“There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson – Quote
I love that quote with the line ‘A mirror that doesn’t matter anymore’. It kind of sums up the result of building your self – esteem. I spent 44 years living with low self- esteem, where the mirror mattered and I really didn’t like what I saw there.
The term ‘Self-Esteem’ refers to a person’s general emotional evaluation of their own worth. It is an attitude and a judgment towards the self, it is all about the stories we create about ourselves.
We’re not born with low self-esteem, but we soon become trapped in a triangle of disempowerment. We begin to identify with the roles of either Victim, Perpetrator (forcing issues) or Noble Rescuer (saving people) or else we’re looking for someone to save us. Have a look at your life right now, which role are you playing? I’ve played all these roles over the years, and the problem is, we begin to identify with them. When I was a victim, life was unfair, it was out of my control, when I was a Perpetrator I found I couldn’t actually control everything, and when I was a Noble Rescuer, I found that if people really wanted to be saved they would do it themselves. I was also looking for a Noble Rescuer, to solve all my problems. I found this disempowering. The only person we can control is ourselves. The only person who can save us is ourselves, we are our own magic wand!
We also become identified with roles of being a parent, or our job, our status, our possessions, our illness etc etc. Problem is, what happens when your children grow up? Or you lose your job or possessions? Does your sense of worth go too? Yes! Who are you without these things? Most of us tie up our self -worth in external things, and this affects our self-esteem, because nothing is permanent.
To maintain low self-esteem, you will have to continue to identify your worth with these types of things, and you will have to constantly judge yourself on this performance. You will need to be critical and have negative self-talk. Knowing this, how do we turn it around and begin to build our self-esteem and tackle the enemy within?
- Become aware of your thoughts (part 1) and choose alternative ones that make you feel good.
- Develop positive self-talk (part 5) if you catch yourself putting yourself down, focus on what you are good at.
- Write down the roles you’ve identified with, awareness is the first step towards changing something.
- Accept responsibility for the part you play, no more blaming, it gives our power away.
- Stop judging yourself, you’re doing the best you can with what you know right now, and when you know better, you’ll do better.
- Don’t tie up your worth in external things. Find out who you really are without these things.
- Find things to like about yourself, and practice doing things that you enjoy.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Be patient with yourself, this takes time. Start creating a new story for yourself, this will build your self-esteem!
Part 8 Managing Stress & Anxiety
Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog email@example.com