Reading Time: 7 mins
Exercise included in article
Are you feeling low in the “valuable person” department?
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” ~Iyanla Vanzant
Do you find yourself trying dearly to make others around you happy or content while your own happiness and energy suffers? Do you second guess yourself when it comes to being a person who can help others solve problems? Living a life like this can be like living in the shadows of others. It is not how you are meant to be on this earth. You are smart, kindhearted, and gifted with many skills that are waiting to be discovered. You have stories and knowledge that could be of use and interest to many. And yet, something holds you back
“Make it Stop”
I can still remember what it was like back in grade school, being bullied by many of my schoolmates for having growth challenges. I was 4ft 1 in grade 8 (13 years old) while many if not most of my classmates were approaching 5 ft.
I would go home and cry so hard to my mother about the bullying and repeat the harsh words the kids would taunt me with,“Shrimp, midget, short stump”. It’s like those words are branded on my brain forever! People to this day make comments about my height (5ft1), and it brings me right back to feelings of not being good enough!
I look back on that time in my young impressionable life and think “gosh how can humans be so cruel to each other- especially children?”. I am constantly reminded in my adult life that it is our aggressors who also suffer from feeling unvaluable, hence the need to attack others feelings of self-worth.
For the next 5 years of my adolescent life, I suffered from extremely low self-esteem.
Not only was I still challenged in the growth department, I now had been cursed with severe cystic acne. Looking back on those years, I can remember trying to stay afloat by using humor (sometimes at the expense of someone’s feelings) and indulging in promiscuous sexual relations to make myself feel like someone of worth.
It makes me cringe to this day to think that my daughter will soon be at that age and I cannot even fathom the idea of her doing half the things I did at such a young age, all because I lacked self-esteem.
Who I am is who I want to be
It has taken me many years of self reflection, therapy, and sharing my story to have a healthier sense of who I am and what value I bring to this world and to the people I share it with. A major factor for my self awakening has been my children. Knowing that they rely on me for validation, a sense of direction, and most importantly Love.
Love is the key to everything, really. It helps us to feel passionate about people, causes, and even our enemies. I have more love and appreciation for the people that have hurt me in my life because it helps me to know that I am in a far better place now. I would not be able to know this had I not been hurt. The scars are there but so is the love for myself- Finally!
4 Life Changing Habits
I will share with you 4 of the most important things that have helped me through my journey to developing a higher sense of self worth. These are habits that I have learned from Life coaches, therapists, and others who have shared their journeys. I make a conscious effort in my everyday life to practice these habits and I have found great success with each.
- Observe Your Need to Please Others
This is HUGE for many people!
There is living Selflessly and then there is giving away too much of one’s self.
Being selfless is giving up your quiet Sunday afternoon to stand at a busy mall and collect donations for the local hospital in need.
Pleasing others at the expense of your happiness is never saying “No” to every single donation collecting session there is.
Here is an example: If your good friend’s birthday brunch happens on the same afternoon as a collecting session, would you feel guilty to miss the session in fear of disappointing the organizers? Therefore, you miss your good friend’s birthday brunch and your happiness gets put to the side. This is not to say that you are not happy to help raise money, it’s just that your heart has desires to be somewhere else for that day.
When we give too much of ourselves we tend to resent the people on the receiving end of things. We do things for others to be helpful and make things shine in a positive light.
When we have a better understanding of our self worth, we tend to be kinder to ourselves and more honest with others.
We know that we have good intentions to help others in need but we also know that in order to be of use and service, we must take care of us so that our work and skill can be strong and come from a place of good intention.
List 5 things that you have done to please others in the past. When you have them all listed, then expand on each to include what you really wanted to say and/or do. Re read habit #1 above and then write out what you would do differently if you are faced with the same situation in the future.
2. Live Each Day with Intention
Your day turns into a week which turns into a month and then before you know it, 10 years have gone by and you catch yourself saying“where has the time gone and what do I have to show for it that I am truly proud of”?
If you find yourself saying this too often, then this skill will be life-changing for you. It has been one of the habits that has taken me a bit longer to grasp but none the less, I feel that I am making progress with my Intent to live a more fulfilling life. Just the simple fact that I am sitting here writing this is proof that these habits work once you decide to apply them.
To live with Intention is an effort on your part each day that you consciously decide to open your eyes and your mind to the possibilities around you. You have an understanding of what it is you want out of your life and you focus on the actions and necessary steps it will take to get you there. The effort to do so each day can be trying but the results can and are almost always well worth it.
Write down one specific area in your life that you want to focus on. Spend an hour each day for the next week, writing down what that area is, what steps you can take in the coming days, weeks, months to getting to your desired outcome. You can do this for all areas of your life as well. Best to take bite-size pieces though.
3. Compassion & Perseverance
When mistakes are made we as humans are too quick to judge each other. Blame must be dealt to someone even if that someone is not rightfully at fault.
This also applies to us as individuals. When our esteem for ourselves is lacking, we tend to be the hardest of critics to our own person.
Making mistakes is very human. Without them how would we know when things are right or good? The reason most people get so hung up about mistakes is that many people don’t know how to own, forgive, and move on from them.
To build a better sense of your worth, you will need to learn compassion for yourself and others. This is not an easy thing to do- trust me! I still struggle with some of my relationships. But you need to start somewhere and you need to start with yourself.
What mistakes have you made in your life that you could easily forgive yourself for today? Write out an apology letter followed by a forgiveness response to yourself. Keep these letters somewhere safe and when you are feeling especially vulnerable take them out to read.
4. Give Back to Someone in Need of Receiving
There is no better way to feel better about yourself and to have a better understanding of how much you are worth than when you are helping others.
Everyone needs a champion in their life. I know I certainly did when I was younger. Parents are meant to be their children’s champions until they leave the nest.
There were people along my journey to adulthood who were a big influence on my life and I can honestly say I don’t think I would be who I am today if it weren’t for them. Because of them and their generous hearts, I was able to start to see myself in a whole other light. They provided me with guidance, shelter, constructive criticism, and made note of my strengths even when I thought I had none.
I am deeply thankful that I had these people in my life and be my champions and therefore, I feel the need and desire to always give back to my friends, the community, and most of all my family. I volunteer with an organization in my community on a monthly basis. It can be difficult sometimes as a mother and a wife to pull myself away but giving back is as important to me as exercise, and good health.
Make a short list of places you could donate your spare time to help make someone’s life a little easier and/or brighter. If you’re a parent, check to see if your kids are able to come along and help out. It’s never too early to learn the value of helping others. Try to do this at least once a month.
Continue to reflect on these 4 life skills in your coming week. Make them stand out on stickies, a chalkboard, or anywhere that they will gently remind you to change your behavior to becoming a more confident you.