Building Self Esteem
Often in our society, we are bombarded with the lives of celebrities. We can end up feeling that if we are not part of the rich and famous, our lives are insignificant. Our society also sends a message of competition and achievement. We watch sports, we always hear about profit and the bottom line being the dollar, we see large companies competing and constantly buying each other out.
The result often is that we are taught to see how well we are doing, in terms of how pretty we are, how bright we are, what kind of house we have, how well we do in sports, what rewards we receive. However, in reality, these are external measures. Each of us needs to develop a sense of self-worth, a capacity for positive self-regard that comes from within.
Here is an example: Sara was divorced and felt in many ways that she had shortchanged her two daughters, in the sense that they lived on very little money. She could shower few luxuries on them. At times, in her therapy, she talked to me about feeling that she was not much good at anything. Her husband had been abusive both physically and mentally, and had put her down almost constantly. Although she no longer lived with him, inside of herself she still carried feelings of worthlessness.
One day I asked her to review some of the best moments in her childhood. She said, “I always loved when Uncle Sam used to come over, and we all sang songs.” I asked her if she did anything like that now, with her girls. She said that they often sang together in the car. In fact, she had taught them many of the songs that Uncle Sam had taught her. I asked her if she realized that she was offering her girls some of the wonderful family memories that were unique to her as a child. She said she hadn’t thought about it, but it was certainly true. During months of therapy, we worked again and again in recognizing many valuable aspects of herself. Needless to say, her self-esteem began to improve. Sara is an example for all of us, in the sense that each person has to document his or her own positive talents and strengths.
We have to learn to pat ourselves on the back. To help you, I suggest a self-pride list. During the coming week, write down at least one item a day that you can take pride in having handled well. For example, I was polite and kind to several people in the supermarket checkout line, even though I was tired. Or, I used my head, rather than my fist, and really shared with my son my concerns over his getting another traffic ticket.
Authors Details: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Web Site
At the end of the week, read over your self-pride list, giving yourself a mental hug, or the high five sign. This is the beginning of giving yourself more recognition, which will in time lead to an improved sense of self worth. It is only with this improved sense of self-esteem that you can have the confidence to make sure that your life is filled with enchantment.