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May 23, 2012

Healthy Self Esteem

source: Kathy Seifert, PhD

Self-esteem is how well you think of yourself. It is important to children and adults, alike. Self-esteem is believing an caring as much for yourself as you do other people. It's being as kind to yourself as you would be to someone else.

Some people care more for others than they do themselves. They feel that others are taking advantage of them, but they feel unable to speak out or to say, no. It is time for them to take back control of their lives and raise their self-esteem.


They way in which you were raised can affect your self-esteem. If discipline was harsh or shaming, you might have learned to not believe in yourself. You may find it difficult to express your needs and your opinions easily. This leads to low self-esteem.

Our childhood memories were seen and are remembered through our "child's eyes". Did you know as much as a child as you do as an adult? No, of course you didn't. What you know as an adult can reorganize memories into more appropriate patterns. Revisiting them through adult eyes can reframe the memory, so that you no longer take responsibility for actions and events over which you had no control. You can also see your childhood mistakes as part of the growing up process that we all went though, rather than something which marked you as not as good as everyone else.

Some care more for themselves than for others. That is not self-esteem, it is self-absorption. Balance between the needs of the self, the needs of the community, and the needs of other individuals is what is needed.

There are many things you can do to consciously raise your self-esteem.
  1. *Take good care of yourself. Do nice things for yourself that bring you pleasure. Do as much for yourself as you would a good friend.
  2. *Learn to say "no" when saying "yes" is not in your best interest. Balance what you do for others and what you do for yourself. Realize that you are just as important as others are. Let others take care of their own needs more often. Life involves give and take. Both are important.
  3. *Be active in a civic or social organization in your community. This gives you opportunities to help your community and to realize the valuable skills that you have to offer.
  4. *Use positive affirmations or positive self-talk every day. Make a list of your positive traits and put it on the refrigerator. Read them several times a day. Put a post-it note on your mirror that says "I like me." or "I'm a good person" or some similar phrase. Say the phrase out loud several times a day.
  5. *Every time you criticize yourself, replace automatic negative self-evaluations with positive ones. Accept your mistakes as a learning process and make a commitment to change.
  6. *Remind yourself that you are a good person and that you have a lot to offer. Cherish yourself and your positive relationships and activities.
  7. *Take what you have learned about life and "pass it on".
Author: Kathy Seifert, PhD
Author email: drkathy2@cswebmail.com

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