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First Aid For Self-Esteem: Part 1

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How does a person increase their self-esteem? There are different methods for enhancing self-esteem and creating a positive self-image. It may be a challenging process, but it can be done.

Get in touch with your feelings. Many people wear emotional masks that hide their real personality. Often this is done for protection against rejection. If a person is going to appreciate who you really are, you will have to know your true self. Recognize reality and take responsibility for yourself without resorting to denials, defense mechanisms or other inappropriate coping methods. Some people create a façade and avoid reality with excessive use of alcohol, drugs, and other escapes. Substance abuse numbs most people from facing reality about themselves and others.

Be Yourself. One of the greatest challenges in life is to know who you really are. Take off the mask with people you are closest to and trust the most. Then try it with others. You are unique. There is no one else in the world exactly like you, so why not be you? That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things you may want to change about yourself. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself. Every human being has underdeveloped areas.

Accept your limitations. If you are over thirty, your chances of qualifying for the next U.S. Olympic swim team or winning the Heisman trophy are slim. There are some things you cannot do, but many things that you can do! Identify your shortcomings. If you can change them, do. If you can’t, balance these limitations with your strengths and develop new positives.

Forgive yourself. If you make a mistake, allow yourself enough time to learn from it, so it won’t happen again. Be as understanding with yourself as you would with another person who made an honest mistake. Often times, our goof-ups can cause us to feel guilty. But this feeling can be so all-consuming that it actually prevents you from taking responsibility for the mistake—you don’t dare admit it. Let go of the guilt. Do what you can to rectify the situation honestly. Apologize if that is what is called for. Learn from the situation and move on.

Look for sources of emotional support. Who listens, loves and appreciates you? Who challenges you to live more fully? Emotional support is a two-way street. It is wonderful to receive and fulfilling to give it.

Take care of yourself. You need to remember that your health comes first or you’ll be no good for anyone else. You can begin to uplift your self-esteem by focusing on your health. Eat well and get physical exercise. Lay off the caffeine and sugar. What about your sleeping habits? Do you get enough restful sleep each night? Is your entire weekend taken up by falling into bed on Friday and pretty much staying there until Monday morning? Taking care of yourself also includes projecting a healthy self-image to others. It may not seem fair, but people do size you up and judge you by the way you look. Your personal grooming habits project how you feel about yourself. If you look like you don’t take care of yourself, and have a sloppy and unhealthy appearance, others will likely make a negative impression of you.

Treat yourself with respect. If you think you don’t deserve the best and that you’re not worthy of respect or love, chances are that is exactly what will happen. Why be ruled by cynicism, disillusionment and resentment? Remember that you are a unique human being. Treat yourself like a worthy person, according yourself the same dignity, respect and care that all human beings deserve. That doesn’t mean that you put your needs above all others all the time—that is selfishness. It does mean that you take care of yourself, keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy.

Avoid co-dependency. Being co-dependent means that you ignore your own needs and put the needs of another in front of your own. When people are really co-dependent, they can lose their entire sense of self. When your self-esteem increases, people will know it and show respect. You will have the confidence to say “no” when necessary. You will not be afraid to tell others when your plate is full, because you know you are taking care of yourself by speaking up. After all, your life depends on it!


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