Self esteem - there is no greater gift we can give to our children or ourselves? Henry David Thoreau says “What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate?” What a thought! What a statement! If this is true, the way we think of ourselves, or our children think of themselves, makes all the difference to what we can achieve in life. Also, to have a real sense of esteem for yourself greatly reduces your stress levels because you are not always worrying about what other people will think of you.
Some important aspects of self esteem are to:
• Feel that you are lovable
• Hold yourself in high regard
• Know that you are worthwhile
• Have respect for yourself
• Know that you are worthy of being treated with respect by others
• Feel competent
• Have self-confidence
Wouldn’t it be fantastic to feel that good about yourself. Imagine how your children would achieve and behave if they had all those qualities. Ultimately, it is not possible to actually give someone self esteem as it is a quality that we need to learn to build from within. However, there are many things that you can do to help your children develop and nurture self respect and confidence for themselves.
As children learn so much more from what we do rather than what we say, it is clear that building your own self esteem is going to have a profound influence on your children’s. And, in many ways, the things you can do to increase your own sense of self respect are the same as those you can do to help your children build theirs.
You can build your sense of self worth on a day to day basis by learning strategies to allow any negative things that happen during each day to wash over you rather than enter into you.You can view the following strategies as your mental shield against the arrows of pain and negativity:
someone says something hurtful, instead of getting upset inside and
walking away you can say “I don’t like what you just said to me”. Or
you can disagree with them - you don’t have to take what other people say as being true.
- You can ask the person to explain what they mean and discuss it, so that you can both get clear on what the reason for the comment was. This increase in communication can make all the difference between a hurtful outcome and a positive one. If you watch soap operas, one of the reasons so many dramatic things happen in them is because so much is left unsaid!
- Don’t take things personally. Remember that often other people say things without thinking. They are not necessarily angry at you, they are just hurting inside and what they say comes out in a hurtful way.
- Before you react defensively, consider what the person has said honestly and ask yourself if, perhaps, there is some truth in it. Are there some changes you could make in yourself for the better?
- Remember to affirm your self esteem every day. Use positive self talk. Tell yourself how wonderful you are, that you love yourself, that no matter what you do or what happens you are still a worthwhile, lovable person. You may find it hard to do this to begin with but if you persevere you will definitely find that you feel better about yourself.
- Imagine a beautiful, protective, white light around you which shields you from all harm.
- For children, especially, it can help to have a talisman of some kind, like a special ring, bracelet, necklace or a small totem which they wear or keep in their pocket. You could create a small ritual in which you help your child endow this talisman with protective powers. They can then call on these powers when they feel threatened or hurt.
All of the above ideas will help you and your children to develop self-esteem. There are also many self-help resources available. Some of these can be a great support in helping you and your children build self-esteem. Just type “self esteem” into Google and you will find a great many helpful sites.
Here are a few suggestions to get you going:
www.selfgrowth.com is the one of the most complete guides to information about Self Help on the Internet, including plenty of information about improving self esteem.