The Happiness Connection  

Create your own self-esteem

When I was growing up, complaining about my shoes, or clothes, got very little sympathy from my parents.

I was told to be thankful that I had clothes at all. Who was looking at me anyway?

This was typical of the parenting style of the time.

Things have changed. The 1970s saw the beginning of a self-esteem movement that has continued to gain traction.

It brought attention to the importance of valuing yourself and having a strong sense of self-worth.

Low self-esteem is linked to a plethora of issues such as depression, eating disorders, and being afraid to take risks.

As with any topic that involves the human psyche, it is a complex conversation. It isn’t possible to cover all the hidden depths of developing self-esteem, so I am choosing to keep this simple.

How you feel about yourself seeps into every area of your life. It can manifest itself in all sorts of different ways. Here are a few signs that your self-esteem is suffering.

  • Sensitivity to criticism
  • Focuses on imperfections in themselves and others
  • Negative self-talk
  • Is afraid to try new things or chase after dreams
  • Has difficulty saying no
  • Indecisive
  • Judgmental
  • Exhibits rebellious behaviour
  • Exaggerates their life when talking to others

Recognizing the symptoms is the easy part. The challenge is doing something about them.

Use the following principles as your guide.

  • Belief comes from experience
  • Self-care is imperative
  • Do no harm

In its simplest terms, you want to love and accept yourself for who you are today. That doesn’t mean you don’t want to continue to grow and learn.

It isn’t about settling, it is about loving the you that exists today. Tomorrow you should love the you that exists on that day.

Hopefully you are constantly working to be a better version of yourself, but you concentrate on what exists today.

The you that lives today is exactly who you should be right now.

It means that you believe you are worth loving, regardless of what you look like, the mistakes you’ve made, or how much you still hope to accomplish.

If you haven’t been doing the work to grow and learn, you want to love yourself anyway. Don’t look to others to tell you whether you are lovable. You decide and you do the loving.

I have been working on my self-esteem for a while now. Let me share what has helped me the most.

Love and accept yourself

My biggest challenge has been banishing an ancient and well-hidden belief that women should look like Twiggy. My skeleton doesn’t look like Twiggy did in the ‘60s. I was too young to realize I was being affected by magazines and society, but I was.

You may have a different part of yourself that you struggle to accept. It makes no difference. It all stems from the same place.

I started by putting post-it notes on every mirror in my house. They said, “I love you.” Every time I saw one, I looked into my eyes and said, “I love you” at least three times.

It’s nice if other people love you, but the person that really counts is you.

After a while, I escalated this action, so I would say it to the reflection of my naked body before I got dressed and undressed every day.

Forgive yourself and others

This is one of the most powerful exercises you can do. I’ve used this successfully to deal with feelings of shame when I’ve made decisions that didn’t work out the way I had expected.

Instead of berating myself, I write myself a letter of forgiveness. This works equally well when other people or influences are involved.

If you had a parent or sibling who said unkind things that affected you, forgive them. You don’t have to give them the letters. I burn mine to release the feelings into the atmosphere.

Be grateful

Instead of looking for flaws, be grateful.

In the case of my poor body image, I concentrate on the fact I am healthy, have given birth to two healthy children, and can do pretty much anything I want because of my body.

I aim for health over perceived physical beauty.

Be grateful for you, not a version of you that doesn’t exist.

Step way out of your comfort zone

Creating new beliefs comes from having experiences that support them. Do something that you may not be successful with the first time. This gives you a chance to prove to yourself that you can get up when you fall, and that success takes effort.

Write letters of forgiveness and practice gratitude as you work toward your goal. Don’t give up. Keep going until you succeed and then celebrate your success.

Limit the amount of time you spend around people and situations that make you feel bad

If you want to raise your vibration to a level of self-appreciation, stop spending time with low vibration friends. At the very least, reduce the amount of time you are in their energy.

Raising your self-esteem isn’t easy. Even when you think you have managed; you are likely to find more doubt and worry lurking in layers you hadn’t noticed before.

Like anything, learning to love, value, and believe in yourself is a process. Be quick to forgive and find reasons to be grateful.

If you struggle to do this alone, reach out to a professional. Find someone you trust and who you feel a connection with.

Knowing there is someone who believes in you, even when you have trouble believing in yourself can make all the difference to how quickly you progress.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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