|Celebrate Yourself: Enhancing Your Self-Esteem (adapted from the work of Dorothy Briggs)|
Your Belief System About You:
Who are you? You are not your name, age, size, shape, roles, values, relationships or self-image. You are your Essential Being, unlike any other. You are changeless, yet always in process.
The path to inner personal freedom and true self-worth involves being willing to become aware of how you make pain for yourself. Ask yourself: "What kinds of things am I saying to myself about me?" This includes the thoughts in your head as well as what you say about yourself to others. Negative past experiences and teachings may have influenced you to feel unlovable and/or inadequate. These feelings can further influence you to act accordingly. Negative self-statements limit the options you give yourself. They imprison you. Watch out for words like should, must, ought and have to. Change these words to wish, prefer, want and choose. Change every 'can't' to a 'won't' or 'choose not to' (except for those that come from a reality-based disability). You can choose to reprogram the negative and inaccurate parts of your self-image.
You can also choose to agree or disagree with how others perceive you. You can give them space to say, think or do whatever they're saying, thinking or doing about you; while simultaneously checking inside yourself to see if you can find any validation for their theories. You can be quite self-nurturing by consistently giving yourself private 'support talk,' owning your mistakes and relishing your strengths and successes. This will allow you to become aware of your 'Real Self' feelings and maintain a strong sense of personal and self-worth. When you get up in the morning, go to the mirror and talk to yourself! Look yourself in the eyes and say out loud to yourself:
"I LIKE YOU! YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE AND HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE HERE, TO LIKE YOURSELF AND TO ENJOY LIFE!"
Here are some affirmations you may need to give yourself (in the mirror) each morning. They are listed according to the age at which the original wound might have occurred:
Birth to six months old: Being.
I'm glad you're here, You have every right to be here, Your needs are OK with me, We're glad you're a girl/boy, You don't have to hurry, We like to hold you, We love you.
Six months to one and 1/2 years old: Doing.
We're glad that you are doing things, You don't have to be cute, do tricks, be sick, etc. in order to get our approval/attention, we love you just for being you, It's OK to try things, It's OK to be curious, It's OK to be intuitive, It's OK to make mistakes, It's OK to get support and protection at the same time.
One and 1/2 to three years old: Thinking.
You can think about things, We're glad you are learning how to think problems through, It's OK for you to be angry, It's OK to think and feel at the same time, You don't have to take care of us, You can think about your own wants and needs.
Three to six years old: Mastering.
I'm glad you are learning to separate your feelings from your actions, It's OK to ask for your needs to be met, You can act powerfully and still have needs, You don't have to act scared, sick, sad or mad for your needs to be taken care of, You can make straight forward requests based on your feelings.
Six to twelve years old: Individuating.
We're glad you are learning how to be independent, We're glad you are learning to think for yourself and to come to your own conclusions, It's OK to trust your own thoughts and feelings, You can do it your way, It's OK to disagree, You don't have to suffer to get your needs met.