Sunday, January 6, 2008

More Talk about Self Esteem

Self Esteem - it is the regard that we hold for ourselves. It is not the way others see us or how we want others to see us. It is how we see ourselves. It does not come from outside sources although it can be influenced by them.

Wikipedia's definition In psychology, self-esteem reflects a person's overall self-appraisal of their own worth.

Self-esteem encompasses both beliefs (for example, "I am competent/incompetent") and emotions (for example: triumph/despair, pride/shame). Behavior may reflect self-esteem, in (for example: assertiveness/timorousness, confidence/caution).

This link for Improving self esteem has a wealth of information on the subject. I would strongly suggest that you all read it carefully. I think this is as solid and yet as simplified an explanation of self esteem as I have ever seen.

Healthy self-esteem is based on our ability to assess ourselves accurately (know ourselves) and still be able to accept and to value ourselves unconditionally. This means being able to realistically acknowledge our strengths and limitations (which is part of being human) and at the same time accepting ourselves as worthy and worthwhile without conditions or reservations.

There are no short cuts for a victim to reach this kind or personal acceptance. It is an ongoing process and I believe, for victims probably more than others, it is an easy gain to relinquish!
Because we have carried our conditioning of negative self esteem throughout our lives, it is easy to fall back into those old patterns. Victims must keep up a constant vigilance to keep themselves on track.

For me if I find myself not being productive, my self talk is the first place I look. What is going on in my head? Nine times out of ten, I'm probably keeping myself down. It doesn't happen often and can be triggered by outside things.

Recently I had a bad accident followed by a severe bout with a cold. Towards the end of the cold I can't even tell you whether the cold was keeping me down or my old patterns. But I had to literally pick myself up and push myself out the door to get moving again. Once I got myself back on track, I felt much better. Still had a cough but emotionally I had gained a mile over the course of two hours! I had gone from feeling beaten to feeling happy and productive again.

Important aspects of this issue of self esteem are covered on the above site,

What Does Your "Inner Voice" Say?

THREE Faces of Low Self-Esteem

Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Three Steps to Better Self-Esteem

Personally, I found the three faces of low self -esteem particularly interesting. Maybe because I have never seen the "impostor" defined before but have personal experience with someone who fits this to a tee. So it was reaffirming to see that my take on this pompous a** was defined by the experts! LOL

I also think that I probably wore all three of those faces at one time or another in my life. Or maybe I should say that with so many personalities, I covered all those bases. Either way, I know all aspects of those faces intimately.

The three steps to improve self esteem,
Step 1: Rebut the Inner Critic
Step 2: Practice Self-Nurturing
Step 3: Get Help from Others

have all been discussed on my blog. But I think the succinct format they used to show examples would be easily printed off and tucked away in a desk at work, a folder for school or wherever else easily accessible to be used as a constant reminder of how to deal with these issues.

The only way to heal one's self esteem is to follow all three of these steps. You cannot work on one and leave out the other and still arrive in the same place. Each has an integral part in the healing process.

There is no quick fix. It is a process just like therapy or training horses (lol) is a process. However, working through these steps will have lots of little rewards along the way. Those can help to keep us moving adding fuel to the quest for better self esteem.


Cheesemeister said...

It's horrible to know just how much I still "need" the approval of others. I've let the most destructive people remain in my life sometimes because of this. I hate to sound like a textbook example from a psych description, but it probably boils down to continually trying to get praise from parents who made me feel like I could do nothing right.

Rising Rainbow said...

cheesemeister, the only problem with that is the approval is never going to come. The only way of ever getting approval from that needy child is by learning how to approve of yourself.

Spud said...

Self esteem is a hard one. I have always had a quite high self esteem but you can always get down on yourself. Thank you for your comment on my blog too.