Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 7

November 18, 2014

Self Esteem

Self Esteem

“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 / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com

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Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 6

November 1, 2014

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Previously we’ve discussed how thoughts, visualization, foods, disassociation and self-talk can help lead us out of depression. Now let’s explore mindfulness.

The word ‘Mindful’, means taking heed, or care, being conscious. And the word ‘Conscious’, means being aware and awake.

Most of us are not really aware or awake, we think we are, but we are really running on auto pilot, continuously being in a state of ‘Reaction’ or ‘Resistance’. Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose. Being here and now with our present experiences in a non-judgemental way. Nothing is perceived to be either good or bad. Situations can be thought about in many ways.

‘Reaction’

We are like a boat without oars, being pushed this and that way, as life throws stuff at us. Our reactions are based on thoughts about past experiences, or fearful thoughts of the future. We are rarely present in the now moment, yet that is the only time we have some control.

 ‘Resistance’

Something happens that we don’t like or want, and we set up resistance in our mind to it. When we resist something, our body and mind perceives this as a threat to the natural balance of things. We trigger the stress response and we stop our minds from finding solutions.

 

Tips for being mindful

 

  • When your thoughts go to the past or future, gently bring them into the present moment. Take a few slow deep breaths in and out. Notice your surroundings. Be kind and patient with yourself. Say ‘I’m ok now in this moment’
  • Develop a sense of gratitude. Say ‘I have more than enough’.
  • If you’re feeling angry, sad etc. do not judge the feeling, say ‘Oh here’s comes anger, what brought that on?’ In that mindful moment you have a chance to reflect or react in a different way than you did previously. You will no longer be reacting on auto pilot.
  • Do one thing at a time and be fully present with it. If you’re drinking or eating, taste, smell, notice texture etc. When washing the dishes, feel the suds, see the rainbow colours. In the rain, look at the droplets on a branch, there’s a tiny world reflected there. If walking, notice your feet connecting with the ground, feel the sun, or wind, warmth of your clothes, look at the sky. If with someone, listen carefully to what they say, really look at them, hear them. Be present.
  • If ill, in pain, depressed etc. Listen to your body, what’s it trying to tell you? If you’ve got a headache, ask yourself what was happening in your life prior to that? If you have pain, what is paining you in your life? What emotional conflicts have you not dealt with? What thoughts or emotions do you hold onto that might create pain for you. If you are getting frequent colds etc. your immune system has been weakened by stress, not nurturing yourself etc. Ignore it and other things may happen to draw your attention to where your body feels out of balance. If you’re depressed or feeling low, what are you resisting? What can you not accept? What can you not forgive?

With mindfulness, we can become aware and rest before our body makes us. We can create new meaning in our lives and improve the relationship with ourselves and others.

Part 7 Self- Esteem

Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


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