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Posts Tagged ‘self-esteem’

Among all of life’s uncertainties, there are few certainties. One such certainty is that if we want things to be different, we must be willing to change. You may recall the definition of insanity… “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It’s a pretty accurate definition and when we stay on the path leading to nowhere, we can drive ourselves crazy.

The question is… Where does change begin? It can be daunting to think about all of the things we feel need to change in our lives, but in thinking of ALL of them, we become overwhelmed and may continue on that same path. To put it into perspective let me give you an example I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been able to relate to: You get up in the morning, head out the door into mad traffic to get to your job downtown. You find yourself anxious and beeping before you even pull into the parking garage. Then, it’s time to go into your office, sit in your cubicle and open your email to find that corporate has changed policies… Again. You go about your day with the looming question of how you can keep up another day doing a job you like, but don’t plan to remain in forever. In fact, you secretly wish to work as something completely different and in an office closer to home. You watch the clock and finally it’s 5 p.m. You head out the door, back into traffic and eventually make it home where you’re dreading having to get up in the morning for another day at the office and you completely miss out on the experiences of being at home. Worry takes over and you’re keyed up, taking it out on everyone around you when in reality you just need a change.

Sound even somewhat familiar? You may not have that exact experience, but you may still be able to relate. Changing our lives is certainly not easy and what’s more, how do we know where to begin? How do we determine what will get us closer to what we want? How do we determine if it’s we who need to change or it’s our circumstances?

Change in any form is difficult. I’ve touched on this in past posts, but it warrants another mention. Allow me to self disclose for a moment. I have low self-esteem. Surprised? Probably not. I tend to beat myself up so much at times that no matter what accolades others could give, I can’t see what they see. I take on people’s problems as if I was the one who caused them. I laugh at the wrong times. I talk too much at times and I tend to assume no one at all likes me. If people do say they like me, I tell myself that they’re just saying that because it’s impossible for anyone to like me. Sad, isn’t it? As a result of this irrational thinking, I have told myself more times than I can count that I need to be different or that I need to apologize for everything I’ve ever done and pray that I wake up different the next day.

What I have been trying to do, however, is accept those parts of myself that will be the way they are regardless of what happens and identify parts that could use some real work. I realized only more recently that I was trying to change way too much at one time. I was spending so much effort complaining about the way things were and the way I was that I missed some very important things in my life. I missed many opportunities to just live life. Change is inevitable, but I was overly focused on where my change would begin or how it would begin that I never actually changed. It was the same story over and over.

I encourage you to consider whether you’re trying to change too much in your life or if you are able to make small changes that will lead you onto a new path where you’re feeling happier, healthier and more able to enjoy the life that has been given to you. Once you identify the change, determine where you will begin and don’t sit on it. Take action and you will be amazed what can happen.

Until next time…

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Feeling good about our bodies is a great challenge for millions of people across the globe. The infomercials are endless: “Is your butt drooping? Need a lift? Call us at 555-1234 and we will give you the bottom you never imagined;” “Frizzy hair? For just four easy payments of $19.95 you can try our anti-frizz product line that is guaranteed to give you the hair you always dreamed of or your money back;” “I lost 100 pounds on NutriSystem and now my life is so much more meaningful and exciting.”

The only thing these type of infomercials should guarantee is lower self-esteem.

We’ve all seen such things on television, along with the endless advertisements in fashion magazines that leave us feeling like we are the least attractive people on the planet. But how do you respond?

I stopped buying fashion magazines three years ago and refuse to look at them while in waiting rooms. I didn’t make this decision solely based on how I felt even more imperfect after viewing them, but also because I have seen videos on how such advertisements are created. Most of the things we see are computer-generated touch-ups that quickly dot out a pimple, red spot or mole. The technology can also cut around individuals to make them appear several inches smaller than they are in reality and can change their hair color to reflect the most admirable shades of brown, blonde and black.

Sad, but true.

I grew up hating myself and my body. I still don’t completely like my appearance, but I’m working hard to build my confidence and self-esteem. One of the things that is helping is identifying which body parts I dislike and instead of changing them, I’m focusing more on what purpose those body parts serve; their function.

Each time I’ve looked at my toes this week (which, by the way, are in the picture above), I’ve reminded myself that they help me to stand up. When I’ve felt as if my stomach is growing, I’ve said to myself, “It digesting food and it’s a very important and necessary part of life.” See my point?

It’s odd how when I’ve heard others complaining about their looks this week, I’ve instantly thought of how silly they sound and how I sound like that more often than I care to acknowledge. I’m finding that I’m now more able to take the thoughts and feelings about myself and my body and turn them into self-esteem builders.

My challenge for you this week is to make a list of the things you like and don’t like about your body and then make another list that states what functions those parts of your body serve. Then, try focusing more on the function list and see if your perspective changes at all. It may or it may not, but what’s the harm in trying?

Until next time…

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On my drive up from Kentucky this morning I was listening to a powerful song called “Piece of Glass” by Caedmon’s Call about living with an eating disorder. The song talks about how every day with the disorder leads to living a little bit less. The grander message behind the song, however, is the power our mirrors can have over us. The chorus features words that may resonate with you:

“Who are you that lies
when you stare at my face
telling me that I’m just a trace
of the person I once was
’cause I just can’t tell if you’re telling the truth or a lie;
on you I just can’t rely.
After all you’re just a piece of glass.”

In a beauty-obsessed world, facing the mirror daily can be a challenge for many of us. Whether you struggle with an eating disorder, body image and self-esteem issues, or nothing in particular, standing in front of that piece of glass can create a pain that pierces deep into the soul. “I just want to be beautiful,” you may say to yourself.

The reality is that each and every human being was created differently. There can be only one you and only one me. We can stare into the mirror for hours trying every new product to make ourselves look better and fit the world’s acceptable mold, but in the process we may lose ourselves.

As Caedmon’s Call sings, “After all you’re just a piece of glass.”

And it’s true.

The mirror is just a piece of glass encased, and sometimes not, in a man-made frame to be hung on our walls. Designers may use these mirrors to add the illusion of space to small rooms, but for some the mirrors are a reminder of all that is wrong with them and what they wish they can change.

Sadly, these desired changes can extend beyond the physical. It may start with wanting fuller lips and end with “I’m such a failure. I just want a husband, a good career and a family.”

The shattered reality behind the mirror is that it only has as much power as we let it have. If we look inside that piece of glass and use it to judge and manipulate ourselves, then we have given it a power it doesn’t deserve. We may stare and stare and stare hoping that one thing, anything, will change and we may walk away feeling tortured when it doesn’t. We take power away from our soul and place it on a manufactured item that can be bought for less than $10.

Is that what we really want to direct our future or to tell us who we are and who we can become?

I’ll be the first to admit that I hate looking in the mirror. I do it, but I hate it. I’m rarely satisfied with what I see staring back. The mirror “speaks” in a negative tone pointing out all I need to be in order for it to show me beauty. It does that because I let it happen.

Next time you look in the mirror, what will you see? What will you allow the piece of glass to tell you about you?

“Who are you that lies when you stare at my face?
Telling me that I’m just a trace of the person I once was
‘Cause we’re not the same, you’re just a picture of me.
You’re gone as soon as I leave. You’ve lived your life for me.
And you’re no more than a piece of glass…”

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