Self-esteem tends to fluctuate over time, depending on your circumstances. It’s normal to go through times when you feel down — or especially good — about yourself. Generally, however, self-esteem stays in a range that reflects how you feel about yourself overall. Overly high self-esteem. If you regard yourself more highly than others do, you might have an unrealistically positive view of yourself. When you have an inflated sense of self-esteem, you often feel superior to those around you. Such feelings can lead you to become arrogant or self-indulgent and believe that you deserve special privileges. Low self-esteem. When you have low or negative self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You focus on your perceived weaknesses and faults and give scant credit to your skills and assets. You believe that others are more capable or successful. You might be unable to accept compliments or positive feedback. You might fear failure, which can hold you back from succeeding at work or school. Healthy self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem lies between these two extremes. It means you have a balanced, accurate view of yourself. For instance, you have a good opinion of your abilities but recognize your flaws. When you understand your own worth, you invite the respect of others. Self-esteem affects virtually every facet of your life. Maintaining a healthy, realistic view of yourself isn’t about blowing your own horn. It’s about learning to like and respect yourself — faults and all. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/self-esteem/MH00128
Too many people overvalue
what they are not and
undervalue what they are.
Malcolm S. Forbes
Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself — how you honestly feel about your abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You might constantly worry that you aren’t “good enough.” Self-esteem begins to form in early childhood. Factors that can influence self-esteem include:
* Your own thoughts and perceptions
* How other people react to you
* Experiences at school, work and in the community
* Illness, disability or injury
* Role and status in society
Relationships with those close to you — parents, siblings, peers, teachers and other important contacts — are especially important to your self-esteem. Many beliefs you hold about yourself today reflect messages you’ve received from these people over time. If your close relationships are strong and you receive generally positive feedback, you’re more likely to see yourself as worthwhile and have healthier self-esteem. If you receive mostly negative feedback and are often criticized, teased or devalued by others, you’re more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem. Still, your own thoughts have perhaps the biggest impact on self-esteem — and these thoughts are within your control. If you tend to focus on your weaknesses or flaws, you can learn to reframe negative thoughts and focus instead on your positive qualities. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/self-esteem/MH00128
The man who does not value himself,
cannot value anything or anyone.
When it comes to relationships, people generally say honesty is the best policy. And it turns out, people are right. Honesty is especially good for the lazy among us, because science now shows us that keeping secrets is hard work. A new study conducted at Tufts University shows that keeping a secret can feel physically burdensome. In the study, people were asked to remember a secret they were told and then to estimate how steep a hill was or how far a distance was. People who remembered meaningful secrets estimated the hills to be steeper and the distances to be longer. The study also looked specifically at the burdensome secret of infidelity. People who’d recently been unfaithful to their partners were asked to rate how much their infidelity bothered them, and then to evaluate the effort it took to complete tasks like carrying groceries and walking a dog. People whose infidelity bothered them more were also more likely to think the everyday task required more effort. It’s interesting that keeping other people’s secrets and keeping a secret about your own indiscretion have the same effect. I can understand feeling weighed down by the guilt of infidelity, but feeling physically burdened by keeping a friend’s secret? Relationships are enough work without feeling like you’re lugging a 50 pound suitcase up Mount Everest. Gena Kaufman http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/good-reason-not-keep-secrets-relationship-171200543.html
Lies and secrets…
they are like a cancer in the soul.
They eat away what is good
and leave only destruction behind.
From “Clockwork Prince”
by Cassandra Clare
Writing that both describes traumatic events in detail and also examines how we felt about these events at the time and feel about them now (describing both negative and positive emotions), is the only kind of writing about trauma that clinically has been associated with improved health . And this is accomplished in Pennebaker’s (Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas) experiments by only one hour of writing – fifteen minutes a day – over a four-day period. Later studies showed that the more days people wrote the more beneficial were the effects of writing. Dr. Pennebaker’s work is compelling. I knew nothing about it during the years when I was working on When the Piano Stops, my own memoir of recovering from incest (and Never Tell: The True Story of Overcoming a Terrifying Childhood, which was the title given its best-selling, UK print). From time to time during those years, my beloved uncle, who had a very limited understanding about what’s involved in healing from childhood sexual abuse, expressed concern about my continually revisiting the most horrifying experiences of my life. The information in this blog would have been great to share with him at that time, but of course I couldn’t. Today, however, I have the opportunity to share it with you, and I do so with the hope that if you’re a survivor of child abuse you’ll take it to heart, gather your internal resources, your memory, your pain, and your creativity, and write on! By Catherine McCall, MS, LMFT http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/overcoming-child-abuse/201209/how-and-why-writing-heals-wounds-child-abuse
We must be content to grow slowly.
Most of us will still barely be
at the beginning of our recovery
by the time we die.
But that is better than killing
ourselves pretending to be healthy.
There is a profound connection between writing and healing. Dr.James Pennebaker of the University of Texas, after considerable research, explained in his book, Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, that excessive holding back of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can place people at risk for both major and minor diseases. More than simply a catharsis or venting, translating events into language can affect brain and immune functions. The subjects he tested had an increase in germ-fighting lymphocytes in their blood and lower stress levels. Writing was found to reduce anxiety and depression, improve grades in college, and aid people in finding jobs. He also reported that months after people had written about traumas over 70% reported that writing helped them to understand both the event and themselves better. Writing provides a means to externalize traumatic experience and therefore render it less overwhelming. At the same time, as the upsetting experience is repeatedly confronted, the emotional reactivity one feels as s/he assesses its meaning and impact is weakened. Once organized, traumatic events become smaller and smaller and therefore easier to deal with. Having distilled complex experiences into more understandable packages, survivors can begin to move beyond trauma because the process of writing about it provides a means for the experience to become psychologically complete, therefore there’s no more reason to ruminate about it. But not just any kind of writing will do. Dr.Pennebaker explains that the more writing succeeds as narrative – by being detailed, organized, compelling, vivid, and lucid – the more health and emotional benefits are derived. Likewise, over time, the work of inhibiting traumatic narratives and feelings acts as an ongoing stressor and gradually undermines the body’s defenses. By Catherine McCall, MS, LMFT http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/overcoming-child-abuse/201209/how-and-why-writing-heals-wounds-child-abuse
A journal is a tool for self-discovery,
an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul,
a place to generate and capture ideas,
a safety valve for the emotions,
a training ground for the writer,
and a good friend and confident.
Trust your heart; if it is ready to embrace someone who has harmed you, it will open, without force. Indeed, by giving yourself permission to say “no,” to follow your truth, you are offering yourself the only real chance you have to genuinely want to be with them, at some time. Without permission to say “no,” we cannot find the authentic desire to say “yes.” And if that desire never comes, that too is as spiritual a path as any other. Spirituality is not about becoming the person that you are supposed to be — not about doing the “spiritual” thing. To be spiritual is to compassionately welcome your truth — what you actually feel — whether you like that truth or not. To be spiritual is to stop trying to be a more spiritual and open-hearted version of yourself, and instead, to open your heart without judgment to who and how you actually are. Perhaps the hardest task of all, being spiritual is about letting yourself — and what is so — be. By Nancy Colier “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in It Is Not More Spiritual” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-colier/toxic-relationships_b_2758794.html
To be true to yourself takes courage. It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open-minded and fair. It does not mean that you are inconsiderate or disrespectful of others. It means that you will not let others define you or make decisions for you that you should make for yourself. Be true to the very best that is in you and live your life consistent with your highest values and aspirations. Those who are most successful in life have dared to creatively express themselves and in turn, broaden the experiences and perspectives of everyone else. http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/betruetoyourself.html
Few are those
who see with
their own eyes
and feel with
their own hearts.
… being able to “open your heart” to someone who has caused you tremendous pain is… not a test of your spirituality. Many people deliberately put themselves in company with family and “friends” who are profoundly painful for them to be with, in an effort to develop forgiveness or compassion, and because they feel they “should.” And yet, if your heart is not open, and the desire to be with this other is not emanating from a place of true compassion, it does you no spiritual good to do what you “should.” Pushing harder does not create more compassion. Like getting through a grueling spin class, there is a sense of accomplishment, of being able to stay in the room without collapsing or fleeing, but this is not the same thing as spiritual growth. The choice to exclude a person or experience from your life can be the more compassionate choice — for yourself. And indeed, when your heart opens to your own suffering, and your own well-being, that compassion for yourself can open wide enough to include even the one who caused you suffering. But this is something that your heart will tell you — not something that your mind can decide or force. Spirituality is not a test. Being spiritual is about being with what is. If you feel toxic when in the company of someone who has hurt you, then you earn no spiritual points by forcing yourself to be there, and enduring that toxicity. We behave with spirit when we accept our experience the way it is. Deciding to not be with someone who makes you feel terrible, even if that person is your family or “friend,” is an act of courage — honoring yourself and the truth. By Psychotherapist, interfaith minister, writer and public speaker Nancy Colier “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in It Is Not More Spiritual” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-colier/toxic-relationships_b_2758794.html
Just remember, there’s a right way
and a wrong way to do everything
and the wrong way is to keep trying
to make everybody else do it the right way.
Spoken by Colonel Potter
on TV show M.A.S.H.