GROWING YOUR SELF ESTEEM
Most of the time, when a man or a woman looks into the mirror they see the image that is in their mind of themselves, instead of what is actually reflected back.
How do we get better? It begins with our habits. How we treat ourselves, talk to ourselves, act, associate with, and, in general, see ourselves.When it's one-on-one, us talking to us, what do we really believe about who we are, and how we fit into the world in which we live.
To grow our self-image, we must start with the belief that we do matter. We do belong. We are truly worthy. In his book Real Magic, Dr. Wayne Dyer said:
"Align yourself so the universal force of energy is some- thing you can know intimately and use for life, even if no one around you knows what you are doing or believes in what you are talking about when you speak of miracles. Simply open yourself to a new inner belief system that says 'Maybe, just maybe, this is a possibility for me."
TALK YOURSELF UP
"Happiness depends upon the quality of your thoughts."
~ Marcus Aurelius Roman Emperor~
In his book 10 Seeds of Greatness, Dr. Denis Waitley talks about the power of self-talk. He says: "You are your most important critic. There is no opinion so vitally important to your well being as the opinion you have of yourself. And the most important meetings, briefings and conversations you'll ever have are the conversations you will have with you."
We are all talking to ourselves every moment of our lives, except during a short portion of the sleep cycle. It comes automatically. We are not even aware that we are doing it. We have a non-stop commentary running in our heads.
Emerging research shows indelible links between what we are saying to ourselves and what we accomplish. According to Dr. Pamela Butler, author of Talking To Yourself, "Your behavior, your feelings, your sense of self esteem and even your level of stress are influenced by your inner speech." Butler continues, "Everything we do is first created by our self-talk. Self talk shapes our inner attitudes, our attitudes shape our behavior, and, of course, our behavior, what we do, shapes our accomplishments."
So, if you tell yourself you are a winner, an achiever, then, for sure, you are much more likely to succeed than the person who talks themselves down. Psychologist Shad Helmstetter, author of What You Say When You Talk To Yourself, states: "What we put into our brains is what we will get out." Garbage in-garbage out positive in-positive out.
Thus, the number one rule for developing a healthy self-esteem is: Say nice things to yourself. Accept the fact that the most important opinion about you is the one that you hold. Ultimately, nobody else is responsible for your self-esteem. Nobody else is accountable for your actions but you. Therefore, nobody's opinion about you is more important than yours.
HOW DO YOU TALK TO YOURSELF?
"We have found the enemy and it is us." Pogo
Do you ever catch yourself saying things like: "Ugh, clumsy me. I messed up again." Or, "Wouldn't you know it, bad things always happen to me." How about "I can't do anything right."
I have some good news! Researcher Gail Dusa says it's easy to change our self-talk. The key is "to reprogram our minds for success. We have a choice each time we think to be positive or negative." Many of us don't believe this, but it is true . We choose whether to program ourselves for positive, successful days, or negative downer days. It is a choice. And here's more good news. No matter how many times you have let circumstances ruin your day or set your attitude, it's never too late to decide to change that. Start today. Choose to speak highly to yourself.
For example, perhaps you catch yourself saying something like "I'm always late," or "I'm not good at remembering names." Take action. Stop your inner talk and correct it. Replace those thoughts with "No, I used to be late, but now I am on time." And "I am getting better with names everyday." What we say is what we get; what we believe is what we become. The more you change your self-talk, the healthier self-esteem you build.
A great way to think about this process is what I call cut and splice. When they shoot TV shows and movies on film, they use this process. They shoot hours and hours of footage and then edit it all down to the finished product. First, they cut out what they don't want, then the editor fast forward and splice in the next scene.
Well, you can use the same process. When a negative, derogatory message crosses the movie screen called your brain, just say, "cut." Then, imagine you are going to edit that out and say, "splice." You then can drop in the more positive, constructive message and be on your way. Practice this simple mental exercise. The more you use it, the less you'll have to edit. It takes time, but it is worth it.
We grow up in imperfect situations with mostly well meaning but imperfect parents, teachers trying to do their best in crowded classrooms, the influence of friends trying to find themselves, relatives who have their own problems and blemishes, and in neighborhoods that don't support becoming all that a person can become. Through it all, we develop limiting beliefs, attitudes, and habits of behaviors that severely limit what we can accomplish. Most people know that they have more to offer, yet many feel lost and unable to contribute like they would like to. All too often they resort to playing the victim and do not take responsibility for where they are in their lives.
Understand that you had little control of your life until now. Today is the moment of decision. The life you live today is a result of your choices in the past. The life you live tomorrow is a result of the decisions you make and actions you take today. Decide today that you need to let go of old beliefs and ineffective conditioning of the past by learning new things, developing new habits, and changing into a new person. Make little changes each day and over time you will make a huge difference in how you really feel about Y-O-U.
Make a habit of having daily conversations with yourself that are supportive and reinforcing. We appreciate when someone praises us, rewards us, or is happy to see us. Well, then, talk to yourself in the same respectful way and you will strengthen your self-esteem tremendously. It all begins right here, from the inside out.
And when you mess up, forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, yet the key to growing stronger is to strive to be better, while accepting our imperfection. The American Psychological Association report that reaching for sky-high standards does not make people anxious and stressed out. Troubles begin when a persons self worth hinges on perfection. Those most invested in appearing perfect set themselves up for shame and inferiority, which, according to Gordon Flett of York University "fuels shame, depression and stress."
EIGHT STEPS TO A HEALTHY SELF IMAGE
A strong self-image improves how you feel about yourself, add value to all of your loved ones and increase the enjoyment of your life's endeavors. These eight steps will prepare you for a life-long journey of abundance.
First-Acknowledge that Perfection is not Possible
No one is perfect. Accept this fact and feel less out of
sorts. If imperfection is okay, then we're not so bad
Second- Learn From your Mistakes as you Go
We all make them. The key is to learn so we don't make the same ones over and over.
Failure is just fertilizer for success.
Third-Forgive Yourself and Move On
Don't beat yourself mentally over shortcomings. Say something like: "That's not like me," and move on. There is no sense chastising yourself for something that already happened. Self-inflicted guilt only raises feelings of inferiority.
Fourth- Offset a MIS-take with a RE-take
A simple little pep talk like: "Next time, I'll know to do it this way instead of that way." If the situation allows for it, un-do your error right then and there. On T.V. and in the movies, they call it a re-take. Well, if they can do a re-take, you can, too! Tell yourself: "Oops, take two.," then make the correction.
Fifth- Uplift Yourself
Every time you uplift yourself, you reinforce your positive self-image. You fortify your belief that you are good. You are capable of greatness. Even though you are human, you are worthy of true success.
Sixth- Become Your Own Best Friend
Discover the power of talking yourself up. Reward yourself with a little pat on the back for a job well done. Celebrating the little victories counteracts the little slip-ups in your self-image-building efforts.
Seventh- Believe in You
Speak highly of yourself. Not in a boastful way, but in a positive, self-confident manner. Act in a confident manner. Expect good to come from all situations.
Eighth- Associate with those who build you up
You cannot afford to constantly be undermined by those whose comments or influences drag or keep you down. It becomes one step forward, two steps back. You must either correct those people, telling them you expect only uplifting comments, or get away from them.
In closing, may I suggest that you promise yourself to do what it takes to improve your self-image and increase your self-worth?
To engage in positive, uplifting
self talk at all times.
To be so strong that nothing can
disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.
To make your friends feel that there is
something special in each one of them.
To think only of the best, to work only
for the best and expect the very best.
To be as enthusiastic about the success
of others as you are about your own.
To forget past mistakes and focus on
greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all
times, smiling from the inside out.
To commit yourself to self-improvement,
so there's no time to criticize others.
To, above all else,
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF