Archive for September, 2012



I realize as I embark on today’s mission of blogging about things like body image, and appreciating our positive qualities and learning to like ourselves, that this subject alone should be a three part series! I am attempting to do the impossible in one blog! I will do my best to summarize without losing a great deal of content!

While in general, for a person who wrestles with their body image when they look in the mirror, it may be easy to see all the flaws, wrinkles, bulges, grey hair, and within seconds of asking the question of what you like least about your body, you could easily rattle off about 50 things you hate about the way you look.

Let’s begin with a simple exercise in non-judgment. Instead of looking at ourselves in comparison with what society and media says the average man or woman should look like, let us rather appreciate the beauty in others and in ourselves, and try not to make comparisons or judgments. It’s an effort in changing the way we think about ourselves, as well as what is important.

The reality is, outward beauty will always fade away eventually, and if this is what we live for, we are missing a deeper, more authentic and internal beauty of strength and character. I am not saying “Don’t be fit”, “Eat junk food all day long” and just let yourself go. By no means! I am suggesting that we care for our bodies, spirit, soul and body. We all know eating healthy, and staying fit is good for our bodies in a multitude of ways… Exercising regularly and eating well not only help mental acuity and promote healthy a heart, and make our brains happier, but it also does so much for helping with emotional issues such as depression and anxiety! I believe we need to learn to care about our whole self, simply because we are worth it.

Our worth is intrinsic and God given. What we need to determine is WHY we do what we do. If we are at the gym 5 days a week out of pressure to look good according to society, bearing ourselves up for not losing enough weight, or eating too much at the last family holiday dinner, these motives can actually be harmful to us, and do not promote healthy self care. If, however, we are learning to have compassion for ourselves and learning to like who we are, and are doing these things to be healthy and to care for ourselves, not only will your success and results come sooner, but you will also notice you are beginning to feel much better about yourself as a person. What you see in the mirror will be someone you care for and treat with respect and honor and love.

So how do we get there? Paying attention to the negative messages we are telling ourselves and believing is a good start. Noticing them enough to reframe the message to something positive or to simply say ‘stop’ to ourselves when we begin to judge ourselves harshly, and practice non-judgment of ourselves is a good start.

I’m going to propose a few steps further.

First, I’m going to ask you to write a list of ten positive things about yourself that are true and realistic. For instance, you might recognize that you are a loyal friend, or that you are very organized, a good listener, or compassionate and empathetic. You might like the fact that you take charge of a situation when it is needed, or are an advocate for those who need one. You might believe that you are responsible or successful. Make a list of these qualities. They can be internal character traits or external, such as you might like your eyes even though you aren’t happy with your current weight. You might like that tattoo you have that expresses who you are or that you are talented and athletic.

Are you, or have you been recently,

Kind to anyone?
Clean?
Helpful or handy?
Humorous in a way that helped another person?
Trustworthy or loyal?
Gentle?
Determined?
Strong or resilient?
Do you see the best in others?
Are you patient?
Disciplined?
Imaginative or creative?
Persuasive?
Intelligent?
Co-operative?
Open-minded?
Accepting?
Expressive?
Energetic?
Affectionate?
A leader?
A good story teller?
Adventurous?
A thinker?

You should have a pretty good list by now to get the juices flowing! Are you already starting to feel less negative about yourself if you find yourself identifying with anything on the above list?

Once you have your list, try repeating it to yourself daily for a while. It helps to re-wire your mind and train your Brian how to think using new neural pathways that are more positive toward yourself. If you have just done this exercise, you have just been kind to yourself and loving! Way to go!

If you struggle with negative physical body image, focus on six areas of yourself physically that you DO like, and repeat that to yourself daily! Often we see ourselves externally in a way that we allow to affect how we view our core worth. Our core worth does not come from anything external. We simply have worth. But for the purpose of this exercise, to help you get to that understanding, look at yourself in the mirror several times a day and look for things that are ‘right’ about your body and physical appearance and find what you feel is attractive about yourself. This too, is caring about yourself, despite what others think, say or do, increasing your own sense of intrinsic worth which is not dependent on such externals like other’s opinions or popular media ideals.

Next, let’s take a look at the deeper part of the self. Your character. Your moral values and strengths you possess in these areas. As they say, beauty is only skin deep. If all you have is the outward looks, but are empty inside, you will become a shell of a person. The charisma of a person comes from what is on the inside and flows outward. Let’s look at the inward beauty you possess, which miraculously, automatically makes you more beautiful outwardly!

Which qualities from the list below do you identify with and feel are attributes you possess? Mental note, do not look at this list from a place of judgment of yourself for each quality you don’t identify with. Without counting a score, or getting down on yourself for what you don’t relate with, simply take a few moments to enjoy the qualities YOU possess! We are all unique and have our own gifts, skills and talents. None of us were meant to all possess all qualities. Variety is the spice of life!

Do you feel like you have:

Integrity?
Love?
Empathy?
Knowledge?
Affection?
Compassion?
Patience?
Respect for others? Yourself?
Willing to admit your faults?
Honesty?
Helpfulness?
Thoughtfulness?
Supportive?
Tolerance or appreciation for diversity?
Trustworthy?
Forgiveness?
Hope?
Selflessness?
Friendliness?
Courtesy?
Appreciation?
Gentleness?

Your challenge today is to combat your negative self judgments with anything positive from the lists above that you identified with, and repeat them to yourself and remind yourself to have compassion toward yourself and self care by being loving toward yourself!

Good luck!

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Choosing to Love your Body


Women’s News: Can You Choose to Love Your Body? Margaret Cho Did.

September 20, 2012 By 3 Comments

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Freelance Writer

In my few talks with comedian Margaret Cho, she’s said things that have resonated so deeply, I hang up the phone feeling ridiculously inspired.

During our chat last week for an article on eating disorders, she eloquently expressed something I’d been feeling but hadn’t been brave enough to articulate. “I think now I’m at the point where I’m just sick of feeling negative and feeling this way about my body,” she said. “So I’ve just shifted my thinking to, ‘this becomes boring to always want to be thin.’”

I’d been feeling pretty bored with habitual body bashing myself, but I didn’t see a way out of it. Wasn’t self-deprecation just one of those unavoidable pitfalls of being a female human, like cramps or mascara-induced eye injuries?

“I was just immediately programmed to think the way my mother did and her family did. Now I have a choice,” Margaret continued. “I have a total choice now whether I want to buy into something that never worked for them and never worked for me or just forget it and move on to other things.”

And with that simple statement, Margaret Cho went a long way toward deprogramming my automatic tendency toward self-deprecation. She showed me that the anti-me autopilot switch could be flipped.

I was an absurdly overconfident child. That is, according to my mom’s recollection and to faded photos of a self-assured, sequin-sporting child of the early nineties. I’m well aware of the age-inappropriate Madonna lip synching routines I insistently performed for party guests. And I don’t remember modesty ever being an issue while unabashedly bragging to strangers about my straight-A-laden report cards. But my mom’s absolute favorite mortifying memory is of a chubby-cheeked, unfortunately self-styled four-year-old arrogantly admiring her reflection and definitively declaring to the mirror, “I’m so cute!”

While the dignified adult I pretend to be wishes she’d have kept that revelation under wraps, I can’t help but call upon that pre-adolescent version of myself to ask a couple of really pressing questions: When do we turn against ourselves? And when we do learn to engage in chronic, negative self-talk, are those really our voices we’re using to spew hateful, critical words? Or are someone else’s messages overpowering what we actually think, see, and believe?

Like most adolescents, I immediately buried any discernable shred of self-assurance deep beneath an armor of teen angst and awkwardness. Seemingly overnight I morphed from a cocky kid on the playground to a sullen, self-loathing pubescent nightmare.

But surrendering to what I believe to be a tragic trend in female self-esteem, I carried those adolescent anxieties about appearance and achievement into adulthood. It was completely natural to criticize every perceived flaw and automatically negate any incoming compliments. Every day was an exercise in ruthless comparison to friends and strangers, and every night a reflection on how and why I’d never measure up.

And then suddenly, that smug four-year-old refused to stay silent. I started to catch myself questioning every self-sabotaging thought. All those mechanical reactions toward my reflection of disgust and disdain suddenly seemed exhausting and, well, boring. Most importantly, those formerly instinctual, involuntary responses didn’t feel authentic or accurate. I realized it wasn’t my voice or my judgment at play in those moments of cruel criticism. I’d just become so accustomed to engaging in self-flagellation, it never occurred to me to question whether I believed I deserved it.

HuffPost Women shared a picture on Facebook the other day of a great t-shirt that reads, “YOUR BODY IS NOT WRONG / SOCIETY IS.” Sure, it’s a sweeping generalization about “society,” but it’s a novel idea, isn’t it? Imagine if we all got fed up, took a note from women like Margaret, and realized once and for all that we have a choice about how to feel in our bodies. I think I might choose to stop being bored and start feeling okay.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-konstantinovsky/love-your-body-image-margaret-cho_b_1892274.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

 
 
 
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On Mondays, I now plan on hosting guest blogs here on my website! I will host two today that have been submitted to me. One is on Domestic Violence submitted to me via http://myblogguest.com on the subject of domestic violence. The other is by a fellow blogger on choosing to love your body. I think they are both great posts and look forward to hosting them on my blog today, and am looking for others who are interested in both being a guest blogger on my site, as well as those interested in hosting my blogs on their site! Please feel free to contact me at Katie@freedomlifelove if you interested in either of the above!

If you would like to have your blog posted here, please submit your query article to the above mentioned email address, or join http://myblogguest.com and submit a request there. If you know of other sites that offer blog guest sharing, please leave comments here so I can get involved! I am looking for blogs related to human interest, human trafficking, or modern day slavery of any kind, as my business supports the A-21 Campaign for helping free young girls and boys from the sex trafficking industry. I am also looking for any coaching related articles on self esteem, relationships, self compassion, health and exercise, as well as specifically women’s health and fitness. I am also looking for any psychological or spiritual well being pieces as well to consider! I will also help advance pieces of writing from authors or authors to be who are trying to promote your work.

Feel free to check out my blog for what I am about, and usually blog about, and don’t hesitate to contact me re: host blogging your article even if you aren’t sure if your blog post fits the criteria I am looking for! If I find it fascinating or interesting, I will post it!! Please contact me with your suggestions!

As I mentioned earlier I am also interested in sharing some of my blogs as a guest blogger on your site, if you would be willing to host some of my blogs! Please contact me if you are interested in an exchange!

Stay tuned! I will post the above mentioned articles shortly!


Each one of us has within us weak parts of our character, defined by psychologists as an Achilles heel based on the Greek myth of Achilles and his mother Thetis. According to legend, when he was born, his mother, in an effort to make him immortal, took Achilles to the Styx river and dropped him. She held him by one heel. The area she held him on his heel remained dry and was not touched by the water in the river. It was the one vulnerable place on Achilles. Years later, Achilles was the hero of many great battles during the Trojan War. Legend suggests Paris, Prince of Troy, shot an arrow in his heal in the spot untouched by the waters to make him immortal. Since that spot remained untouched by the waters of immortality, the arrow struck him there and he died.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In modern day psychology, they loosely take this concept to define that there is usually at least one dominant negative attitude or defensive and possibly destructive pattern of thinking, feeling or acting. We all have at least one lifelong chief character flaw or personality defect.

Now how, you may ask, is this going to help me with my sense of worth? Bear with me, as I unpack this a little further and we learn together how to appreciate our strengths, but also to have compassion for our weaknesses.

According to psychologists, our chief feature (dominant negative attitude) is our primary ego defense as well as our main stumbling block in life.

The seven chief features they suggest are:

Self-Depreciation
(belittling/diminishing/undervaluing oneself)

Self-Destructiom
(sabotaging/punishing/harming oneself)

Martyrdom
(reacting as if persecuted/victimized/oppressed)

Stubbornness
(resisting change in one’s life)

Greed
(selfish over-indulgence, over consumption)

Arrogance
(inflating/exalting/overvaluing oneself)

Impatience
(reacting as though being sabotaged/obstructed)

I bring this up for a very important reason. Those of us who identify with one or more (or maybe all, and that’s ok… Have compassion for yourself! 🙂 from the above list , will understand why this has much to do with your feelings about yourself.

For those of us who wrestle with self-depravation will identify with feelings of inadequacy, or perhaps you identify with the feeling of loss of control that accompanies self-destructive tendencies. The Martyrs among us may feel worthless about themselves. Stubbornness may cause the fear of change or new situations. Psychologists associate greed with fearing lack or not having enough. Those who wrestle with arrogance fear their vulnerability, and the impatient may fear missed or lost opportunities.

We can all relate to feeling either unlovable, worthless, rejected, and a host of other core issues that seem to plague us for a lifetime without the appropriate tools to overcome the self-defeating beliefs we cling to.

Today I simply want to remind you that your core worth does NOT diminish because of any of your weaknesses. Nor does it increase because of your personal strengths or external accomplishments. You may ‘feel better’ about yourself for a time when you succeed, but if your worth comes from something extrinsic (an outside source – such as performance, or people’s approval), your level of a perceived sense of worth will rise and fall like the tides in the sea. In out, up, down, swayed by a negative comment about your weight or performance at work, or a personal expectation you set for yourself that you failed to meet.

But IF your worth is intrinsic, your motivation is not determined by external factors, but rather it occurs because we ate driven to do something because we want to learn, change, grow or be healthy, or just because it’s fun and interesting to us, or because, most importantly, we recognize that our worth is innate and God – given, we will not do the things we do for fear of punishment or to gain a reward or approval. Rather, our motivation will come from loving ourselves compassionately and loving others.

If we care about ourselves in a healthy way and not excessive self-love (arrogance/pride/narcissism) we will do what we need to do to learn, grow and change unhealthy patterns of behavior or unhealthy eating patterns.

Self compassion for our weaknesses involves caring about ourselves in a deep way in order to heal these dysfunctions, rather than allow them to perpetuate as we sabotage ourselves by keeping the unhealthy habits around. Change is hard, it takes work and it takes time! Have a little patience for yourself!

“Self acceptance does not breed complacence. On the contrary, kindness, respect, encouragement, support, firm but caring discipline… These are the soil and climate for development.” – Author Unknown

Keep in mind, “Self criticism asks ‘am I good enough? Self compassion asks ‘what’s good for me?'”

Try asking yourself the following if you wrestle with any of the above – ESPECIALLY WHEN you are wrestling with judgment or self criticism or self sabotaging thoughts… Or even if you’ve just been pushing yourself too hard and know your body needs a break:

“what would be the most healthy and most self-compassionate thing for me to do right now?”

Try to listen to your body, and to your heart, to it’s core needs, and find ways to nurture your inner self, not your self sabotaging needs like eating the WHOLE chocolate cake!!!

In closing today, I will leave you with some core thoughts of self esteem that you can try telling yourself as well! And remember to monitor your judgments -of other’s AND yourself and replace those judgments with these types of thoughts:

1. I think well of myself. This is a good thing.
2. I accept myself because I am more than my mistakes, or any externals.
3. I can criticize my own behavior without questioning my worth as a human being.
4. The work I do is worthwhile and good quality, and I expect I will do many worthwhile things in the future.
5. I am aware of my strengths and I respect them.
6. I am aware of my weaknesses and show myself compassion for them. I trust I can change & improve.
7. I consider myself a worthwhile person.
8. I like myself without comparison to others.
9. I feel stable and secure inside because I regard that I have intrinsic core worth.
10. I expect others to like and respect me. If they don’t, that’s ok. My worth does not come from other people.

One more time… Just so it starts to stick: your worth does not come from anything external. It is intrinsic and God given and does not depend on anything external, it is unconditional, just as the love of God is unconditional.

You are worth it!

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect by love.” I John 4:18


Today I simply want to post a portion of an article I read a couple of days ago on the subject of human trafficking. As some of you may know, my life coaching practice donates a percentage of income earned towards ending this type of human slavery and abuse, so occasionally I post on the subject just to raise some awareness and encourage people to get involved.

I would like to commend the man in this article who intervened by calling local authorities when a victim of human trafficking begged for his help in the night club where he met her.

I hope you enjoy this article from one of the anti-trafficking blogs I follow:

“After meeting a young female in a night club who asked for help in leaving a potential labor trafficking situation, an anonymous male from Santa Fe, NM called the hotline. She had been promised a job as a lifeguard at a summer camp, and instead was forced to work at the night club.
After meeting a young female in a night club who asked for help in leaving a potential labor trafficking situation, an anonymous male from Santa Fe, NM called the hotline. The caller, a young man, disclosed that he had been in trouble with the law and was not supposed to be at the type of location where he met the victim. Even though he believed he was risking getting himself into trouble, he felt the need to report the situation after hearing the young woman’s plea for help. The young woman told the caller that she came to the US from Indonesia shortly after her eighteenth birthday; however, the caller highly suspected that she was indeed still a minor. She had been promised a job as a lifeguard in Vermont at a summer camp for children with disabilities, and instead was brought to New Mexico and forced to work at the night club. She had been in the situation for over one year. She told the caller that she could no longer take the sexual abuse inflicted upon her by her two male controllers. In addition, her controllers confiscated all of her wages that she earned working 14 hours each day every week. The young woman told the caller that she lived with nine other women who worked at the club, all from various regions of Asia, and all recruited in their home countries. They were each promised various rewarding employment positions; not one of the women expected that she would be subjected to such horrific circumstances such as being forced to work in the night club and having to endure the continuous sexual abuse. The caller believed that the night club owner was fully aware of what was going on and how the women were treated by the two male controllers. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center reported the situation to a local human trafficking task force, who opened an investigation.”

In the words of the song twenty seven million, about human trafficking:

“we’ve got to rise up, open our eyes up! Be her voice, be her freedom, come and stand up!”

The proceeds of this song by Matt Redman and LZ7 on iTunes go directly toward ending modern human slavery -specifically, human trafficking!

I want to encourage you to get involved! Find an agency you agree with their values and mandates, and vision, and help be part of a solution to end such a violent anti-human rights, abusive multi-billion operation at the expense of innocent lives! Let’s help make a difference – one victim at a time!

My company supports the A-21 Campaign. Feel free to check them out to, if you feel a tug at your heart to get involved!

New Movie recommendation on the subject:

Just watched this last night: 6 bullets, with Jean Claude Van Damne, who plays an ex-military guy, mercenary for hire, who embarks on missions to rescue children from the sex trade. Very powerful, very gripping movie! Check it out!

Also, keep your eyes out for ‘Taken 2’ releasing soon in theatres, the Sequel to ‘Taken’, with Liam Neeson, on the subject. I advise watching ‘Taken’ first, if you have not yet seen it! The first one is available to rent or purchase on DVD or digital copy. It is also available on Apple TV. I believe it is also available on Netflix.

Hope today’s blog encourages you to become an advocate for those who have been victimized and sold into slavery.

Enjoy your day, and consider fighting for a good cause!

‘where there is no vision, the people perish’.


How many of you truly believe that you have unconditional worth? That your self worth is not defined by external standards, such as what other people think of you, expect of you, your performance, your physical appearance, or your confidence level? Did you know that your worth does not need to be proved or earned, and NEVER changes, despite your flaws or moral failures?

Your productivity at work, your talents or lack thereof, your attitude, or even your hygiene practices, your education, gender, race, mistakes, decisions, marital status, spirituality or personal handicaps of any kind do not diminish or increase for that matter, your unconditional worth as a human being. Simply put: Your worth and value as a human being is exactly that – unconditional. Never changing. Absolute. Stable, constant, infinite and eternal, God given value as human beings, created in the image of God.

Nothing external can change your value or worth as a human being. How much money you make, how you look, despite the Hollywood pressure to look ‘perfect’ and be the perfect weight, with not a single human flaw… These pressures do not determine your value or your sense of worth. There are incredible pressures to be ‘ideal’ and perfect without flaws, and there is pressure to perform perfectly and not make mistakes, but the reality is, perfection is an illusion for humanity. We have flaws, we make mistakes, we are not perfect. And that is ok. We need to learn to have grace for ourselves, self compassion, and compassion for the mistakes of others.

Regardless of the fact that we are imperfect beings capable of making mistakes and failing at tasks expected of us, or even moral failure, these external factors still DO NOT diminish our worth! It is innate, God given, and irrevocable!

When we equate our worth to external factors, such as some of the examples we looked at, we allow our self esteem to rise and fall according to external events. Ie. My boyfriend broke up with me; therefore, I am not worth being loved. Or here is another example: I missed my deadline at work; therefore I am a failure. An example of a moral failure: ‘my marriage didn’t work out and ended in divorce because I was abusive; therefore, I am a horrible person.’

When your complexion doesn’t look good or you gain a few more pounds then you would prefer, or you can’t stick to your diet, make excuses for not going to the gym to get in shape, or drop out of school, or don’t get the promotion or raise you were expecting at work and allow these things to shape your sense of human value and worth, your self esteem will fluctuate according to external factors simply because you have not yet believed that your core human worth is separate and not determined by these external factors around you. This is difficult to believe in north American culture, where media seems to push the concept that worth IS determined by externals.

Why do we have intrinsic worth? In the words of Rebecca Manly Pippert (1999):

“we are made in the image of God, a God of beauty… God declared his creation good.”

In the words of the Dalai Lama:

“Your feeling ‘I am of no value’ is wrong. Absolutely wrong.”

“When our value as human beings depends on what we make with our hands and minds, we become victims of the fear tactics of our world. When productivity is our main way of overcoming self-doubt, we are extremely vulnerable to rejection and criticism and prone to inner anxiety and depression.” – Henry Nouwen

“God don’t make no junk!” -author unknown

Perfect love drives out fear. Only God is perfect, and perfect love comes from him. If a perfect God declared his creation as good, who are we to dispute that? God determined we have worth regardless of externals. So be it! The problem comes when we allow other people to determine our worth, desperately seeking their approval. Our worth does not come from other imperfect people’s judgment of us. Whether accepted or rejected by the people we try to show we are worthy of their love time, approval or attention, they have no power to diminish our worth. So let’s decide together to not give that power to other people’s opinions of us, and stand firmly with the confidence of believing our worth is innate and God given and nothing and no one can ever change that!

You are worth more than you know!


Millions of domestic abuse cases occur each year. The exact number of such cases is difficult to keep track of since agencies report them differently, while other incidents of abuse are never reported at all. In the past, victims of domestic abuse were unable to protect themselves legally because police rarely got involved in such disputes. As such, families were left to settle and work things out thus allowing abusers to escape with their acts of violence without any consequences from the law. Fortunately, domestic disputes are now dealt with differently as all states have laws making domestic violence a crime, while various legal protections are imposed to help victims of abuse.

What Is Domestic Violence / Abuse?

When domestic violence is involved, acts of physical abuse are used, including threats, harassment and emotional abuse which can dominate another person. ; Domestic violence or domestic abuse can be found in all types of relationships and it is not based on race or economic class. Although women are often victims of domestic abuse, men can also become victims. Unlike in the past, police these days in many states, now have the power to arrest people suspected of abusing others regardless of the willingness of a victim to file charges because of fear. As such, victims and potential victims are protected from abuse after police leave. If victims want to file charges against the abuser, they can do so in civil court, allowing them to recover money damages for financial harm resulting from physical and emotional abuse.

Restraining Order For Protection

Restraining orders are legal options available in every state for victims against the abuser as they can make it illegal for abusers to contact victims. If a victim is in immediate danger, a temporary emergency restraining order can be secured from the local police department. However, a temporary restraining order will not be valid for long, so it is essential to secure a proper restraining order from the court that can last for three months to three years.

How To Secure A Restraining Order

In order for a victim to secure a restraining order that can last longer, a petition must be filed in court. Victims can handle the process on their own without a lawyer, but having a legal professional assist in the process and explain their rights is to their advantage. When a petition has been filed, the hearing will then be scheduled within two weeks. ; The abuser will also be notified and invited to attend the hearing as he will have the right to testify in court as well.

The victim will then have to explain to the judge, the necessity for a restraining order. At the hearing various evidence or documents, such as medical records, photographs, police reports and witness testimony can be presented to support the need for a restraining order.

Once a restraining order has been issued, the local police department must be informed about the abuser and the limitations imposed. All this information is recorded into the police computers for reference.

Other Forms Of Help

Domestic violence must never be tolerated in any way. It is necessary that victims must try to escape or leave their abusive relationship as soon as possible. There are various free legal agencies and shelters to help victims of abuse in every state. If a victim will decide to leave their relationship, they must be sure to have copies of their important documents as well as other items such as spare money and keys.

Valerie Clearwater is a freelance writer specializing in criminal law. She regularly contributes articles to legal websites such as ElliotSavitzLaw.com where well experienced criminal attorneys can be consulted.

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Why Self Esteem? Experts appear to agree that a healthy sense os self worth and value helps contribute to better health, physically and emotionally, improves cognitive function, and general performance, while a lack of self esteem, or low self-worth, or even self-hatred, contribute to a host of problem areas, including:

Depression
Stress & Anxiety
Entering into abusive or unhealthy relationships
Alcohol Abuse
Eating Disorders & Unhealthy Dieting
Poor communication
Hostility
Low performance & achievement
Dependency
Withdrawal, Isolation & Loneliness
Preoccupation with Problems.

It’s amazing how the way we view ourselves can affect so many areas of our life. It also amazes me how many of us struggle with being our own worst internal critic, sabotaging ourselves by believing messages that simply aren’t true of ourselves, and judging ourselves harshly and over-critically, rather than showing ourselves compassion.

Kristin Neff, author of the book, “Self Compassion”, suggests that when wrongdoers are treated with compassion rather than harsh condemnation, cycles of conflict and suffering can be broken!” She also openly claims that “if we were perfect, we wouldn’t be human; we’d be Barbie & Ken.” acknowledging the weakness and imperfections of our humanity. She sites Jesus as an example when he said “Let him without sin cast the first stone’, and later, as he hung dying on the cross, he said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ The message was clear: we need to have understanding and compassion for even the worst wrongdoers, ourselves included.”

Why are we such harsh critics of our weaknesses, failings and mistakes? Doing so only leads to greater depression, self hatred, addictions, and further self sabotage and pain. When we grow up in a less than thriving environment, it is as if our brains are hard wired to be drawn to repeat those same patterns throughout life. Abused, we either become abusive or look for abusive relationships, subconsciously, as an example. While this is not always the case, as there are exceptions, generally if we grew up with a lack of nurture, sense of safety, role reversal relationships, abuse, excessive alcohol use, we grow up in an environment that lacks the proper breeding ground for our brains to function with a positive self image. See my previous articles on brain re-training to understand how our brains work and the information they take in, and how they are able to re-wire previous negative circuitry of the brain to involve higher brain functioning to overcome the negative patterns of thinking that decrease our sense of self worth. While this is a fascinating subject to me, and I will likely blog more on this topic in coming months, I do not want to get too far of track by getting too technical in this blog!

Here’s a little self esteem checkup taken from the book, “The Self Esteem Workbook”, which I highly recommend you to read if you struggle at all with self esteem.

Rate from 0-10 how much you believe the following statements. This will give you an idea of where you are currently in you sense of self esteem.

1. I am a worthwhile person.
2. I am as valuable as a person as anyone else.
3. I have the qualities I need to live well.
4. When I look into my eyes in the mirror I have a pleasant feeling.
5. I don’t feel like an overall failure.
6. I can laugh at myself.
7. I am happy to be me.
8. I like myself, even when others reject me.
9. I love and support myself, regardless of what happens.
10. I am generally satisfied with the way I am developing as a person.
11. I respect myself.
12. I’d rather be me than anyone else.

Next rate yourself from 0-100 on a scale from total lack of self esteem, to total fullness of self esteem.

Where does you gut tell you you fit on that scale? Now ask yourself why that is. See what answers come to the surface. This is the beginning of paying attention to what your core needs are.

For the next month, I will be spending every Friday blogging about self image and self worth.

Today is simply an intro on how to build self esteem.

I will leave you today with a definition of what self esteem is, and the foundations of building self esteem. Next Friday we will delve a little deeper.

What is Self Esteem?

“Self Esteem is a realistic, appreciative liking of oneself. Realistic means accurate and honest. Appreciative implies positive feelings and liking.” – The Self Esteem Workbook

Self Esteem involves self confidence. A belief in one’s abilities. It involves accepting yourself, having compassion for yourself, looking at yourself as neither less than or greater than others, with proper humility and awareness that all of humanity involves weakness and imperfections, with grace for both ourselves and others mistakes.

The Foundation of self esteem involves three things; like building blocks, these three attributes build self esteem:

1. Unconditional Worth.
2. Love
3. Growing

These three building blocks help build a proper, healthy working sense of self esteem.

Stay tuned. Over the next few weeks I hope to equip you with some solid tools to get your sense of self worth out of the gutter, and moving in a more positive direction! It IS possible to retrain our brains, it’s just like physical exercise, it takes work to examine what we are thinking, and consciously taking an effort to think more positively of ourselves. Visualize yourself in the ideal situation, that your needs are met, that you are happy and fulfilled… Apparently, according to research, simple exercises like this DO help. Even if you don’t believe it, spending a few minutes thinking like this, empowers our brain to feel happier, in just the same way that smiling, even if forced, “activates significant areas of the brain – good mental therapy. So at least once in a while, force yourself to laugh or smile, even if you…are smiling through your tears… Get your facial muscles moving!” – Susan Anderson, Taming the Outer Child, A revolutionary program to overcome self-defeating patterns. (Also another highly recommended read!)

That’s it for today, so go ahead… Smile. Even if it’s forced, it triggers neurons in your brain that help the process of retraining our brains to live a healthier lifestyle, and move up the ladder of self esteem.

I will leave you with one last piece of food for thought… To get you thinking about your needs and how to show self compassion to those needs. Take a look at the photo below from Maslov’s hierarchy of needs:

Have a great day!


Just posting a quick announcement to watch for my brand new ebooks releasing this weekend at http://www.freedomlifelove.com

Check out ‘Identifying and Understanding Abuse’ for helpful tips on understanding the abuse cycle and how to know whether the relationship is salvageable and how to end an abusive relationship if it is not!

Or perhaps you could use some helpful tips on ‘Managing Stress’. Watch for the release of both of these books this weekend on my website!

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And stay tuned for two more great ebook releases in the next month: ‘The Four Stages Of Boundary Development’ and another compelling book simply entitled, ‘Forgive’!!

 

 

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