Taken from: 10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem: How to End Self-Doubt, Gain Confidence & Create a Positive Self-image.
By Glenn R. Schiraldi, Ph.D.
Self-esteem is realistic, appreciative opinion of me. Realistic – truth, being accurate, honest, aware of my strengths and weaknesses and in between. Appreciative – good feeling overall about the Person I am, like a friend who cherishes me, despite my faults, appreciates me. Wholesome – conviction I am worthwhile, as much as anyone else, not more so. Intrinsic worth.
Strong motivation to work hard…Establish a firm FOUNDATION: 1) unconditional love, 2) unconditional worth, 3) growth
Unconditional worth – equal, immeasurable, unchanging, intrinsic worth as a person. (NOT earned, not moveable by external forces or opinions, not material things – wealth, status or performance.)
~ When we are sure of my intrinsic worth – I am relieved of the need to compete to establish our worth, less inclined to judge ourselves and compare to others.
~I am secure in my own worth – in me.
~As and adult I need to choose to value my innate worth and capacities (joy, love, creative, etc.)
~ Remember ways my life contributed to the well being of others. I am reminded that no one is worthless.
Externals – outer events and/or circumstances – are NOT my core. Some of my core can be camouflaging, hide my worth and lead me to believe I am defective at my core THIS IS WRONG, Trauma can lead us to feel shattered inside –seek help. ]
~The “culture” we live in does not allow, or encourage people to feel good about us. And, I have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, I won’t buy it.
Unconditional Love Psychologically this requires love for my essential core. (How good parents love their child – precious)
~Love is nourishment to grow, love does not create worth.
~The Worth already exists.
~Love helps me to expand my worth and enjoy the process of growing.
~I always love myself.
~ Each individual person is created with the capacity to love and be loved.
Core of me: need to live well, capacity to love, rational, sacrifice, and persevere, beauty, good decisions. This can be polished and refined at any time or not.
Growth is direction and process, not reaching a specific destination or living, as I want.
~Growing does not change my core worth; it helps experience my worth with greater satisfaction.
~People can attain inner freedom even though their bodies are imprisoned. Nazi Survivor
Includes being sick, disabled, getting older.
~ Patience “Growth takes a long time.” Patience is to trust and never give up on the growth process. Being patient without making angry demands and having “expectations” (for me and/or others) or worrying so in these circumstances growth will not flourish.
~ I usually cannot foresee when or how my effort will come to fruition. Patience
~ Is a bitter plant, but has sweet fruit. I must wait until the evening to wholly see how splendid the day has been.
~“Society” teaches, pushes, forces us to think endlessly, judge, compare, criticize, worry, become obsessed about “faults”, and fight against the Way Life IS. Additionally, changes are demanded, anger when we think we do not get what we think we must/deserve. Fear losing what we “have” (material objects for the most part) and sad when we think we have lost what we “need.”
~Mindfulness teaches me how to release the ordinary mind’s attachments that keep me unhappy, and how to rest in the wise mind. Relief from the crazy making “society.” I have heartfelt attitudes that relate to the world/life and me.
At the core, of mindfulness, there is the “wise mind” and surrounding that is “ordinary mind.” Wise mind is our true happy nature – our core self. (Kind, wise, compassionate, desires happiness for all, good humored, etc.)
~Ordinary mind attaches to swirling racing thoughts, often negative or frantic, and disturbing negative emotions. When I am angry, this means I am caught up in ordinary mind and separated in using wise mind.
~Mindful meditation teaches me to get beneath the scattered thoughts and distressing feeling to rest in peaceful wholeness of wise mind.
~ Acceptance is to take in, welcome, accept what is present (real, factual) and thus to see clearly and with full awareness of good and bad, suffering, and joy, as part of life, and to experience life without battling, insisting that things be different, or immediately trying to change, fix, or get ride of the present distress.
Acceptance does not mean passivity, resignation, or complacency.
Self Acceptance When I accept myself; I experience myself with a welcoming attitude. I am aware of my weaknesses and perhaps become determined to improve so that I might experience myself with even greater pleasure. I also recognize I am not perfect and cannot will myself to immediately become perfect. Accept myself as I am for now. (I would do this as a child, and I can learn to do this with myself.) “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” (Psychologist Carl Rogers)
More than self-acceptance…. acceptance means I welcome the world as it is. I take in all situations and the range of resulting feeling –embarrassment, fear, shame, anger, outrage, disappointment, sadness, rejections, etc. then allow my feelings, whatever they are, to be just as they are. Not act on them. Let go of aversion to negative feelings, I start to feel unafraid to completely feel, what feelings I have. Turn toward the feelings rather than away.
Keep in mind my feelings come and go, I will experience more if I calmly and patiently (as much as possible) what the feelings start and end, and say to me “Whatever I am feeling is okay; it is okay to just feel it.”
Acceptance also means: seeing things as they are, or at least how I see them. When a decision to act (not a reaction) is clear then try acting/taking some stand, keep acceptance in mind, and avoid impulsivity, resistance. Release grip on control – I will gain more confidence in my ability to manage strong emotions.
Experiencing pain or discomfort outside impulse is to avoid or stop, such as a shouting boss or loud radio, many options to lessen my feelings by seeking control in some manner.
Internal pain is different. If I experience a panic attack and tense up and try to fight, the pain increases, seems worse and more out of control. More effective, but difficult to do, is to relax, breathe, let the attack come and acknowledge it and then watch it go, it will pass.
Chronic pain, tensing up, trying to avoid, and fighting mentally increases the level and duration; triggering the “fight or flight” “instinct”.
Just noticing the pain, watching it come and go (if it in fact does go) may help.
Ways to break out of the vicious cycle: Confront it, reject it and leave. If I am thinking or they are saying I am attributing one of these thinking patterns on them – stop, get calm whatever it takes, break, meditate and think the matter through. Write down what you think the other person said and compare to what they say they said, and/or meant. Notify of trigger words. Ultimately despite what others think or say, we can take it, leave it, take a break, and best of all laugh at it, which is most disabling and anger from them may result…be prepared to reason and protect myself.
Attitudes toward suffering:
Those who successfully survive adversity develop a different way to view suffering. Sometimes adversity teaches us that we can endure more than we assumed we could, or it can lead to greater empathy and new purpose, inspiring us to help others. It can also help us to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.
Watching others endure suffering with dignity can help us appreciate the character within others.
Most resilient survivors would not wish to relive the difficult periods in their lives, yet most say they would not trade the past challenges for the lessons they have taught. Rather than wincing or trying to avoid pain, we can learn to courageously turn into the wind of adversity and seek pain’s tutorials.
Optimism: Is not the unrealistic expectation that everything will turn out well – that would be overconfident, which can lead to disappointment and poor performance. Optimism is the attitude that helps us say:
If I try, things are likely to turn out as well as possible.
No matter how bad things get, I can find something to enjoy.
If things do not turn out well in one area, other areas are likely to turn out well.
Bad luck is not permanent, so I can approach things with an open, beginner’s mind.
Strategies to cultivate optimism:
When something does not turn out well, think like an optimist. Optimists live longer and have better mental and physical health. An optimist thinks, “This was a difficult situation” “I do other things well: and Things will likely improve.
When something goes awry, practice the “at least” approach: I lost my home but at least I still have my family, I lost my job, but at least I do not have to tolerate my boss anymore, from this adversity, at least I learned that I can endure great difficulty.
Anticipate and develop a coping plan for difficult situations that could threaten my self-esteem. This is how well trained athletes, warriors, firefighters, etc anticipate stressful situations – rehearse what they will think and do before, during and after encountering a distressing or challenging event.
Principle: We are less likely to be thrown by a difficult situation if we are prepared for it.
Identify a difficult situation that could undermine your self-esteem. This might be something like performing poorly on an important task, failing to meet important personal goals, or encountering a situation that could lead to rejection, mistreatment, or criticism.
Statements that might be useful in coping with difficult situations:
If I stay calm and do my best there is a good chance that I will do well enough. Folks do not notice as much as we think they do.....unless we point it out.
No matter what happens, I will still be a worthwhile person.
This is an opportunity to stretch myself. I will view it as an opportunity.
I am not afraid to risk and fall short, because I know that my worth comes from within, not from my performance.
It will be fun to succeed. If I do not, it will not be the end of the world...I mean REALLY...Bush is trying to do THAT.
I will gain useful experience, even if I fall short of my goal.
I will focus on doing what I can and not worry about how things turn out. Doing one thing is a Success.
I will aim for an excellent job, not for perfection.
During the situation:
When we are unsure of what to do observe – this is the way things are right now. Once I think I have a better assessment of the situation, then I am free to decide what to do – whether to ACT CONSTRUCTIVELY or ALLOW THE SITUATION TO BE AS IT IS WITHOUT RESISTING IT.
Stay calm and focus on the task. (Worries take us off task.)
After the situation:
If things went well –
I did a good job. That went well.
I tried my best and feel satisfied with the outcome.
It is fun to tackle challenges and do well.
If things did not go well –
I am new at this. I will try a different approach next time.
That really was a difficult situation - I have no user guide so I did my best at the time. That is good enough.
That is water under the bridge – and moving too fast to stop and analyze & toxic – let the regulators deal with it.
Everyone makes mistakes – yeah – ME too. The field of law even accepts the concept of mistakes. Not all events have fault in them to be apportioned.
Choose some other good things to say to ME:
Eventually I will figure out how to succeed at this or not....
Even though I am disappointed, I am still a worthwhile person.
Despite the outcome, I have the right to learn from this and try again.
Even though my skills were not adequate for the task, I am a worthwhile person.
This, too, will pass. Time just does that…I cannot stop that force; I don’t even understand it.
I feel satisfaction in knowing that I tried my best.
Okay, so I did not do as well as I wanted to today. Perhaps with rest and more practice I can improve.
Even if people judge me harshly, I can view the situation kindly. They are most likely asses to take care of with BS.
Because of this disappointment I will be especially compassionate toward myself.
A slip is not permanent. Death sentences can be stopped, commuted….because of mistakes of life or death. How often are my slips/mistakes having to do with life or death? Not very often.
Years from now, will this really matter?
Resources for further information:
A scholarly work about he causes and consequences of various levels of self-esteem. The antecedents of Self-Esteem; S. Coopersmith.
Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The new Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. By S.C. Hayes and S. Smith.
Edited by sunshineinmyface, 13 December 2007 - 03:01 AM.