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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Self Esteem and It's Importance in Healing

Self esteem and it's Importance in Healing:
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Self-esteem is something that everyone has. Some people have high self-esteem and some people have low self-esteem. A lot of times, the way your self esteem is, will relate to how you were raised and what you have experienced in life.

When it comes to self-esteem and its importance in healing, self-esteem plays a key role in how you are able to sustain yourself on your healing journey. No healing journey is the same as another persons because everyone is different and everyone's journeys vary with their experiences.

I have been on my healing journey for several years. I have battled with low self-esteem all my life. Sometimes I go through periods where I feel alright about myself and then there are other times where there is nothing that can get me out of a funk that makes me feel like " I suck and I will never be good enough."

It is during these rough times that I have to learn how to build myself up and keep myself strong. There are several things that I find I must do, and I will list a few here. It may help if you sit down and write yourself a list of things you can do too. You can write this list any time you want, and pull it out when you find your self-esteem is particularly low.

So, the number one thing I do is to remember being gentle with myself. This means paying particular attention to self-care. Self-care can be anything that makes you feel good-as long, as it is safe. For me, self care can mean I pull out a book and read, watch my favorite tv show, get my nails done, or be creative in one way or another whether that is writing, painting or making something.

Sometimes I will just crawl into my bed and nap, but there has to be a balance with that because it is easy to use sleeping as a way of hiding from others. Reaching out to someone is also helpful, because sometimes the person you connect with can give you the kick in the butt that you need to get out of your funk. Hanging around people who are generally positive and upbeat is also great because it helps you to get out of yourself and have fun.

People use various techniques to help build up their self-esteem. I have listed a few that you might consider, but do what works for you. Over the years I have tried many things and I am not ashamed to share them with people if I know it will help someone else who may be struggling.

I know the origins of my low self-esteem. It comes from childhood abuse and trauma. I also know that it can be difficult to feel good about yourself when you hear over and over again in your head the messages "you will never amount to anything," or "you will never do anything because you are stupid."

Listening to those messages is like listening to cassette tapes that won't turn off, but when you are feeling particularly strong in your healing journey, you learn how to deal with the thoughts that bring your self-esteem down. Listen to your self talk, if you hear yourself repeating things that hurtful people have told you in the past, stop what you are doing and tell yourself "this person is wrong," and "I'm going to turn my thoughts into positive thinking." 

A key element to self-esteem is to know that you have a place in this world and no one else can fill it in quite the same way as YOU!  You are important, and you are here for a reason. There's another thing that helps me, and that's self-help books. You might think they are hokey, but sometimes they really do help. In fact, while writing this article, I looked over a book that friends in California sent me years ago. Its called "The Self Esteem Companion: Simple exercises to help you challenge your inner critic and celebrate your personal strengths." It is co written by several authors- Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch and Catherine Sutker.

In this book that I consulted, the authors state, "self esteem is crucial to a happy, fulfilling life. How we feel about ourselves affects virtually every aspect of our lives, from the way we function at work, in love, in sex, to the way we parent, to what we strive to achieve, " and I couldn’t agree more.

Having healthy self-esteem is important, and being able to maintain it can be a regular workout, but it’s worth it. Next time you find your self esteem suffering, sit down, tell yourself "I am going to be okay," and say it over and over again. Eventually you will start to believe it and your self-esteem won't take such a blow with whatever experiences life throws your way.

In fact, once I am done this article, I am going to do an exercise from the book I have mentioned above. I am going to make a list of all the people in my life-past and present-whom I have somehow touched and then I am going to write down how they have impacted me, and then I will curl up with a good book and try to relax. I'm going to pay attention to the voice within that says "I need some self care." After all, if I'm going to give advice, I need to also follow it.

Low self-esteem can make or break you, and it coincides with your healing journey and where you are at in it. Everyone has their ups and downs, but it is up to you to recognize that "hey, I need to work on this” so that you can be a better person in the long run.

Please note- this article is now appearing in the November issue of New Tribe Magazine. You can visit the link at

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