- Published on Wednesday, February 27 2013
- Written by Rita Korkounian
Friends, the end of February is near, but have no fear, for National Self-Esteem Month is still here! At least, for a few days longer. Sorry, I got caught up in Awards Season. And Valentine’s Day. And President’s Day. And Groundhog Day. I think I just used up my last excuse... Can I say that my dog ate my homework? Guess that won’t work here either. Anyways, February, is in fact, National Self-Esteem Month! Self-esteem is “a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgement of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.” Did you know that “low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every facet of your life, including your relationships, your job, and health”? Guess you need to put that critical little voice of yours in check, yo!
While I’d love to sit on my high throne and preach, I need a little self-esteem boost too. I’ll confess to being a people-pleaser, always seeking approval and validation from others, and, most importantly, getting my own way. “As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are - what others say is irrelevant.” Thank you, Nic Sheff. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Maybe you needed to hear it too. The truth hurts, but as they say, not knowing the truth hurts more.
I know I’m not alone. We could all use a little help in this department. Here are some ways we can better ourselves and improve our self-esteem!
Exercise: This is scientifically proven to boost your self-confidence and, of course, improve your overall mental and physical health. If you like going to the gym, more power to you. But for those of us who have a fear of all things gym-related, I suggest walking, running, hiking, swimming, or doing some outdoorsy activity. I would also highly recommend Yoga.
Stop Comparing: I could do this All. Friggin. Day. Long. Well, Amy is in medical school. And Sharon makes $200k a year. And Tom and Jane have beautiful babies, a gorgeous home, and expensive cars. And on. And on. And on. First of all, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. Or at least where they water it. You could water your lawn too. So it’s lush, green, and purrrty. Second, “Nothing can hurt our self-esteem more than unfair comparisons. The only person you should be competing against is yourself.” Be content with who you are and where you are in your life. And if there is something you don’t like, take steps to change it. Most importantly, kick that comparison habit to the curb! (Editor's Note: Also, consider that the people of whom you feel envious quite possibly envy YOU for something as well. It's all relative. So who cares?? - Katie M.)
Identifying and Conquering Negative Self-Talk: “I’m not worthy of love.” “I’m a complete failure.” “I’m so stupid.” “No one likes me.” “I’m never going to succeed in life.” “It’s all my fault.” “I can’t handle this.” “I’m fat and ugly.” Sound familiar? So, the first step is to identify these negative thoughts. Write them down, so they are on paper. Then, challenge these thoughts. Do these thoughts hold any truth? Do you have any evidence to support these thoughts? Finally, reframe these thoughts. Here are some examples: “I am worthy of love.” “I made a mistake on my report, but I learned from it. That does not make me a failure.” “Even though it’s tough, I can handle this situation.” “I embrace my curves.” “I am beautiful inside and out.”
Believing In Your Own Worth: “Recognize that means making yourself a priority some of the time. Think of something you want to do and do it. Give yourself permission to say no, ask for what you want, or maneuver into a position to make it happen. Be prepared to tolerate disappointing others for the sake of recognizing that you matter and taking care of yourself.” Also, don’t play yourself down because you don’t want others to feel uncomfortable or insecure. “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking. so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.” P.S. Never settle for less than what you deserve. Appreciate and accept yourself for who you are. You set the standard for how you want to be treated!
Set Realistic Expectations: This is a big one. I grew up on the classic Disney movies including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, etc. I used to believe in fairytales and I had high hopes for my prince charming. If taking a bite out of a poisonous apple meant that Henry Cavillwould kiss me and wake me from my sleep, then I would do it in a heartbeat. Newsflash, Rita, it ain’t a fairytale out there. Actually, far from it. Everything takes hard work, commitment, and dedication. Along with unrealistic beliefs about relationships, comes unrealistic beliefs about life in general. By 30, I want to own a home, be married, have 12 children, a successful career, 5 doctorate degrees, travel the world, be a millionaire, etc. Talk about setting yourself up for failure! Be realistic, set attainable goals, and let go of the idea of perfection.
Explore A Passion: Do something you love! Do you love to sing? Take singing lessons. Cut a demo. Do an open mic night! Maybe you want to learn how to play “Over The Rainbow” on the ukulele? Sign up for lessons via Skype. Set aside some time to practice every week. How about cooking or baking classes? Make a special dinner or dessert for your family or co-workers! Taking up a hobby in general will make you “feel more competent and accomplished.” Also, the less idle time you have, the less over analyzing/over thinking you do. A hobby is also great for finding balance in your life and setting aside a little time for yourself.
Be Grateful: At the end of each day, write down what you are grateful for. Get yourself used to focusing on the positive. Today, I’m thankful for my... health, family, job, dependable car, roof over my head, food on the table, a wonderful support system, money in my savings, etc. It could even be the smallest things -- today I’m grateful for the beautiful weather, chirping birds, blossom trees in my neighborhood, scenic drive, the person who let me go ahead of them in line, the stranger who smiled at me, etc.
Recognize your Accomplishments, Achievements, and Positive Attributes: “Take pride in your abilities and accomplishments. Embrace your positive qualities, assets, and skills.” Make a list of your accomplishments, achievements, and positive attributes. “Read this list often, so you can review and reflect when you’re feeling down and need to renew your confidence.”
I’ll leave you with this, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Dare to be kind, gentle, and unconditionally loving toward yourself... and dare to say, “BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY!”
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