Monday, January 9, 2012

5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Day 9 of Your Year to Wellness
Surround yourself with the love you need and you will be able to see yourself and the world in a more loving way

Every year I speak for large women’s conferences. At these conferences, I am often asked to give a workshop on self-esteem and each time I do, the room is filled to capacity with successful women who all want to build their self-esteem. What successful women know is this, when it comes to boosting your self-esteem, you can never have enough.

 Boosting your self-esteem is like boosting your immune system; it prepares you for a germ infested world. Okay, I was kidding, but only a little, your mental self is more vulnerable than your physical self, moreover (I just love that word) your mental state often dictates how well or how sick you will become. In other words, if you feel low mentally, your physical recovery, weight loss and repair will reflect your mental mood.

Self-esteem is your overall belief in yourself. It encompasses your evaluation of your self and your idea of self-worth. If you don’t believe you deserve to be well, then you can’t get well.

I often tell people that while self-esteem is for the self, it does not come from the self. In truth it is a reflection of how we believe others see us. I won’t get too deep here with concepts like the “Looking Glass Self” nor will I get into the whole “As a man (or woman) thinketh, so is s(he)” thing, but I will tell you this, how we see ourselves is a reflection of the people, books, music, ideas, food and everything else that we take into our mind, our body and our spirit.

Having an imbalanced self-esteem; too high or too low results in a person who is self-absorbed; everything is about them. The weather is never just right it is too hot or too cold and they cannot function because of it. Someone is always doing something to them and making them feel bad. Nothing is ever right or good enough because a person with low esteem will not feel right or good about themselves.

The bigger the insecurity, the bigger the attitude; we often assume that the bully type is self-assured, but it is quite the opposite. That loud obnoxious person who manages to make you feel bad about everything you do and say feels as low as you do about your self. The difference is that they choose to inflict the pain they feel on everyone else.

We can all use a self-esteem boost. Here are 5 ways to feel better and stronger about you.

·         GIGO-Garbage in, garbage out—your mind is like a computer (wow, 40 years later and we are like the thing.) what you put in it is what you will get out. If you are living on a diet of gossip magazines, TV reality shows and diet sodas, you are not be getting the mental nutrients you need to build your self-worth. Make an observation of what you read, the music you listen to and even the clothes you wear. Do these things inform and uplift or do they constantly remind you that the sky is falling and the world is in ruin. Even a constant diet of the news will bring you down. Take a truthful look at what you absorb.

·         Replace the mental junk food with esteem rich ideas—Starting today, learn something that will enable you to feel better about yourself. When I learned that my ancestors were free long before the emancipation of people who were enslaved, my world view was forever changed. When I discovered the hardships my mother endured as a child, I could clearly see why she had treated me harshly when I was a child, and at that point, I let go of the “Why me?” feeling I had been carrying for most of my life. Learning positive things about yourself, where you work and even your neighborhood will make you feel better about yourself and the choices you’ve made.

·         Get a mental mentor. As the song goes, “We all need somebody to lean on.” I actually have conversations in my head with my heroes and the people whose lives I want to learn from. Read the works of those who inspire you and learn from their life lessons.

·         Teach what you know---nothing builds the esteem like passing on whatever it is that you know and have. Everyone has something they can share and pass on. I’ve met too many people who live alone in their homes and heads with their ideas waiting for the day to be “old enough” to teach others. And every day, I am amazed at how much my children teach me. We are here to learn and to teach. When you can share what you know it gives you the boost you need to move forward. I am certain that my esteem is high because I take every opportunity available to pass on what I have learned.

·         Avoid energy vampires—Misery doesn’t just like company; it likes miserable company. A person who is constantly low will not only seek someone to tell their woes to, they will attempt to make you feel bad also. If you are feeling down already, don’t throw a pity party; inviting folks who are even more pitiful. Surround yourself with joy, love, nature and thoughts of renewal.

The self is social, we are a product of everything and everyone we encounter, if you are surrounded by sadness, you will be sad. Surround yourself with joy and love because what you put in you will come out.

Seek peace, love follows.

Bertice Berry, PhD

1 comment:

  1. I hope this posts....I saw you at the Arbonne conference last year and still have your speech on my phone. you are such a gift to me and I am so grateful for your wisdom and knowledge and honesty.