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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Universal Laws for Self-Esteem

Many of us are plagued by self-esteem issues at various times in life.  No one is 100% confident and self-assured and we all have things that make us more self-conscious.  The key to true self-esteem is not becoming "perfect" - because no such thing exists, nor is it just giving up and giving in - because that means you are accepting mediocrity instead of actually living up to your fullest potential. 

My art teacher told us one day that if someone says you have potential it's the kiss of death.  Why? Because potential implies that your greatness is not in action - it's somewhere in the future, a distant possibility.  Without actions - potential means squat.  So many people have untapped potential - something inside of them that is wonderful and interesting that the world would benefit from seeing.  Each person has this seed of potential, but, let's be honest, in most people it is dormant or not used to it's full capacity. 

Have you ever noticed how there are millions of books, magazines, and other products on self-esteem and something most of them have in common is that they require action on the part of the reader.  Self-confidence is not going to fall into your lap.  Sustained confidence is a practice - like exercise it requires consistent effort and the reward is entirely dependent on what you put into it.  Like muscle, you have to build and maintain self-esteem.  The beauty is that once it's established it is easier to maintain that to build from the ground up. 

This "inspired action" is one of the 12 universal laws.  Many books suggests affirmations - which are great as one aspect of building your self-confidence, but repeating a bunch of mantras in your head that you do not believe will actually have an opposite effect (see the previous post on how affirmations may be sabotaging you) What you must do is take positive, constructive action to build your confidence. 

Do you feel your best after you've completed a project or reached a goal? Most of us do by design.
Set goals for yourself - even small ones and check them off as you accomplish them.  Don't set all goals to be something very distant or difficult, because you will give up without giving it your all. 

For example if your ultimate goal is to run your first 5k - set small goals that lead up to the big goal - and keep a visual record of what you have accomplished.  Start by running for 2 minutes and then 5 and then a half mile and then a mile and so on.  This process allows you to see growth at a glance and the result? more confidence, more self-esteem - because you realize you are capable of pushing yourself and reaching great things. You are persistently and consistently reaching goals that will keep you on the path - instead of seeing only one goal that right out of the gate is going to be impossible for someone with no previous experience.

Our desire for instant gratification in today's modern world often sabotages self-esteem.  We figure if we can't pick something up and do it well immediately that either we suck or aren't talented enough etc.  The truth is all skills take time - there are never ANY EXPERTS ever at anything.  To say someone is an "expert" is to imply that there is nothing more to learn in that field/practice.  If you become an "expert" you stop growing.  

Embrace the fact that you don't have to be "perfect" to be valuable.  Perfect is what is - you are already perfect at being who you are - so grow where you are planted and stop waiting for the self-esteem to find you because it doesn't happen that way.  Go after it, build it by building yourself up - and then maintain it by visually looking back at all you have achieved. 

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