By Susan Dunn
Self-esteem is one of those things you earn by doing things. If you are not doing all you're capable of, you know this, and so you can't talk yourself into self-esteem. It's hard to fool the most important person – you. Take some action today that will make you feel good about yourself. This could be something as simple as cleaning out one closet! We always feel good after a "job well done."
Then work on your self-talk. How we talk to ourselves generates over a lifetime. First become aware of what you say to yourself all day long. 80% of our "conversation" is with ourselves. If you're saying, "I'm a failure," this is what your brain is hearing, and it will work to make this come true. Cancel this thought (say "cancel, cancel") and put something else in there, "I, Marianne Delmer, am on my way to success," or something like that.
Be careful how you word things like this, because your subconscious will hear it without the negative, i.e., you don't want to be saying, "I, Peter Aylward, am not a failure," because your subconscious hears "failure." See the difference?
You can also try an affirmation such as "Every day I'm getting better and better." Envision the end goal. Don't limit things by being too specific. If you want to feel better about yourself, that's the place to start. The 12-Step Programs suggest if you don't want to quit, first pray to want to quit. If you want to succeed, first pray to want to succeed. Wanting something gives us motivation!
Remember that your ___ years, whatever your age is, have produced your current self-talk, and so this won't change overnight. Affirmations only work if you are diligent and consistent, and this will be a good exercise for you because you need to work on diligence and consistency as well. At different points during the day, work on your self-talk. Cancel negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts about yourself.
There are many good free resources on the Internet. You would also benefit from subscribing to a good eZine. I have a nice informational and inspirational one, and there are others. Look up "free eZines" on a search engine.
Whatever you do, avoid the "victim" stance, i.e., believing that you're "helpless and hopeless." There's an affirmation you can use: "I am able to help myself and I have hope." Set small goals, take baby steps and look at this as a new, long-term, exciting project.
Work on learning optimism. I have a course on this, and there are other resources on the Internet. It's a state-of-mind that you can learn that increases your chance of success and happiness.
In Emotional Intelligence, we recommend solution-focused problem-solving, not emotional-based problem-solving. Just as in physics, two objects can't occupy the same space, so your mind can't hold both negative and positive thoughts at the same time. When you find yourself getting negative, "cancel" and put something positive in its place. In other words, distract yourself while you take action to remedy things. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Give yourself incremental learning goals, and reward yourself copiously for each thing you do that takes you further toward your goal.
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