I Dare You to Move: Keys to Healthy Self Esteem

Self esteem can be simply defined as the way that an individual internally views and values their physical, social, mental and emotional self. You may already know that your self esteem – or lack of – impacts nearly every cognitive decision that you make. But how does it affect your non conscious decisions in the psychological realm? How you view yourself directly impacts how you perceive the world around you, and your relationship to it.

Healthy self esteem balances the internal person to be in harmony with the world. Based on the personality type of the individual, healthy self esteem can manifest in many ways, for each individual personality type has a distinct way of showing itself. Here are some basics to evaluate your own self esteem:

Internally Secure. A healthy individual feels safe within themselves; they are not often beset by feelings of worry or dread. Healthy individuals may be emotive but not overly emotional in a negative sense, for their center is their grounding place. When you look into your own eyes in the mirror, what do you see? Are you comfortable with the synergy between your external actions and your internal person? Are you consciously seeking a healthy balance between life stressors and the internal needs you sense?

Biggest Loser. People with low self esteem are not always the demure, self doubting wall flowers that one might expect. It is often the loudest voice in the room that dominates conversations who drives himself with need for approval. In business meetings, classroom settings and relationships alike, individuals with low self esteem have a desire to be considered both knowledgeable and in control. Self esteem projects into the personality that others perceive and react too, both through positive and negative forces. A well grounded self esteem shows in an equally visible manner – people with healthy self esteem are naturally magnetic. They attract attention because of their smile, confidence and willingness to treat people equally. Given that they do not require the approval of others to feed their confidence as the primary source of acceptance, individuals with healthy self esteem are often able and willing to offer a helping hand or listening ear.

It’s all about me. Unhealthy self esteem can manifest as arrogance or complete self focus. Do you read the blog of a friend or associate and immediately assume that person is talking to/about you? Do unknown conversations in your presence make you feel nervous or convicted? Low self esteem can feed or direct fear of change, rejection or even harm. A person that grew up in an unhealthy family environment where appropriate love and affirmation are not provided may find stasis in overcompensating through this channel of feeling.

How to Change

You’re ready for a new year and a new you. You’ve made the decision that you want to turn a healthy minute into a healthy life. Where do you begin to change, now that you’ve dared yourself to move out of complacency and into a life of discovery?

First, assess yourself. Mentors are great, don’t get me wrong – but mentors and advisors all come with their own set of lenses. Begin by knowing who you are and what your goals are….I have discovered through my process that the only person that knows for sure what and how you feel is you. I started with the Enneagram test, found free online at http://www.similarminds.com/test.html. After testing, I took myself to the library and studied what the personality types meant, and how they looked both healthy and unhealthy. Following that, I began to research therapies that might be relevant to my own focus. For me, that was beginning with family of origin in my younger years, and more recently, relationships and boundaries. After interviewing a few prospective individuals and choosing a personal mentor who would confront me in a loving way, I set measurable goals to assess my own health, and wrote a journal of that metamorphosis daily.

Here is the caution that I have found to offer you. Well meaning, well intentioned faithful individuals give horrible advice. That pastor, friend and sibling that would never steer you wrong – they will almost inevitably have less than most the facts. A ranking as “holy” or aged doesn’t automatically win the Pulitzer for wisdom. Chose what you let in your in as carefully as you choose what you put in your body – garbage in, garbage out. Avoid believing clich├ęs and “sage” advice. Challenge advice that you’re given to see how it actually applies to you and your destiny, contrasting with the individual who is trying to help. Is theirs’ the life what you want? Are the people and situations in your life healthy for you – and you for them? Does the person offering you advice possess the destiny that beckons to you?

Seeking a balance in your self image and personal esteem is not about external image, wealth, power or even other people. It’s about being a fully vested human being with love and grace to spare for others, mainly because you’re not constantly wearing yourself out proving to yourself/others that you’re worthwhile. Finally, don’t be a selfish person – by being “selfless” and keeping your whole world tied in knots as you drown in your own emotionality, or by just being a jerk. Focusing on yourself and your internal esteem is a journey of discovery and it will be both long and painful if you’re doing the hard work of discovering who you truly are after years of compensating. You may have decades of compound bad choices from health to relationships to deal with and assess. You will not be the same person that you are now – and those changes might also change your outward appearance, relationships, marriage status, profession – you name it. Just as a caution in this time of self discovery if your empathy for people is low, know it and beware. The first step to becoming healthier should not involve stepping on someone else. Allow a few trusted, honest people into that circle of confidence and then prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.

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