Throughout the years, my Self-Esteem and I have had a very tumultuous relationship, to say the least. Throughout our teens and 20s, I was extremely critical of her and my self-doubt was beyond measurable. The constant criticisms and lack of respect, trust and belief in myself were too much for her to bear and by the time we reached our early 30s, something had changed within her.
She began to stand up to me and fight me every time I tried to bring her down or criticize her. She had had enough of my emotional abuse and finally gave me an ultimatum: either I straighten up my act and treat her with the love and respect that she deserved or we were over.
I had no choice. How could I walk away from the most important relationship of my life? I had to do something about it, and over time I’ve learned how to love, value, and respect her. It’s been a long journey, but the most important lesson this Happy, Upbeat Realist learned was that in order for our relationship to flourish, we would have to keep working at it.
I’ve learned a few tricks along the way so here they are, in no particular order:
6 ways to maintain a healthy relationship with your self-esteem:
1. Continue to believe in yourself by stating your affirmations on a daily basis: As you all know, affirmations are positive statements you consciously make about yourself, and as part of my Self-Esteem Regime every morning, I state my affirmations to myself. Saying good things to yourself about yourself starts your day off on a positive note.
2. Eat right and exercise on a regular basis: Eating right and exercising on a regular basis can help you feel energized and rejuvenated. If your body feels good, your mind will follow. Let me make this clear…I am not promoting exercise and eating right to fit our society’s rigid, beauty standards of having the perfectly thin, yet well-endowed and bootylicious body. I am talking about feeling good within your own skin. Treat your body like a temple…take care of it… treat it like it deserves to be treated. After all, it’s the only one you’ve got. Doing something good for your body means you're doing something good for you. This leads me to my next tip:
3. Learn to pamper yourself: Take some time just for you. Go for a walk, get a mani/pedi, or join a yoga or dance class. Do something for yourself that makes you feel good. This tip is especially for all you Mommies out there. Don’t ever feel guilty for taking some “me time.” You need a break too! How do you expect to take care of your family if you don’t take care of yourself first? Be good to you…You deserve it!
4. Focus on the positive and for crying out loud, stop all the damn negative self-talk! Why criticize yourself every time you look in the mirror? Why put yourself down every time you see a skinny, perfect looking model in a magazine? The Realist in me knows just how difficult it is for me to conquer my negative self-talk, and there are times when I just can’t help myself, but, and this is a BIG… BUT…anytime I am aware of those negative thoughts, I change them into positives. My Self-Esteem and my Realist self are both very grateful for all of my efforts! Speaking of grateful:
5. Show gratitude for all you have: This is a big one for me and every morning, along with my affirmations, I state what I am grateful for. Showing gratitude for all the good things in your life completely changes your perspective on that exact same life you are living.
6. Surround yourself with confident and positive people: You don’t need to be friends with someone who puts you down or makes catty remarks to you. No one needs to be criticized or insulted by other people. My Self-Esteem and I realized that we needed to say goodbye to those kinds of friends. Do we miss them? Yes..but not enough to bring that kind of negativity back into our life. Remember, you deserve only the best possible people surrounding you: those who build you up, those who are positive, those who truly care about your wants and needs. You know why? Because you are worth it!
This Happy, Upbeat Realist knows that she’s not 100% confident 100% of the time and that boosting your Self-Esteem takes effort, but once you make that commitment, once you feed, nurture and take care of your Self-Esteem, your relationship with her becomes stronger and better than ever…and so do you!
Alicia Emamdee is the author of the book, “Aloha Self-Esteem?” which is created specifically for teen girls and the challenges they face with regards to their self-esteem in our society today. Written as a fictional love story, the book provides ways to help increase self-esteem and gain self-confidence.
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