Friday, August 28, 2009

Self-esteem is a Verb

People think Self-esteem is a noun. "I don't have very much self-esteem." It's not. It's a verb.

Self - esteem mean you esteem your self.
First, in childhood, your parents esteem you. Or they should. Parents tell a child they are valuable and esteemable. Then the child internalizes it. If this didn't happen adequately for you, take heart, it didn't for most of us. That is not a life sentence. You don't have to have the level of self-esteem you had in childhood, or adolescence, for a lifetime.

If you want to remain a victim of your history, the choice is yours; but no one (but you) has to give you permission to esteem yourself. That may come as a surprise. Actually there are a lot of societal messages against good self-esteem. "Don't be a braggart." Some families have loyalty binds requiring one or more children to have worse self-esteem than one or both parents; this is often true in families effected by addiction.

If you feel that you have low self-esteem, that is a valid, painful experience. Rather than say "I have low self-esteem" as a permanent state, you might reframe it as, "as a child and teen I felt very badly about myself and I was inadequately esteemed by my parents."

But today, "I believe I am worth esteem." This is a thought that will change your feelings.

If you notice that you feel less than others, affirm to yourself that we are all equals, all children of God, all precious. Give yourself compliments. Accept them from others.

Do esteem-able acts. Part of recovery - from addictions or codependency - is to live a life where you are living in line with your values. Give yourself credit for your good qualities and actions. Accept credit given you by others.


Links:

National Association of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem Test

How to Develop Self-Esteem





Books by Jean Illsley Clarke

Growing Up Again - Second Edition: Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children by Connie Dawson and Jean Illsley Clarke

How Much Is Enough?: Everything You Need to Know to Steer Clear of Overindulgence and Raise Likeable, Responsible and Respectful Ch by Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, and David Bredehoft

Self-Esteem: A Family Affair by Jean Illsley Clarke

Time-In: When Time-Out Doesn't Work by Jean Illsley Clarke

Printable Affirmations for Children:
SEAFA Affirmations for BECOMING from work of Jean Illsley Clarke SEAFA is the abbreviation for Self-Esteem: A Family Affair, a course written and designed by Jean. Illsley Clarke.

Jane Rekas

LCSW, CHt

Jane Rekas is a Licsensed Clinical Social Worker at Turtle Dove Counseling and Hood River DBT, Certified Hypnotist at Hood River Hypnosis, Reiki Master at Rekas Reiki, Astrologer at Astrological Counsel, and Seasonal Color Analyst at Expressing Your Truth.

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