Self-Esteem For Dummies
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You’ll be with yourself for a lifetime. Nothing is going to change that fact. Getting to know, like, listen to, and appreciate yourself is crucial for your sanity. Perhaps getting to the point of loving, accepting, and embracing all of who you are is difficult for you to imagine right now, but you can do it.

Discovering what you’re capable of

You’re capable of achieving whatever you want. Does that sound far-fetched? Here’s proof. Is there anything in your life that you have now that you didn’t have before? What is it? Your “it” could be your job, your home, or family.

Your “it” could be the confidence to say how your feel without reservation or the ability to change a tire. Think freely because your “it” is anything that you once thought was impossible for you to have.

Before you had it, it seemed unlikely to happen, right? Now that you have it, it seems it has always been a part of you. It has. It was in you as a thought, an idea, a possibility.

Whether deliberately or not, you miraculously did the work that led to its creation. In case you don’t remember, this is what you did, which is why we know you’re capable of producing anything you want. You just have to do it again.

  1. You decided what you wanted to do.

    It may have been a thought. Maybe you told a friend that someday you wanted to do it. Perhaps it’s so outrageously awesome that you’re still in the midst of creating it. Regardless, at some point, you claimed it as your own.

  2. You believed in yourself.

    Your faith set your feet in motion. You didn’t commit time and energy because you thought you would fail. You invested so much of yourself because you believed, maybe ever so slightly, that you would produce the desired results.

  3. You faced criticism.

    There were people who didn’t understand what you were doing or why you were doing it. Some even told you that you were wasting your time. You rose above the criticism and reaped the benefits of doing so.

  4. You overcame obstacles.

    You faced problems along the way, but you solved them. You walked, climbed, or crawled around the ones you couldn’t solve.

  5. You dedicated yourself.

    It takes effort to succeed. You can’t always see how you’re going to get there. You may not have understood why certain people or situations came into your life. Despite your uncertainty, you remained dedicated to what you wanted. As a consequence, you got it.

You don’t need us to tell you what you’re capable of. Time after time, you’ve proven to yourself how extremely capable you are of getting what you want. Don’t stop now. Do what you’ve done to get what you want.

Appreciating the good, the bad — and the ugly

Self-esteem comes from within, but it’s built on a succession of successes. Success supports your self-esteem development because it says, “Life and people accept me. This feels good.”

But what happens when you’re in the trenches working toward your success? When no one knows your name and no one cares, you’re invisible. This feels bad.

And what do you do when you’ve built a name for yourself but life still disappoints you? You’re highly respected in your job and community. You’ve worked hard and made many sacrifices to rise to a high level of success. But secretly, you’ve been battling with private challenges and now your life is falling apart. Divorce, disease, or death snatches you from success and drops you off at the doorstep of devastation. This feels ugly.

The good, the bad, and the ugly are natural changes in everyone’s life cycle. Although the good is preferred over the bad and the ugly, each one comes bearing a gift of truth and transformation.

Designed to give you a makeover, the good gives you the opportunity to see the positive impact of your contributions. The bad offers you the opportunity to expand your thinking and find creative ways to face and overcome adversity. The ugly creates suffering, which produces compassion, bringing you closer to yourself and others.

When you learn to appreciate every phase of your life and what it’s teaching you, you build a sustainable model for maintaining positive self-esteem.

Believing in yourself

“Believe in yourself” is the advice everyone in the field of self-development seems to offer for the attainment of success. But what does it really mean to believe in yourself? How do you feel when you believe in yourself? We believe that believing in yourself is trusting yourself with yourself. Just as a marriage represents the entrusting of one person’s life to another person, you are two people struggling to operate as one.

There’s the real you and there’s your representative. The real you is buried beneath all the experiences that shape the personality and behavior of your representative. You can’t trust or believe in your representative because he is inauthentic and you know it. Hence, the reason you feel guilt. Deep inside you know you’re better than that, whatever “that” is for you.

By processing past negative experiences and affirming yourself to create a new mindset, you see that nothing you’ve experienced is worthless. As a result of looking at your life with a new perspective, you expand your love for yourself and others.

Some people can heal their wounds through acknowledgement, forgiveness, affirmation, and a shift in their personal belief system.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

S. Renee Smith is a renowned self-esteem and branding expert, speaker, author, and resource to the media. Her expertise in personal and professional development and ability to inspire others to make positive, permanent changes has made her a sought-after consultant and speaker to Fortune 500 corporations, universities, government and nonprofit agencies, and churches. Vivian Harte has taught assertiveness skills online to over 10,000 students worldwide. She has 14 years of experience teaching in the classroom at Pima Community College and the University of Phoenix. She also hosted her own radio and television shows for many years in Colorado Springs, Minneapolis, and Tucson.

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