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 Post subject: Ways to help improve self esteem...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:00 pm 
orange wonder
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My counselor gave me this list in group therapy a few weeks ago and I thought I might share it with all of you, because the basis of this illness is universal low self esteem. So here are a few little challenges to help increase your self esteem...

1. Free yourself from "should've". Live your life on the basis of what is possible for you and what feels right to you instead of what you or others think you "should" do. "Should've" distracts us from identifying and fufilling our own needs, abilities, interests, and personal goals. Find out what you want and what you're good at, value those, and take actions designed to fufill your potential.

2. Respect your own needs. Recognize and take care of your own needs and wants first. Identify what really fulfills you--not just immediate gratifications. Respecting your deeper needs will increase your sense of worth and well-being.

3. Set achievable goals. Establish goals on the basis of what you can realistically achieve, and then work step-by-step to develop your potential. To strive always for perfectionist absolute goals--for example, "Anything less than an A in school is always unacceptable"-- invites stress and failure.

4. Talk to yourself positively. Stop listening to your "cruel inner critic". When you notice that you are doubting or judging yourself, replace such thoughts with self-accepting thoughts, balanced self-assessment and self-supportive diction.

5. Test your reality. Seperate your emotional reactions--your fears and bad feelings--from the reality of your current situation. For example, you may feel stupid, anxious and hopeless about a project, but if you think about it, you may still have the ability and opportunity to accomplish something in it.

6. Experience success. Seek out and put yourself in situations in which the probability of success is high. Look for projects which stretch-but don't overwhelm-your abilities. "Imagine" yourself succeeding. Whatever you accomplish, let yourself acknowledge and experience success and good feelings about it.

7. Take chances. New experiences are learning experiences which can build self-confidence. Expect to make mistakes as part of the process. Don't be disappointed if you don't do it perfectly. feel good about trying something new, making progress, and increasing your potential.

8. Solve problems. Don't avoid problems, and don't moil about them. Face them, and identify ways to solve them or cope with them. If you run away from problems you can solve, you threaten your self-confidence.

9. Make decisions. Practice making and implementing positive decisions flexibly but firmly, and trust yourself to deal with the consequences. When you assert yourself, you enhance your sense of yourself, learn more, and increase your self-confidence.

10. Develop your skills. Know what you can and can't do. Assess the skills you need; learn and practice those.

11. Emphasize your strengths. Focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot. Accept current limitations and live comfortably within them, even as you consider what strengths you might want or need to develop next.

12. Rely on your own opinion of yourself. Entertain feedback from others, but don't rely on their opinions. Depend on your own values in making decisions and deciding how you feeel about yourself and what is right for you to do.

Don't Diet, Live It!

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 Post subject: Re: Ways to help improve self esteem...
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:44 am 
admin goddess from hell
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I think this is something we could all do with exploring:

10 Sources of Low Self-Esteem
By Suzanne Lachmann
December 24, 2013

Self-esteem: what happened while you grew up was not your fault

Last week I wrote about the ways that low self-esteem manifests in women's relationships. This week I will do a very brief overview of the infinite places from which low self-esteem can originate – how your history and primary caregiver relationships shaped your opinion of yourself, how other important external variables contribute. Here is a brief inventory of sources of low self-esteem and how these feelings manifest:

1. Disapproving Authority Figures

If you grew up hearing that whatever you did wasn’t good enough, how are you supposed to grow into an adult with a positive self-image? If you were excessively criticized no matter what you did or how hard you tried, it becomes difficult to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin later. The shame forced on you for perpetually "failing" can feel blindingly painful.

2. Uninvolved/Preoccupied Caregivers

It’s difficult to motivate yourself to want more, strive for more, and imagine that you deserve more when your parents or other primary caregivers didn’t pay attention – as if your greatest achievements weren’t worth noticing.This scenario often results in feeling forgotten, unacknowledged, and unimportant. It can also leave you feeling that you are not accountable to anyone, or you may believe that no one in the here and now is concerned about your whereabouts, when that's actually a carry-over feeling from your painful past. Feeling unrecognized can result in the belief that you are supposed to apologize for your existence.

3. Authority Figures in Conflict

When parents or other caregivers fight or make each other feel badly, children absorb the negative emotions and distrustful situations that have been modeled for them. It's scary, overwhelming, and disorganizing. This experience can also occur when one parent is deeply distraught or acts uncharacteristically around the child. For a child who has been subjected to excessive conflicts between authority figures, it can feel as if he or she has contributed to the fights or to a parent’s painful circumstance. Intense conflicts are experienced as extremely threatening, fear driving, and the child may believe he or she has caused it. This feeling of being “tainted” can be carried into adulthood.

4. Bullying (with Unsupportive Parents)

If you had the support of a relatively safe, responsive, aware family you may have had a better chance at recovering and salvaging your self esteem after having been taunted and bullied as a child. If you already felt unsafe at home and the torture continued outside the home, the overwhelming sense of being lost, abandoned, hopeless, and filled with self-loathing pervaded your everyday ife. It can also feel like anyone who befriends you is doing you a favor, because you see yourself as so damaged. Or you may think that anyone involved in your life must be predatory and not to be trusted. Without a supportive home life, the effects of bullying can be magnified and miserably erode quality of life.

5. Bullying (with Over-Supportive Parents)

Conversely, if your parents were overly and indiscriminately supportive, it can also leave you feeling unprepared for the cruel world. Without initial cause to develop a thick outer layer, it can feel challenging and even shameful to view yourself as unable to withstand the challenges of life outside the home. From this perspective, you may feel ill prepared and deeply ashamed to admit this dirty ugly secret about you, even to your parents, because you need to protect them from the pain they would endure if they knew. Instead, you hide the painful secret of what's happened to you. The shame can be overwhelming and cloud your perspective. Eventually it can seem as if your parents’ opinion of you is in conflict with the world’s opinion of you. It can compel you to cling to what is familiar moving forward in your life, and you may question the validity of your parents' positive view of you, and default to the idea that you are not good enough or are victim-like and should be the subject of ridicule.

6. Bullying (with Uninvolved Parents)

If your primary caregivers were otherwise occupied while you were being bullied, downplayed your experience, or let you down when you needed their advocacy, you might have struggled with feeling undeserving of notice, unworthy of attention, and angry at being shortchanged. When the world feels unsafe, the shame and pain are brutal. These feelings could also be evoked if parents were in transitional or chaotic states – so that what happened to you wasn’t on anyone’s radar. If there’s chaos at home, it can be hard to ask for attention or to feel like there is room for you take up space with your struggles. Instead, you may retreat and become more isolated and stuck in shame.

7. Academic Challenges Without Caregiver Support

There’s nothing like feeling stupid to create low self-esteem. If you felt like you didn’t understand what was happening in school – as if you were getting further and further behind without anyone noticing or stepping in to help you figure out what accommodations you needed – you might have internalized the belief that you are somehow defective. You may feel preoccupied with and excessively doubt your own smartness, and feel terribly self-conscious about sharing your opinions. The shame of feeling as if you aren't good enough can be difficult to shake, even after you learn your own ways to accomodate for your academic difficulties.

8. Trauma

Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse may be the most striking and overt causes of low self-esteem. Being forced into a physical and emotional position against your will can make it very hard to like the world, trust yourself or trust others, which profoundly impacts self-esteem. It may even feel like your fault when it couldn't be less your fault. Obviously, in these scenarios, there is so much going on at one time that you might need to check out, dissociate, go away. It can make you feel like nothingness. In an effort to gain control of your circumstances, in your head you may have convinced yourself that you were complicit or even to blame. You may have found ways to cope with the abuse, to manage the chaos in ways that you understand are unhealthy, so you may ultimately view yourself as repulsive and seeringly shameful, among a zillion other feelings.

9. Belief Systems

When your religious (or other) belief system puts you in a position of feeling as if you are perpetually sinning, it can be similar to the experience of living with a disapproving authority figure. Whether judgment is emanating from authority figures or from an established belief system in your life, it can evoke shame, guilt, conflict and self-loathing. Many structured belief systems offer two paths: one that’s all good and one that’s all bad. When you inevitably fall in the abyss between the two, you end up feeling confused, wrong, disoriented, shameful, fake, and disappointed with yourself over and over again.

10. Society and the Media

It’s no secret that people in media are packaged and airbrushed into unrealistic levels of beauty and thinness. It’s an epidemic that’s only getting worse and worse. Now, males and females alike feel they can’t measure up to what’s out there. Maybe the seeds of low self-esteem are sown elsewhere, but now society and the media make imperfections so immediately accessible, there is no relief from feelings of inadequacy. As media access is available younger and younger, kids are subjected to these unfair comparisons earlier and earlier.

Of course, each of these sources of low self-esteem merit an infinite number of posts. It is, however, most important to understand that experiencing any of these early circumstances doesn’t mean you must be bound by them as an adult. They will get weaved into your fabric, and absorbed into your sense of yourself in many different ways over time, but there are many paths to feeling that you are better prepared, less fragmented, and more confident moving forward. As an adult, when you examine your history, you can begin to see that in some cases the derision or intense negative messages you encounted weren’t necessarily meant for you. Rather, they flowed from the circumstances of the people who delivered them. That perspective can help you to dilute the power of the negative messages about yourself you received and formed. Furthermore, understanding that you are not alone in your experience can help decrease the extent to which you feel isolated and shameful.

There are some circumstances you may have suffered that may be impossible to understand. You can’t and aren’t expected to understand, empathize or forgive in these circumstances. What matters most is continuing to find ways to feel as ok and as safe as you can in your own life right now. The more you understand the sources of your low self-esteem and can put them into context, the more you can use your self-understanding to begin the process of repairing self-esteem.

Psychology Today

Whispered words of wisdom,
Let it be.

~~ John Lennon

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 Post subject: Re: Ways to help improve self esteem...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:55 pm 
admin goddess from hell
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10 Ways to Increase Self-Esteem
By Rachel Fintzy

Healthy self-esteem is comprised of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. It does not mean that we are proud, arrogant, or think that we’re inherently better than other people, but that we feel worthy of respect and as if we are of value. In this state, we’re able to let go of self-centeredness, because we aren’t preoccupied with how we are or aren’t measuring up. While we take appropriate action toward our goals, they don’t define who we are as people. Thus, our self-esteem remains independent of our achievements or what other people think of us, although we still strive to maximize our potential.

Some ways to bolster your self-esteem:

1. Be realistic. Don’t compare yourself with others, but just focus on doing your best. Also, recognize that your best may vary from day to day, based on factors such as how much sleep you got the previous night, the types of food you’ve been eating, how much work you have on your plate, and your social interactions.

2. Focus on your accomplishments. At the end of each day, take a moment to review what you’ve been able to do. Give yourself credit for the advancements you’ve made and chances you’ve taken. Did you get out of your comfort zone at all? Taking consistent, healthy risks help build up your self-confidence and novelty enlivens you.

3. Look inside yourself rather than at your external circumstances. Steer clear of materialistic, extrinsically-driven goals, such as believing that you have to own the most expensive house or car on the block. Don’t identify yourself by your possessions, which could come or go at any time. Who wants to base their self-esteem on such a flimsy foundation? Instead, determine your personal, intrinsically-driven sense of purpose. What truly matters to you? What values are near to your heart? Seeking to live these out will increase your self-esteem.

4. Be an active participant in your life. Set goals and take regular, manageable steps toward the actualization of your goals. Although teamwork can create a powerful synergistic effect, don’t sit on your hands waiting for someone else to pick up the ball. Think strategically and do what is within your power to do.

5. Engage in positive mental imagery. Imagine yourself succeeding. Create a clear vision of who and what you want to be, and rehearse this imagery in your mind. While you’re at it, rehearse being self-confident. Ask yourself, “What would a person who loves and respects himself/herself do?” and try to act accordingly.

6. Think positive thoughts. Become mindful of your habitual thoughts and weed out those that are negative and self-sabotaging. This isn’t to say that you ignore red flags, but that you think realistically and optimistically about how you’ll be able to cope with setbacks or challenges. Instead of saying to yourself, “What could go wrong?”, ask yourself, “What could go right?” or “What’s the best possible outcome?” Accept that your thoughts are major contributors to your emotions.

7. Be truly grateful. Express gratitude for all the blessings in your life right now. Even if you don’t feel grateful, rehearse gratitude, by writing a daily or weekly gratitude list, thanking people who have helped you or brought love into your life. Appreciate that your very life is a gift. Although your current circumstances may not be exactly what you might have ordered, they still contain blessings. Look for the silver lining.

8. Practice healthy self-care. First of all, believe that you are worth the time and effect it takes to love and nurture yourself, not because you are “all that” but because as a human being you have intrinsic worth. Secondly, take good care of your health, eating nutritiously, getting sufficient sleep, exercising on a regular basis, and making room in your schedule for rest and relaxation.

9. Meditate. Develop a regular (daily, if possible) practice of meditation, the most basic form being to sit quietly on a chair with your eyes closed, in a quiet environment, and simply notice your breath. When distractions arise, as they will inevitably do, just notice them and quietly bring your attention back to your breath. If your mind wanders 100 times during your meditation practice, this just means that you have 100 opportunities to rehearse regaining your focus. In addition to using your breath as your focus, you can simply sit or take a walk and think about pleasant, peaceful, happy things. Your body believes what your mind tells it. Meditation enables you to direct your thinking toward the good.

10. Get your needs met in a healthy manner. The goal here is to obtain your objective without harming anyone else, or ideally while benefitting other people, in the process. So, rather than being passive (meaning that you respect other people but not yourself) or aggressive (meaning that you respect yourself but not other people), act assertively, demonstrating respect for all involved. So, first you need to identify what you need and then define what your choices are for getting those needs met. In doing so, you show yourself and others that you hold everyone in high esteem. While you may not end up getting everything you think you need (often in hindsight this is a blessing), you will have acted in a honorable way, which will bolster your self-esteem all the more.

Positive self-esteem takes practice and perseverance. Life will throw you curves. However, by utilizing some of the above suggestions on a daily basis, you will be on your way to a deeper sense of contentment with yourself and life in general.PsychCentral

Whispered words of wisdom,
Let it be.

~~ John Lennon

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