Raising Your Self Esteem At Any Age
Self esteem is the cornerstone to wellbeing. It’s about self love, self acceptance and self awareness. It’s about forgiving yourself for everything that has ever happened...It’s not all your fault, really, it's not. It means knowing yourself so well that your decisions come from your gut, not your head. It means being fully in touch with who you are, where you want to go and exactly what you want to create, all the time...or most of the time.
When I teach a class or host a retreat about self esteem, I have folks start with breathing; deep, from the core, from the belly breathing. This is the very beginning and I do mean, the very beginning. This is how you took your very first breath of life, deep from your core and you let out a loud wail to let us all know you were here. In this program you will do that again! Yes, you will LET OUT A ROAR and tell us who you really are!! You will learn a lot about yourself, your wants and needs. This course will help you fine tune your desires so you get exactly what you want in your life.
It is important to take your time getting to know yourself. “Who are you?” is the first question I ask you. It’s not an easy answer. If at any time you feel a bit stuck, go for a walk. When you come back, your head will be clearer. Most of all, have fun with this. It’s about you, who you are, what you want. This information will increase your self esteem and help you make better decisions in all areas of your life. And, at the end, you’ll learn how to manifest your dreams and desires. Won’t that be fun?
Who Are You?
Who are you? What do you love? What are you good at? What makes you smile, frown, laugh, cry? What do you want in life? The following exercises are designed to help you know yourself really well. I hope you learn a lot about you and I know you’ll discover some new thing about yourself.
Our first exercise is called passion play. It’s purpose is to help you see what you really enjoy and what you do well.
This exercise takes about an hour. Make are you won’t be interrupted. Get paper, pen and some water... Take your sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the top of the left side write “What I love” and on the right side “What I do well”. Now set a timer for 15 mins. Spend 15 mins, without interruption, writing down all the things that you love, really love...from your earliest memory to now. When the timer dings, stop, put down the pen. Stand up, shake a little, shift gears. Reset the timer and now spend 15 mins writing all the things you do well, from your earliest memory to now. Once you have completed this, look it over.
Now, from the love side, jot down the top 5 things that really, really make you smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside. Review them. Does your heart feel warm? Are you smiling? Then your list is good. Now, on the “what I do well” side, write down the top 5 things that you do well and that you like to do, even better if you love to do something you are good at.
Ask yourself: “Am I doing what I love? Is there anywhere in my life where I am doing something that brings me joy?” Write it down. If you are good at something that doesn’t bring you joy, do you need to keep doing it or can you change it? Are there any connections between what you love and what you do well? Draw lines between what you love and what you do well if you can see some connection and jot down the connection above the line. Maybe you are good at writing and you love to organize things. There is a blog out there from a woman who writes about organizing and
she has made a nice living doing so. Spend some time seeing connections, day dreaming about your skills and joy and how those things may come together.
What Is Important To You?
Values are things we hold dear and they are a large part of our motivation in life. What are your values? Look at your current life and you’ll have a good idea of what you value...Are these your values or someone else's? Do you still value what is in your life? The first 7 years of our lives we are constantly downloading values, behavior, beliefs from our environment. After you write down your values, consider which ones are from your childhood. Does it still hold importance and why. How much of what you consider valuable is from your parents and how much is really yours. Life has changed a lot in the past 30 years.
We live our lives according to our values. What are yours? Family, friends, work, career, money, honesty, integrity, happiness, fitness, food, environment, travel, play, music, religion, culture, community, reading, freedom, the planet, children, pets, doing for others, giving back, quiet, space, ...This is just a partial list. Write down what you value and look around at your home and life. Does your life reflect what you wrote down?
Spend time writing down your values. Then, put them aside for a few days and come back to them again. Do they ring true to you? Or are the values you listed, those of your parents, partner or friends? There is no judgment here. This is for you. It’s ok if the values you grew up with don’t match who you are today. And if they still match, awesome. That is the point of the exercise. This is about you, no one else. Pick your top 5 values. You’ll use these top 5 as you look at your life. (You can change this later, if after several days of pondering, you come to more current, realistic results. AND, your values will change over time. What’s important at age 25 is not so important at age 45.)
What’s Your Character?
Who are you, at the core? Go to www.VIACharacter.org and complete the survey. It takes about 20 minutes of your time. You won’t get a bunch of emails from them, so signing up is ok. Once you complete the survey and have your character strengths, look at the top 5-7 strengths. This is where you will focus. I know, you went right to the bottom of the page to learn what you need to improve. But, that is NOT how this survey works. Every human on the planet has all 24 strengths. We have them in different order and in varying degrees. The top 5-7 strengths are the true core of you. When you use those strengths, you feel good, you are energized and engaged and your happier in life. The ones on the bottom? Well you use those to support your top strengths and you use them when you need them, but they are not who you are. So, focus on the top 5-7 and have fun with this!
Look at your strengths. Look at your values. Do they match up? How are you using your strengths? How can you use them more often? How do your strengths match up with your passion play? Review the 5 things you love to do along with the 5 things you are good at and see how those things fit into your values and your strengths. Where are the discrepancies? When you get these all lined up, you will feel more ease in your life, happier and have a lot more energy. When you know your character strengths and start using them daily, your esteem will rise. You will feel more empowered and an interesting side effect is that your relationships will improve!
Be A Tourist In Your Town
Now that you’re in touch with what you really love and what you are good at, your values and who you are...go shopping, ALONE, but buy nothing! Be a tourist in your town. Go in and out of stores, every kind you can think of...drive all over town, visit places that you’ve never seen before, read the paper, go to the museum, find a new book store, grocery store...visit the botanical gardens, the symphony, go see a play...get a tour guide book and do all the things the tourist do. You’ll have fun!
Notice how you feel in each store
What does it smell like?
Is it comfortable and why does it feel that way to you?
Is it loud or quiet, do you like that and why?
Is it neat, clean, and spacious or do you feel claustrophobic? How do you feel in the environment?
Is the store brightly lit or dim? Do you like the lighting?
What do you prefer and why?
Would you buy anything from this store?
Are you greeted in a friendly manner?
Is it creepy, friendly, standoffish, really open?
Are the sales people crowding you or giving you time to explore? Have they even noticed you are there?
Notice what you are noticing
Is the store/restaurant/museum etc popular and why do think it is or isn’t?
What kind of store is it and how does it feel to you?
Where in your body do you feel what you are feeling, where do you notice what you are noticing?
Will you come here again? why or why not?
This shopping exercise is to help you really understand what you like. It’s not about the shopping, it’s about noticing you in public places, noticing you in new and different places. It is with this awareness that you will approach your life. Being able to notice how you feel, in the moment, will help you pick out the nuances in life, help you know what is good for you and what is just not gonna work. Sometimes this noticing is hours or even days later, but with practice, it will start to happen in the moment.
Go to different places in your town, different areas, ones you know and ones you don’t know. Get out of the car, walk around, ride a bike, act like you live in that area. Is it friendly, quiet, noisy, busy, desolate, clean, dirty, run down, brand new, does it feel real or fake...? Notice what you are noticing.
What Do You Like?
And now...What do you like and why....
What is your favorite movie, book, author, genre?
What’s your favorite flavor, food, and what do like least and why?
What’s your favorite color, time of day, season of the year, why?
Which season and colors and what time of day do you not like or wish was really short?
What activities do you like?
Do you like to shop in town or online, Do you like to go out to eat, or stay in, and why?
Do you keep stuff for years, even if you no longer use it? Why?
Do you hold on to stuff, just in case you need it? Take note here...what is the power of holding on to things that no longer serve you?
Do you like to take public transit , ride a bike, walk, or drive?
What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
Do you care how you dress or how others dress?
What kind of car do you drive or want to drive? Do you play or watch sports or both? Why or why not?
What irritates you to the point of breaking?
What can you put up with?
Do you prefer noise or quiet and why?
Are you a loner or do you want to be around people?
Do people energize you or drain you?
This is a whole list of things to consider as you look into who you are. Get to know yourself. There is no judgement in who you are, just be sure you are okay with who you are. Spend several days answering the questions and then do it again 2-4 weeks later. As you consider them, the answers may change. Your initial response may be to please someone else, but as you reflect on your answers, you may decide it’s more important to be totally honest with yourself. Think about who are you are, what you want. Write it down. Go back and look at it again in a few weeks. Things may indeed change. The more honest you are with yourself, the better you will feel and the happier you will be with your choices and ultimately your life. When I did this, many things changed upon my review. Being the 5th of 6 children and married to a domineering person, I thought I had little say in my life and choices. I had no idea how to assert myself. This was eye opening for me as I realized
all the things I really enjoyed and how those activities lacked presence in my life. So, no judgement here, just notice, be curious and know you can change things.
So far, you’ve done a lot of work. Spend a few minutes now writing down the obvious things you’ve noticed. How do you feel about yourself right now? Are you beating yourself up for not being more aware? STOP! This is a place for forgiveness. And forgiveness means accepting what has already happened, letting it go, and being able to move forward - knowing you learned a lesson or two. What did you learn? Where do you think you will make changes? What feels important to change now and what can wait? Do you need help to make your changes? It’s ok to need help. I need it too :))
Your Health And Wellbeing
Okay, so we’ve done a lot, and I mean a lot of deep emotional work. Now, let’s talk about your physical health. How old are you? What is your health? How important is your health to you? Do you live where you work or where you play? Do you have a chronic disease? Are you sick often? Tired all the time? What kind of food do you eat? How is your health and vitality?
Do you love yourself? How do you treat your body? Do you feed it good food, clean it regularly, stretch it and give it rest and relaxation? How is your sleep? Do you have a routine you follow to allow yourself space and time to recharge? Is health high on your values list? Your physical health affects your emotional health and everything else in your life, especially your relationships. Now is a good time to answer the above questions and make some decisions about what you really want, how you want to feel, how you want the rest of your life to play out physically. Once you figure out what you want the how and when will show up...
And finally, I would like some feedback. Has this been helpful? What did you gain from this exercise into self discovery? Do you see yourself with more compassion? Can you love yourself with all your assumed flaws? You and I come from perfection and one day we will go back to perfection. But for now, we are here to learn how to deal with, how to live in, contrast. As a world, I am not sure we are doing a great job, and that is why I created this ebook. I think it’s really important to see ourselves in truth, to be able to love ourselves as we are and improve upon that as we see need. When we are in pain, emotional, physical or spiritual, it’s past time to make changes. So, thank you so very much for reading this little ebook. Thank you for taking the time to explore yourself. I wish you the very best.