When it comes to self esteem and confidence we are so often told what not to do – don’t compare yourself to others, don’t aspire to be someone else or have their life – yet no one really tells us how to build healthy self esteem for ourselves. With this I am hoping to help you to look inside yourself, at your own emotional experience, your own values, opinions and ideas, and build your own happiness and self esteem from within. Seek ways to grow, change, nurture and improve within yourself.
What I do want to talk about is just some of the concepts and strategies that I have used to help me heal from depression and anxiety, buffer my self esteem from the shade and cruel attacks of cyber bullies, and to help me love and accept the me that is both a masterpiece and a work in progress. I want to share with you some ideas that will help you create a life of authentic health, happiness and harmony for yourself.
CHERISH YOUR BODY MIND AND SOUL.
Be good to yourself and nurture every part of you. Find balance in your life, eat nutritiously, get enough sleep, socialise, work hard, honour your family, value your faith. Avoid unhealthy behaviours. Pamper yourself, take time to relax and treat yourself like the special person you are – every single part of you is special, unique and important.
ACCEPT YOURSELF, ACKNOWLEDGE DIVERSITY
We are all as similar as we are different. We all feel, but we can all feel differently in response to the same thing. We all talk, but we may talk different languages. We are all strong and talented, yet we all have different strengths and gifts. Notice how we are similar, and embrace and respect our differences.
BE KIND, BE POSITIVE, BE PROUD
Contract with yourself to ONLY speak nicely of yourself and others. Don’t shame other’s bodies in any way AND DON”T SHAME YOUR OWN BODY. Put-downs, judgements, criticisms aren’t to be tolerated, including any of that negative self talk going on in your head. It can take time to change this habit, considering first of all you have to recognise when you are doing it, and secondly that self-criticism has incorrectly been equated with humility and modesty. You can ask family and friends to let you know if they hear you criticising yourself in any way. Make school lunchtime with friends a “criticism-free” zone. The next thing to do is to practise replacing the negative talk with a compliment or positive talk. One way to increase motivation to change this behaviour is to agree to put a dollar into a jar everytime you put yourself down. You get to retrieve the dollar by finding something nice to say about yourself, your achievements , your qualities, or your values and behaviours. Appreciate what you are capable of doing, acknowledge your creativity, your strengths. Notice all the absolutely amazing things your body can do and feel. Be positive and notice and acknowledge when you feel content, proud or happy just being or doing something. You don’t have to be able to sing well to enjoy singing along in the car to the radio. Don’t rob yourself of the things that make you happy. Make a list of the things about yourself which make you proud of yourself.
SHOW YOUR OWN STYLE
Wear and do the things that make you feel good, whether that is about using makeup, being a tomboy in jeans all the time, wear heels if you want to, stay home on a Saturday night, go out dancing till the early hours,work at McDonalds. Be yourself, not someone else. Please yourself too, not someone else all the time.
Think about the people you admire and write a list of their qualities, personality traits and values that you admire, NOT their appearance or their accomplishments. Look for those qualities, traits and values, in yourself and in the world around you. Seek out those that inspire you by their inner beauty, their curiosity, creativity, passion or positivity. Those that inspire you not to be like them, but rather that inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
BE CURIOUS, BE SAVVY
Feed your thirst for knowledge, question the status quo if you don’t agree or understand. Learn a little, learn a lot. Extend yourself. Seek out positivity. Find affirmations, read inspiring comments, quotes, prose and works which support you in your own unique growth. Avoid those words and people that pressure you or make you feel inadequate.
If you have ever liked the idea of an “inspiration board” or if you currently have one with pictures of your goals, seriously think about updating it with your own pictures that represent these things for you. Spend some time planning your own pictures that really represent the concepts and strategies identified here. Make the real effort to stop using images of others as inspiration. Be your own goals and motivation.
Above all I want you to feel good, find the ways to grow and become the best you that you can be. Love the masterpiece that is already you and nurture the you that is the constant work in progress.
Love and light,