If you were on the call this evening with Jenny and I, you hopefully gained some great information about self esteem and how it effects other parts of our lives. There was also some background about me and how I've become passionate about empowering others to attain their best self esteem as well as how I've come to have my own healthy sense of self worth.
As promised, I'm posting the list of action steps I have come up with to assist you in attaining healthier self esteem and to be on the road to your best life. I can't emphasize enough that how we feel about ourselves is foundational for your true happiness. I'm also including in this post how I define self-esteem.
What is self esteem?
In a basic definition, self esteem is how we feel about ourselves. That we understand and accept that we are unique, special and worthy human beings just for being born. But there is a foundation to our individual self esteem that needs to be thought about and reflected upon before we can really evaluate our self esteem and then try to take the necessary action to improve it. Here I have outlined three foundational guidelines:
1. Ask yourself the following questions:
What am I committed to? What do I believe in? What is important to me? This will tell you your values. The list may be long and if you want, you can star or number them in order of importance to you. Once you have made this list, go back and ask yourself if you are living up to these values. Be careful here, make sure these are YOUR values, not things that you think you SHOULD value. For instance, for me, one of my values is giving back and making a difference. Once I starting truly living this way and honoring this, my self esteem skyrocketed! It was like I starting living with integrity from my soul.
2. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do the best you can with what you have, where you are”. I think this helps when we compare ourselves to others. Sometimes I get hung up about the plans I had 10 years ago for myself, that it’s not where I am today. But remembering that as long as I do the best I can with the current tools I’ve accumulated, there is really no possible way things could be different and it truly is the best for me.
3. Listen to your intuition. If something in your gut is telling you something about your life that makes you uncomfortable, I can almost guarantee that it is negatively effecting your self esteem. I wish I would have listened to mine a few times when it was not just whispering, but screaming in my ear. My self esteem suffered greatly during those times. This goes for resting too. So many of us, go, go, go constantly, never taking the time to honor ourselves with rest.
I encourage you to spend some time with this list and really think about your answers. Get out paper and pen or pull up a Word document and get to work. Be prepared to maybe become emotional as you think about and document your answers. Be honest with yourself.
1. Recognize your level of self esteem.
2. Write down ways that you think your self esteem has affected other parts of your life.
3. Reflect on times in your life when your self esteem was good and healthy.
4. Take inventory of people in your life that may be affecting your self esteem negatively, other than yourself.
5. Take inventory of the people in your life who have effected your self esteem in a positive way.
6. Define what being beautiful means and looks like to you.
7. Make a list of 100 things you love about yourself.
8. Make a list of positive affirmations about your self esteem.
I am beautiful in mind, beautiful in body, beautiful in spirit.
I am a unique and worthy person. I require no more justification than that to be exactly who I am.
Those that told me I was unworthy were wrong. I AM worthy. More sure of it today than ever before.
My beauty flows from inside to out. As I recognize my inner beauty, my outer beauty blossoms.
I am making peace with my body. I accept its flaws, celebrate its beauty, and work to improve what I want to change.
I am an immaculate being of light; perfect in form and function.
We didn't have time to get into body image during the call, but I think that it's integral when talking about self esteem, especially for women. This next part focuses on body image and how it’s connection with our self esteem. Studies show that often, perception of our bodies goes hand in hand with self esteem and self worth, playing a powerful role in how you see yourself as a whole person.
9. Make a timeline of certain beauty milestones in your life. You may need to look at old pictures to try and jog your memory.This exercise is to get you thinking critically about how your self esteem was shaped. I want you to try and remember the following times: First time you remember a friend or relative whose appearance inspired you growing up. First time you remember receiving a compliment about the way you look or act. The most critical comment you ever received. The first time you felt proud of the way you looked. When you first started to worry about the way you look. Go back and try to recall how you felt during these times. Was it easier to remember the first critical comment than the compliments? If you would like to take this exercise further, create a visual timeline by adding pictures like your favorite baby picture of yourself, you in your favorite outfit, your all time favorite picture of yourself, no matter how old it is.
I'll close with this: It's been my experience that self esteem is effected by this unending pressure and quest for perfection. A wise friend told me “Perfectionism is negative self-talk disguised as something positive. It is a greedy master that demands more energy than it yields results.”