Woooooo!!! We've made it to the finish line!!!!
This is Part 5 of this Self-Esteem series. You've had self-esteem introduced and defined for you, you've seen what less-than-ideal self-esteem looks like, and you've walked a day in the life of a badass woman who sees her worth. She's got the self-esteem thing figured out.
Soo... what the eff do you do if you've realized there's some issues with your self-esteem?
1. Don't freak out. It's okay! You are not doomed to feel inferior and self-sabotage for the rest of your life!
2. Begin to generally be more conscious of yourself. We live super blissfully in our little worlds of denial. It's easier! Who the hell wants to sit there and notice everything that bugs them about themselves? Or on the other side of the coin... notice the decisions that produce positive results? We deny both. Being aware of flaws is uncomfortable, but giving yourself credit? No way. So then you're stuck in this mindless place where problem solving doesn't take place, nor does any self-validation. No good.
3. Acceptance doesn't mean you like it. So you've started becoming more conscious of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors... and maybe you want to judge the crap out of yourself and hide under a rock. Or maybe take a moment to stop the judgment and accept what's in front of you. Let's say you are a chronic advice-giver. You give out free advice like you're Oprah and don't always get the best results. Actually, you've found some friends distancing themselves. If you never became conscious of this, it would never be in focus. And if you merely judge yourself and this behavior, you'll just perpetuate the negative feelings about yourself. But what if you said, "I do tend to give unsolicited advice a lot. And it is impacting my friendships negatively. I'd like to do something about this"? No judgment. No name calling. Just here are the facts, here's what is in front of you, and you can now make the positive steps to work on it.
4. Get some additional support through therapy, workbooks, courses, etc. I cannot stress this enough. Self-esteem comes from years and years of developing how we feel about ourselves and how we see our place in the world. It's complex as fuck. (I mean, it is.) Our families influence it, our friends influence it, our culture influences it, our past experiences influence it.... EVERY DAMN THING influences our self-esteem. So having some support while you do this exploration process is HUGE. Therapy provides an amazing environment to assess, process, challenge, support, and change how you feel about your place in this world. There are some great workbooks that focus on your self-esteem that are self-paced and ask some deep questions, provide some tasks, and help you better understand what it all means.
5. Be gentle on yourself. I beg of you. Yes, I realize we're talking about self-esteem and I'm asking you to be gentle on yourself. But just try. Give yourself a break and be compassionate, as you would with a friend if they were addressing their own personal concerns. Any self-assessment is hard. Really really freaking hard. It takes courage to look yourself in the mirror, be conscious of what you do and who you are (unhealthy AND healthy), accept these parts of yourself with minimal judgment, and then take the uncomfortable journey towards making changes in how you think, feel and act.
Change is hard, even if the change is desired.
So again, give yourself some gentleness and be kind to yourself. You deserve compassion, understanding, and kindness while working towards improving yourself and getting to a place where you see your importance, value, and impact.
Important note: Self-esteem work is not magical. It is not something that happens overnight. This takes time, work, and motivation. But imagine for a moment what it would be like to be content within yourself, take life as it comes, and know that you are capable of succeeding through life, whether that's through achieving goals or coping through difficult times.
You take up valuable space and YOU are what makes that space valuable.
Until next time,