You are only as wonderful as you believe yourself to be. It really does not matter how many compliments you receive from others, if you do not believe it in your heart, you will not be able to accept it. The key to self-esteem is speaking it into existence. If you have been told you are a loser all your life, you begin to believe it at some point. It has been spoken into existence. On the other hand, if you have received nothing but encouragement and those, “You can do it” speeches, you learn to trust your judgment and explore your possibilities. It has been spoken into existence. But, no matter what has been programmed into your spirit, you can begin TODAY to turn it around.
It has been said that it takes 21-days to reprogram your habits. If you would like to learn a new habit, simply practice it continuously for 21 days. If you would like to break an old habit, restrain yourself from practicing it continuously for 21 days. This is not an exact Science, you understand. Some deeply implanted practices may take a little longer to eliminate. For instance, kicking a habit you have had for 30 years may not be as easy as kicking one you have only been practicing for 1 year. Whatever the case may be, you must stick to it in order to effect a positive change.
As far as self-esteem is concerned, it may take practice, but you have power over it. Be determined to wake up everyday with a POSITIVE attitude toward you life. Since death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), begin speaking life to yourself and those around you. Speak powerful, positive words aloud (maybe when you are alone–it can be embarrassing and inappropriate to do this in front of other people–use your judgment). At the same time, when negative thoughts come to mind, practice not saying them aloud. Then, eliminate them from your mind ASAP. Remember, anything you SAY can be “used against you.” You can practice this at home, at your desk at work, in the car (especially in traffic), or wherever you spend your private moments. Once you get in the habit of speaking positive words about your surroundings, don’t forget to speak positive words about yourself. Tell yourself that you look nice today (instead of waiting for someone else to say it for you–as you know, they do not always get around to it). Tell yourself that you are intelligent, independent, and capable of effecting great and positive change upon your family, your environment, your community, or even your government. You will be surprised how high your self-respect will become after practicing these guidelines over a period of time. Don’t wait for others to set your mood (they don’t always do a good job of this), set your own POSITIVE mood before you even get out of bed in the morning, and carry it throughout your day…EVERY DAY. Establish tools that you will use to deflect those negative attitudes that come from those around you. You MUST have a plan prepared because, as you know, it happens at the most unexpected, inopportune moments.
If you do not take care of yourself, no one else may take the job. You are responsible for your own life and everything regarding your inner beauty. No matter whom you have involvement with from day-to-day; you cannot blame them for their negative impact on you. It is your responsibility to filter the information that approaches you. Practice accepting the positive things that come your way (compliments, encouragement, goal-setting), while deflecting and/or eliminating the negative things (bad attitudes, gossip, bad jokes, put-downs). If you find that you are surrounded by people with CONSTANT negative attitudes, negative comments, and non-supportive dispositions, you may need to make a decision to separate yourself from them in your daily dealings, if possible, and find yourself some new friends. Sometimes this is not possible when they are co- workers or family members you must have involvement with. In these cases, try limiting the contact as much as possible and/or let them know up front that you will not tolerate any more negativity from them. Once they begin seeing the positive changes in you, they may jump on-board. Of course, you will not be successful in winning every battle, but keep pushing forward.
Most important, never surround yourself with people who do not have goals. These people are going nowhere because they have no plan. We must aspire to be better people! Without setting long and short term goals, we will have no positive movement in our lives. A successful, self-assured person has a plan. Begin to keep a journal, and put things into writing. Short-term goals can be anything you aspire to accomplish within one day, one week, one month, or even up to one year. These are normally day-to-day errands, friends to contact or visit, bills to pay off, classes to attend, etc. Long-term goals are things you aspire to accomplish in the next 1-5 years, or even the next 10 years. These are normally plans for getting debt-free, cars you plan to buy, houses you plan to purchase, getting married, or even children you plan to start having. Whatever your goals, record them on paper because it makes it more concrete, and can even serve as a written contract for yourself. Once you have written these goals down, you must also write out a plan for how you plan to ACHIEVE them. Simply KNOWING your goals is not enough; you must also make plans to ACHIEVE them.
So let’s review. Wake up every morning with a conscious determination to be positive. Begin speaking positive words to your Spirit and to your environment, while keeping negative comments to yourself and eliminating them from your mind. Practicing these things for 21-days or more will turn them into habits. Surround yourself with people who are positive and who have goals. Begin to separate yourself from negative situations, attitudes, and people (even if they are family members). Start a journal where you begin to write down your long and short-term goals, along with a plan to achieve them. All of these things will make you more self-aware, which, in turn, will raise your self-esteem. Don’t worry about what others think of you, unless they are reasonable, loving contributions. What really matters is what God believes of you and what you believe of yourself. Others come last, until they have proven themselves to be WORTHY of contributing their opinion to your life. From the words of Whitney Houston’s song, “…learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”