Jan 15 2014
Your Self-Esteem Inventory
Last week we discussed some of the things that you can do to boost your self-esteem. Most of the tips involved improving yourself from the outside. This week OI want to talk about how you can boost your self-esteem by doing things on the inside.
Some people think that self-esteem has to do with popularity and looks, while others believe that the great body they have been working on for weeks will make them feel better about themselves, and yes, those things can help, but in order to gain self-esteem, you need to appreciate yourself, as much as others do.
Healthy self-esteem is having the ability to know your weaknesses and your strengths. People who take pride in their abilities, understand their accomplishments and faults, but don’t allow those faults to overwhelm the rest of their lives have healthy self-esteem.
Boosting your self-esteem isn’t easy, and it is going to take some practice on your part, especially if you don’t have the tools to heal your self-esteem. A good therapist will be able to work with you to uncover some of the reasons that you think less of yourself than you should.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, blends behavioral therapy with cognitive therapy helping you focus on your problems and the best way to solve them. Behavioral therapy involves focusing on your actions while working together to change unhealthy behavioral patterns. CT focuses on your thought patterns and belief systems. Together you and your therapist will work together to find out how your belief systems and thought patterns may affect your actions and your moods.
In order to boost your self-esteem, your therapist will focus on what your problems are and how best to solve them. Through therapy you can learn how to identify distorted images of yourself and reset those unhealthy patterns by recognizing and changing the way you think the rest of the world sees you. Once you look at yourself in a more positive way, which can be done through therapy, you can begin to say, “I like what I see,” instead of, “I’m so fat,” or, “Nobody will ever love me.”
Of course, all of us don’t perform up to others or our own expectations all the time, but to keep telling yourself that you are a bad person and you cannot do anything is not the solution. If you’ve had a bad moment, bad day, bad week, bad month, or bad year, take the time to acknowledge it and move forward.
The first step to building your self-esteem is easy. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center in order to make a strengths and weaknesses list. On the left side of the paper write, “Weaknesses,” and on the right side, “Strengths,” Make a list of 10 strengths and 10 weaknesses. If you lack self-esteem you will find it difficult to list 10 strengths, but it will force you to dig deep inside in order to find 10 strengths about yourself. If you are still having a tough time coming up with your list of strengths, dig in to your memory banks and try and remember the positive and uplifting comments that people have said to you over the years. Even if your little voice is telling you that it was too small or too stupid to list, put it on there anyway. That time that you helped a dear friend get over a rough patch didn’t go un-noticed. Add it to your list. Once you start thinking about past compliments, you will have no trouble getting all ten on your list, hopefully, even more.
Taking inventory of your self-esteem allows you to see in black and white how much you really aren’t so great at some things, but also shows you that there are just as many things, if not more, that you are really good at.
Next week we will talk about other ways you can improve your self-esteem including adjusting your self-image and setting realistic expectations.
If you have self-esteem issues, relationship problems, or just want to have a healthier mind, body, and spirit, schedule a consultation with your Upland Therapist, Dr. Renee M. Winters.
Jun 15 2013
The Truth about Forgiveness
Unfortunately, some people find it impossible to forgive, but when you have a coach that is with you every step of the way, it makes it much easier to move forward with your life and forget the past.
When you forgive it really is the only way that you can resolve those deep feelings of guilt, resentment or anger, whether you are trying to forgive someone else, or forgive yourself. By holding on to those feelings, you are unable to establish close relationships, pursue a degree, or go for that promotion. The inability to forgive could even cause problems with your family.
Unresolved resentment and anger can also contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, digestive problems and even heart disease.
A good life coach will tell you that it is best to deal with any issues that you have regarding forgiveness as soon as possible. Most people know someone who has carried anger with them for days, weeks, months, and even years, and sadly, some of those same people take those issues to the grave. Unfortunately some people will carry that anger toward someone who has passed away never being able to forgive them for something that happened decades ago.
If you want to help yourself forgive, the first thing you need to do is to understand what happened in the first place. A good start would be to write a letter to the person, even if it is yourself, whether dead or alive, about the behaviors that you found unforgivable. You will not have a tough time doing this because those issues will continue to haunt you whether consciously or subconsciously. This letter will not be sent and is just a way for you to voice your emotions and get the pain out.
After you have written your letter, take some time to reconsider everything that happened from the other person’s viewpoint. Although this may be excruciatingly difficult, it is a good way to figure out what it is like to be the other person. Ask yourself what it was that made the other person so angry or what led to their actions that hurt you so bad. What was it that triggered those behaviors?
The letter that you write is a tool that will help you see past the hurt. Human nature may make this difficult to do, but by letting go of the anger or hurt you can get past the fear of being hurt again. When you push past the hurt, you push past the fear.
People who are unable to forgive actually experience a sense of power, giving them a sense of being the righteous one. By forgiving someone, you are letting go of the power and accepting your own responsibility. This could be a hard thing to do, but when you forgive, you are also liberating yourself. Playing the victim is comforting, but will eventually limit your abilities to grow.
Forgiving someone or yourself completely is a challenge and that challenge demands your complete honesty to the other party, and to yourself. Regardless of your age, it is time to deal with others and grow up.
You will know when forgiveness has taken place because the love has been restored, for yourself, and for the other person. Once you have buried the hatchet you can learn and move forward. When you forgive, you heal. It’s never easy, but it is vital if you want to lead a healthy and happy life.