Building self esteem is like building anything else – you build one brick at a time, one step at a time or one thing after another. Taking on the whole project at once can be too overwhelming and too confusing. The question is, where do you start?
The answer to the question, "Where do I start?" is unique to each person and the next question is "What about me seems to hold me back the most?" or put another way "If only I could ___ (fill in the blank) ___ then I would like myself more." When you answer the question or fill in the blank you have a starting place. "Some frequently heard" if onlys "are
- If I could only lose weight, then I would like myself more.
- If only I was prettier / handsomer I would like myself more.
- If only I was not so shy –
- If only I was smarter –
- If only I had stylish clothes –
- If only I had a better job –
- And the list goes on.
Often what is chosen is the tip of the iceberg, with a multitude of complex issues lurking underneath. Weight loss, for example, is often a conglomerate of related, convoluted issues. It may include issues such as eating for comfort, using food as a replacement for love, using fat as a protection against hurtful relationships (the fat will keep people at a distance – literally and figuratively). So the solution – eating less and exercising more – may not work until the underlying issues are addressed.The good news is that when you begin to feel better about yourself in one area, you come to terms with other issues as well.
But lets get real here. Most of the problem is in thinking that you don't measure up, you aren't good enough, you need to change to be acceptable and accepted. I other words you need a major overhaul to be lovable and loved – to be good enough. Don't worry about what caused your lack of self esteem. That's in the past and you're living in the now. So where do you start?
Ask the question again, "If only I could … Now try it on for size." If only I could _____________ I would like myself more. "And then ask yourself," Why can't I like myself right now just like I am while I'm taking care of ____________? The answer is "You can." (eg, If only I could lose weight I would like myself more. Hmmm. Why can't I like myself right now?
But if I weight 300 pounds and hate who I see in the mirror, how can I do that?
Change your thinking.
Look in the mirror – regardless of what the issue is that makes you dislike yourself – take a good look at yourself in the mirror. What you see in the mirror is the physical you. But you are more than that. You are also a mental, spiritual, emotional being. What about those parts? Do you like who you are emotionally, spiritually, mentally?
What do you see in the mirror? What do you like? Beautiful eyes? Great hair? Amazing smile. Each of us has his or her special physical beauty. What is yours?
But, again, what about the other parts of you? You are a conglomerate – emotions, body, intelligence, and spirit are all so intertwined that they cannot be separated and anything that affects one part affects the other. You are holistic.
Begin by thinking about all the good things about you. Identify them one by one. Attach positive emotions to them. For example, "I am told that I have a radiant smile. I can see it for myself in the mirror. That makes me feel really good. When I smile I see others smile back and it makes me forget that I don't like myself much. So one starting place for me will be to smile more. "
This is a tiny step but it IS a step forward. I recommend that you visit Allison Maslan's BlastOff so you can learn to design "mini feats" that help you reach your goal. You are, remember, holistic. When you improve in one area, you improve in others. Your thinking and your emotions affect the whole you. BlastOff will give you the tools to improve one "mini feat" at a time and achieve one goal after another.
You can do this. It's a matter of taking the first step. After all, as a dear friend of mine asks, "What's not to love.?"