatively affect the story you are telling yourself. The story feeds your fear, not your growth. Keep an eye out for your fears and you will know where you have to be particularly careful about what story you are creating.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

What do you think? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Patty - Why Not Start Now? October 29, 2009, 4:44 pm

    Hi Amanda – Love it. I think it’s an incredibly important topic. Changing the story really resonates for me. So often we put judgments out there about other people, in an effort to make ourselves right. But I’ve noticed the more people do this, the more judgmental they are towards themselves. And what a number that does on self esteem. Also, there’s another huge story that I see all time, operating at a fairly primitive, unconscious level: the story of “I am not enough.” It’s the orphan story, the abandonment story, one of the original wounds we all have. But one of my favorite authors asks, “When are you going to stop cooperating with the wound?”
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Imagination Quiz =-.

  • Rob October 29, 2009, 11:14 pm

    Thanks Amanda for sharing. I think there is a holistic approach to all of this – not lmited to but including faith, nutrition, friends, family and an honesty with one’s self that leads to a healthy self-esteem. I think the more we can “practice” looking at the glass as half full, the more we reaffirm our self-worth and self-esteem.
    .-= Rob´s last blog ..Self-diagnosis : Autumn OCD =-.

  • Chris Edgar October 30, 2009, 1:44 am

    Thanks for this Amanda — it’s true, I think, noticing how you react to each event in your life is the way to become aware of the lens through which you’re seeing the world, which is the only way we can clear up or change the lens if it’s not working for us.

  • Amanda Linehan October 31, 2009, 11:09 am

    Hi Patty – That’s a good observation – that when we try to make ourselves always “right” we end up putting ourselves down in a way. “I am not enough” – that thought is particularly dangerous, especially since many don’t know that they carry it.

    Hi Rob – Thanks for the comment! Yes, I think a holistic approach to self-esteem is important, because there are many different parts to who we are. You can’t just look at one piece. Hope all is well in Indiana!

    Hi Chris – Noticing and paying attention are powerful actions, especially when we direct them at ourselves!

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