I’ve learned to trust myself, to listen to truth, to not be afraid of it and to not try and hide it. -Sarah McLachlan
People with a healthy self-esteem are often positive, consider life to be a playful adventure, are confident in their abilities, maintain a healthy lifestyle, laugh a lot, and are never bored by what life offers.
Don’t know how to gauge your own self-esteem? Here is one way to take an inventory: Write down 20 things you love about yourself? How easily you complete this exercise (or whether you complete it at all!) will give you an idea about your current level of self-esteem.
How’d you do? If you are having a difficult time filling in all 20, or feeling resistant, try again. (Remember: real change involves taking risks—go ahead, you can do it!)
Now that you have completed your love within list, write lists for the people you love and admire—your friends, family, and colleagues. Don’t forget to share your list. Creating a list of what we love about ourselves is a challenge for many. Sharing your list will help the people you love to increase their own self-esteem. They need the encouragement as much as you do. Now is the perfect time to strengthen your self-esteem and create the life you want, filled with self-love and gratitude for yourself and others.
Self-esteem is often accompanied by a playful attitude toward life. One of the benefits of play is that, as you experiment with breaking through barriers by trying on new experiences and making decisions, you learn to recognize your successes and celebrate your accomplishments. The more you nurture yourself along the way the more love you can share with others.
What are some playful steps that help recognize success while also expressing gratitude?
- Listen to your inner voice. Make journaling a daily practice. Listen to the new information that comes up during this practice. Remember that few of us see the whole picture. We need guidance from both inner and outer sources. Uncensored journaling can help you get in touch with your inner guidance.
- Try things out, experiment. What would you like to do but consider the idea too crazy, scary, or impossible. As an example, suppose you have always wanted to learn how to draw but you don’t have a clue how to begin. Take a trip to a local gallery, pick up a book on how to draw, or watch a YouTube video on drawing. Small, playful steps are best when you begin anything new. Give it a try.
- Remember missed opportunities and disappointments often come before new doors open. Keep going! When one thing doesn’t work, don’t stop. Most of our worries never come to fruition, but we miss opportunities because we worry too much to try. We create needless barriers, refuse to lighten up, and never address the fears that keep us from moving forward.
- No more complaining/blaming. Take some responsibility for your actions and create the life you want! Let’s all take a break from complaining and blaming other people or circumstances. Try it. Take an oath to stop complaining and blaming for one day and see what happens.
- Stay on track. Many of us shift gears just as we are on the verge of success. Sound familiar? Patience and perseverance are qualities that help us stay on course and complete important goals in our lives.
- Practice gratitude. Create a list of five people you are grateful for in your life. Now write them a note, pick up the phone, or take them to lunch. Celebrate both of you! These five people are reflections of your best qualities—take a look and see yourselves through their eyes.
© Copyright 2011 by Mary Alice Long, PhD, therapist in Langley, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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