Progress in my life has been dogged by very low self esteem – always as a child put down by my mother and lately by my husband.
Do I have to go through life like this? Help!”
PJ, London, UK
First of all, I’d like to commend you for writing to ask for help. That’s an excellent step towards taking charge of your life now, and becoming more confident in asking for your needs to be met.
Also, acknowledging that sometimes you feel less good about yourself is another healthy step towards building your self worth and love for yourself. And, be assured, if you decide to do so, then you can certainly change the way you go through life.
Now I’m going to make an assumption that since you’re asking for advice, you have decided that you want to make changes in the way you are going through your life. I’m also going to assume that you’re prepared to consider the suggestions that may be offered to you – and when you choose, to take action on those suggestions.
As I can’t ask you directly how you would define self-esteem, then let me describe what self-esteem means to me both professionally and personally.
It’s the way you feel about yourself. It’s how much you feel you are worth, (which is why I prefer to call it ‘self-worth’), how prepared you are to accept yourself as a human being who, by definition, is not perfect. How easily you can experience yourself as “okay” and “good enough” – even when you make mistakes or have uncomfortable emotions and experiences. Perhaps even accepting that it’s fine on occasion to have emotions such as anger and sadness – because sometimes family life has imposed conditions on us which have led us to suppress one emotion and substitute it with another – anger masquerading as resentment, for example.
Many of the patterns we live in our lives we learn as children, and some we acquire later in life. The good thing about this is that having learned these responses, when we begin to notice they no longer serve us, we can also unlearn them, and acquire new ways of dealing with our lives. All these decisions and beliefs about ourselves are created within us – and from within, equally, we can recreate new, more appropriate ones.
PJ, since you are becoming more aware of yourself in relation to others, perhaps it’s time for you to develop a different image of yourself, one where youare in control of yourself and make choices based on your needs, desires and interests. Where your past experience of your mother and your present experience with your husband diminish in the influence they exert over your feelings towards yourself, because you have taken charge of your own responses. And where you can then value yourself as the unique, fascinating being that you already are, and celebrate the potential you undoubtedly have to develop still further.
So how might you achieve such a change? There are, of course, many ways open to you in the self-help arena. Books, tapes, seminars, coaching, counselling….whatever you do, the only thing that will bring results is taking actionon and with whatever you read, hear, see or experience.
I believe that an important first step might be for you to create for yourself an inner retreat, a place where you can calmly consider yourself and rediscover a sense of your own potential – a “resourceful state”.
So, find yourself a peaceful room where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes, turn off the phones, sit down comfortably and feel the chair beneath your legs, the floor under your feet. Then close your eyes, relax, take your shoulders and shrug them up to your ears, then let them gently fall back down, allow your head to rotate gently on your neck a couple of times. Now, think of one of the most wonderful moments in your life, a moment when you were really excited, when you knew you could do anything….Really get the feeling, be there having the experience, see what you saw, hear what you heard, notice what you noticed…..Then step outside and take a look at yourself, make the image just perfect for you, in sights, sounds and feelings, then step back inside again and experience the feelings. Now remember to mentally note that wonderful feeling. Enjoy it for a few moments more……
When you open your eyes again, notice how calm you feel, and how you are able to control that inner landscape of your mind. Practice this resourceful state often: at least once a day. Many people have found it helps them to identify what they want in their lives, and to feel stronger and more empowered whilst they decide. Remember that you can feel wonderful, and if you can feel wonderful in one situation, you can feel the same in another – take that sense of your self-worth with you, and build the life you want for yourself, knowing that growth and change are yours.
Love and Good luck on your journey….
Firstly thank you for the excellent service I have received. You have achieved what I thought would be virtually impossible on the net – a personal one to one feeling that you were there just for ME.
Your reply has helped considerably, I have already been able to make some significant changes and move in a better direction in my life. For the first time I feel an inner strength and confidence growing to enable me to move forward.
My grateful thanks to the you – I will certainly be recommending Christine Miller and the Resourceful State to my friends.