I probably spend more time talking about self-esteem, and how it is affected by eating than I do talking about food. I want you to feel good about yourself. You want to increase your self-esteem, be less critical of yourself. How do you do this?
First, determine what is preventing you from feeling good everyday. Set aside thirty minutes to ponder this. And make notes. Consider what you’ve written down. Do you value your attributes, or are you critical about everything you think, do and say? Realize that you are special, unique. Then decide the most important goal you want to accomplish in the next three weeks: a goal that will make you feel good about yourself.
At some stages in your life, you’re in such a rut that you can’t think of anything you’ve done recently that gives you joy. Use thirty minutes each day to write down what you really want to do. Below are some goals you may wish to attain. Find one that fits into your life right now.
“A healthy body is a healthy mind” - a well-known and true saying. You have started taking care of yourself physically. Now you need to feel confident mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Eating well and working out need to be accompanied by positive self-talk. You can be sure that you will feel much better about yourself by practicing a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
START A NEW HOBBY
If you eat, drink or smoke because you’re bored in the late evening or on the weekend, find a hobby that you enjoy. Whenever you have a down time, and are tempted to overindulge in some bad habit, focus on this new activity. It must be relaxing and productive and something you look forward to. Exercising is my diverting hobby, but you are going to do that anyway, so perhaps pottery, painting, boating or a course in car mechanics, first aid or journalism. Check out your local community bulletin board for courses and activities, or refer to your neighborhood newspaper for ideas. There are so many opportunities out there.
START A NEW JOB SEARCH
“I dread going to work each morning, but it pays the rent.” What a shame! Yet, as discussed earlier, this is a common complaint. It can only lead to stress, burnout, depression and even illness. If you’re in a job you hate, get out of it. Decide now to make a change. Nothing is worse than getting up each morning with a scowl on your face. You won’t feel good about yourself, you won’t care about yourself, your colleagues will suffer from your uncooperativeness and grouchiness, and how are you ever going to build up your self-esteem this way?
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer.” Why aren’t you writing? What are you waiting for? Start writing down your thoughts now. Is it fiction or non-fiction? Decide on a topic you enjoy and keep adding to your notes. It will soon develop into a story and then a book. What has stopped you in the past from doing something you’ve always wanted to do? Nothing should stop you.
Do you have skills you haven’t exploited? I’m sure you have talents that you’ve hardly tapped into. What are they? Think hard! Write them down. Work with them, develop them, enjoy them, let them be your positive points. Are you skilled at public speaking, fitness training, organizing? When you practice your talent well, results will be appreciated. This will motivate you to carry on. It gives you a goal and a sense of achievement. Look forward to every day with anticipation that something exciting is going to happen. It’s a great feeling.
BROADEN YOUR CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
Expand your horizons and increase your circle of friends by joining a clubs or class to learn a new skill - something you’ve always wanted to do, not something you think you should do.
Another way to meet people is to volunteer for a charity organization. Volunteerism offers enormous benefits - helping people less fortunate than you gives you joy and a sense of achievement. The by-product is increased self-esteem. Pick one of the many organizations and service clubs, such as the United Way, and work with people who generously give their time to help people in need. There are many other charitable organizations such as the Kidney Foundation, the Diabetes Association, Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Salvation Army. Ask around your area and you’ll find one where you can really help people. Or visit your local library, where you’ll find directories which list charitable organizations.
FIND YOUR TALENTS
You know you have certain talents but you’ve never felt you would have time to develop them; you’ve decided to hold off until you retire. Perhaps you thought it would be selfish to pursue your interests now; you would have to take time away from all the people who depend on you. Have you thought that perhaps they won’t mind? It’s only you that feels guilty by doing something that pleases you, no one else. Just try it and see. If someone complains, decide if they have a right to stop you from developing your special talents. Don’t give up. To have a happy life, you must feel fulfilled.
Do you find negative things to say about everything? Are you always worried and upset? Why don’t you measure the worth of worrying? Measure the worth of feeling upset. If you get upset, what and who does it help? Write down what is worrying or upsetting you. Is it important? Is it sapping your strength? Does it immobilize you?
Write down what positive steps you can take to alter this. Smile (force one, if necessary), until you’ve determined your first step and write it down. Practice this step. Be successful at it. Suddenly you’ll find that you have broken your endless circle of being a worrier. Be a warrior not a worrier. Be proactive and make a difference to your life and those around you. Become upbeat and optimistic. Be active or busy in an enthusiastic manner and you won’t have time to feel negative.
When and if you relapse, set aside some worry time, write down your worries again, and launch into your first step.
INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM
Like who you are. Be aware of your abilities. You’ve made demands on yourself. If they’ve been excessive, slow down. Accept criticism and learn from it. You deserve success and praise. Things can go wrong, but you’re not scared of them. Doesn’t this all sound marvelous! From now on, repeat these self-affirmations to keep on feeling marvelous. To develop your self-esteem, you need an inner attitude of self-respect and a sense of personal worth. Value yourself. It’s so simply but so easily, and too often, overlooked.
Rate how you felt about yourself this morning on a scale of one to ten - with one being a dreadful feeling and ten being a great feeling. Rate yourself each day and try to move up the scale until you are consistently between six and ten. You don’t have to be a ten every day, but you don’t have to be below six ever again. Practice feeling like a ten. It takes practice to feel this way.
Decide which is the most important change you want to make to improve your self- esteem. You’ve been making notes. You know there are a few things you want to change. Start with the most important one. You have three weeks to achieve this goal.
Here is an example: “I feel like my self-esteem is at a zero. I would like to increase it by having a job which I enjoy and where people appreciate me.”
DAILY STEPS TO MY SELF-ESTEEM GOALS
Find a job I like and give superb service.
Feel like a ten every day.
Avoid saying: “can’t, hard, difficult.” Say “can, easy, simple.”
Don’t know what kind of job I like. Mood is at three.
Spend 30 minutes a day thinking of my ideal job.
Look for a job in the Positions Available section of the newspapers.
Brainstorm with the people I know. Write down their suggestions.
Decide on the new skill I know I can be good at.
ACHIEVEMENT: THE FIRST WEEK
Feel positive. Feel there is hope for change. Mood is up to six.
Write out résumé geared towards the work that you love.
Have friends and colleagues check and give ideas.
ACHIEVEMENT: THE SECOND WEEK
Put résumé in order. Make a list of potential employers. Mood is up to seven.
Mail out résumé.
ACHIEVEMENT: THE THIRD WEEK
Feel confident about making a change. Mood is up to eight.
Call companies. Make appointments for interviews. Accept rejections in an adult way.
Arrange your first and second interview.
I’ll smile and laugh more often.
I’ll feel hopeful and enthusiastic.
I’ll be happier.
I’ll be more confident.
I’ll have increased my self-esteem.
I would have learned more about myself.
I would be going in a direction that makes me happier.
I would be living my ideal life now.