“Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters.”– Dan Coppersmith
Self-Esteem? Who has time to think about that? This is exactly the point. We hit the floor spinning on over-drive: One foot in the bathroom and the other out the door. Just what is self-esteem and why should we care?
Quality of life is everything. The busier we are contributing to ourselves, others, and our world around us, we typically come closer to a healthy, confident self-esteem. For those of us in or around recovery, a rich self-esteem can be more difficult to achieve. What does it take to get it? How would I know when I have it?
At Mind.org, they list several reasons why our self-esteem may suffer. They suggest you may feel:
- like you hate or dislike yourself
- worthless or not good enough
- unable to make decisions or assert yourself
- like no one likes you
- you blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault
Here are Five Suggestions for a Healthy and Confident Self-Esteem
1, ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES ASSERTIVELY
It’s true. Everyone we know has some boundaries to speak of. However, chances are we don’t know many people who have developed boundaries with their own best interests in mind or can execute them with confidence. Oh sure, we make concessions with our spouse and children but, more often than not, we give in because it makes others happy, or just to keep the peace. We sometimes hear, “Oh, I don’t like conflict,” or, “It is just easier to go with the program.”
You deserve to decline, pass, or say no when your heart tells you it is not in your best interest. Oh yes, your answer must be your truth and yours alone and not said to accommodate our spouse, our parents, children ad-infinitum. WE DESERVE to set boundaries that help to preserve our mental, emotional, and spiritual health, regardless how someone else feels about our answer. YOU are responsible for your answer for without your truth, you will always be swinging by a thread to the desires of others. All this produces are feelings of unhappiness, denial, and unimportance. As you begin small over unimportant issues, your will notice your self-esteem increase in proportion to your truth. Soon, you will begin to feel equal to others because your opinion and needs matter too.
2. BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
So many of us have spent a lifetime berating ourselves for every, “should have,” “could have,” missed opportunities, and shortcomings. We have been angry and disappointed for so long, many of us aren’t even sure we know where, or how, to begin to show ourselves compassion.
Perfectionism is a myth. We were never supposed to be perfect! As we begin to breathe easier, we allow ourselves room to make mistakes. Mistakes are normal and never reflect a deficiency on our part. By not spinning wheels in an effort to be perfect, we leave room for us and others to not take each other so seriously!
1. H.A.L.T. Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. These four words are our first clue that it may be time to be gentle and to take of you. Whenever we are out of balance, there is high likelihood one or more of these four are engaged in pushing our emotional buttons. We become gentle with ourselves when we honor these four with loving kindness.
- We may need to eat when we’re hungry. Sometimes detachment is enough to alleviate impending or moderate anger.
- Anger can erupt immediately, but if we’re aware we can STOP and redirect the situation ahead of time, before our emotions get out of control.
- Asking for hugs, talking to a good friend or family member can be helpful for loneliness. Becoming comfortable spending time with ourselves alone, can go far to help discern the difference between being lonely, or just alone.
- As we observe our bodies needs, we are attuned to a strength that wanes, eyes that water, yawns and a general tiredness that signals it’s time to rest.
3. NEVER USE WORDS AGAINST YOURSELF OR OTHERS
This is the single-most damaging thing we can do to ourselves emotionally. Because what we think transforms our actions! It is important that don’t use demeaning hurtful words against ourselves. It is old behavior filled with untruths. We are the living embodiment of a loving Creator and deserve to treat ourselves with respect and gentleness. We are what we tell ourselves we are.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF BEFORE YOU MAKE DECISIONS
For those of us in recovery, we hear much about listening for an answer from our Divine. As we develop a stronger more reliable self-esteem, we will begin to feel the confidence that comes from relying upon our intuition. One of our Ninth Step Promises reminds us, “We will intuitively know what to do in situations that used to baffle us.”
5. BECOME A PERSON OF INTEGRITY!
I’ve heard it said if we want to be estimable, then we have to do estimable acts for ourselves and others. What baby-steps can you take today to begin growing closer to that person with integrity? Being honest with our intentions and actions is everything. It is the only visual the word gets to see of us, and decisions are made in an instant as to whether or not we meet the criteria.
Integrity can begin with three little questions: Is it honest? Is it necessary? Is it kind? What estimable acts speak to you personally?
We have the power to elevate our own goodness and change into the person we want to become.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
On a piece of paper make two columns: The left side should say something like, “What Do I Do for Me That I LOVE? And the right side, draw another straight line for two columns: Across the top Header put: “Do I deserve this?” Each of the smaller columns gets a yes or no answer. It might look something like this:
What I do for ME that I Enjoy!
DO I DESERVE THIS? Yes! No! Not much because there is no time for me no Clean on the weekends no Stay at home while hubby and girls go skating yes
This is one way to see where your life is going, or not; while giving you permission to determine whether you deserve to do whatever it is. Don’t hold back! Anything and everything that you take pleasure in counts. If you deserve to do what you love, then you deserve to find time in your schedule to discover what it is and consider doing it. It all begins with naming it, claiming it and then making it real!
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