By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE
Good self esteem is a valuable character trait
The common problems of work and love – relationships, communications, self-esteem and grief – are the cornerstones that seem to anchor most of the problems that life has to offer.
Humor is a most important part in dealing with life.
As Virginia Satir said, “Self-esteem is the ability to value one’s self and to treat oneself with dignity, love and reality.”
Our behavior is symbolic of our concepts, attitudes, feelings and images of how we see ourselves and our abilities to relate successfully to others in the world.
We learn how to be. We make internal meanings about ourselves, often on incomplete data, but always with an emotion, a felt-sense. These meanings can change through learning new ways to perceive the self and our actions.
The family system strongly influences the foundation of self-esteem in the child’s first six years of life.
Parenting styles based on comparison and conformity result in low self-esteem.
Parents who value uniqueness and join the child in discovering who she or he is produce the highest self-esteem.
People with high self-esteem:
- Feel that they matter.
- Believe the world is a better place because they are in it.
- Have faith in their competence.
- Are able to ask for help, along with what they want.
- Believe in their ability to make good decisions.
- Value and accept their feelings.
- Speak their truth kindly.
- Focus on the positive.
- Take risks to change, grow and improve.
- Practice forgiveness, compassion and humor.
Try these strength-building exercises to boost your self-esteem:
- Take good care of your health, your body.
- Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions.
- Listen to your intuition.
- Detach from blame.
- Practice positive self-talk.
- Dump guilt.
- Let go of the idea of perfection.
- Meditate on self-acceptance.
- Celebrate your strengths and gifts.
- Find a passion that brings you joy.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Pursue a purpose that gives you meaning.
- Detach from old limiting beliefs-recreate yourself.
- Tell your truth kindly.
- Practice gratitude.
- Learn to grieve, forgive and move on.
- Balance praise and grief.
- Focus on what you want, not what you don’t have.
- Talk to God, pray, spend time in nature.
- Ask for what you want.
- Fall in love with yourself.
- Honor other’s sameness and differences.
Communication is the primary act of relationship- showing and sharing meaning.
This article was originally published August 11, 2003 in The St. Tammany News.