Self-esteem is an intricate part of being successful in life. I'm talking about true success derived from our own personal measure of success as a person. Sure, we can make six figure salaries, have lots of associates, and even meet some of our personal goals yet never feel like we are worthy or feel proud of the person we have become. Eventually this lack of self-esteem leads to the demise and death of our souls and overall well-being.
For me, success is me growing in my spiritual life, overcoming the hurdles with peace and tact, being the person that encourages growth in my husband and children, and to always strive to better myself physically, emotionally, and mentally. This has nothing to do with personal goals I have for my life: finishing my Master's degree, opening my own counseling business, improving my writing and creating a journal, becoming healthier and more fit, and so forth. My self-esteem is more attached to who I want to see and know in the mirror as opposed to who others see and physical accomplishments. When I learned to separate the two my true self-esteem grew.
There is a misconception that presentation has a direct relationship with self-esteem and that can be false. People who take the extra time to doll themselves up, look or speak confidently, or have titles or big bank accounts do not always have healthy self-esteems and people who choose to not take extra time adding make up and pretty clothing, do not hold fancy titles, degrees, and so forth are not necessarily on the lower end of the self-esteem scale. While there are many tools that help to assess self-esteem and even depression, only being honest with yourself can give you the definite answer to where you stand as far as having a healthy self-esteem or not. Psychology today has a valid online assessments available: online self-esteem quiz from Psychology Today (Click to take). For our purpose, here are some more in depth areas to help us figure out if our self-esteem needs repair.
These are just a few questions in broad areas that can help us determine if our self-esteem needs improvement and what areas we need to attack. Ultimately, improved self-esteem will come from within, nothing external. Begin with the positive affirmation sheet that you can download below. Place a picture of yourself (or write your name) in the middle and write positive affirmations to tell yourself daily or nightly before bed in the thought bubbles. Each month try to develop new affirmations that coincide with personal growth goals and/or areas where you exhibit the most negative self-talk! For instance, If you would like to improve the way you treat others you can begin by making positive affirmations to yourself and include that you are also respectful and kind to others.
I hope you step into a higher level of self-esteem utilizing my free POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS worksheet below and taking the online self-esteem test linked below.
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Life gets scary sometimes and taking leaps of faith require the ultimate courage and ignoring things and people around us that impose their fears upon us. It is equally as hard to make decisions that lead toward our destiny or dreams in a day in age where all the data, statistics, and previous experiences cause us to lose Faith in the One who controls it all. Tidbit of advice, if we look for things to support or discredit our decisions we will find both, because we tend to find whatever we go looking for in life. I’d like to think that that’s a good thing because if we go looking for success, we actually find that eventually too. The key is to not let other’s approval or disapproval dictate our lives. Our society lives to place judgments, past experience, and ideals on someone else’s life and it is not always an accurate depiction of reality or the future. Take a leap of faith and don’t get discouraged along the way. Success is not always a straight path or even an uphill battle. There may be ups and downs, but it doesn’t mean you are not on the right path.
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Self-Assessment/evaluation is one of the most important internal tools needed for personal and often professional growth. It is not to be confused with situation or incident-evaluation. Self-Assessment is geared toward growth in areas of weakness and honing in on strengths and goals through intentional efforts. For personal use, its important to ask the right questions.
For example, if we are struggling with building and maintaining positive relationships then we would focus on what type of people we are gravitating towards, actions that deter people from us, and possibly asking others why they have decided not to remain close to us. The solution is not to blame others for not wanting to remain in a relationship, but try to understand why it is not occurring organically.
Another example, if we are unhappy with our spouses life and/or career it would be appropriate to seek understanding of what we actually want out of life and what actions can be taken to achieve it. Sometimes this calls for a change in career or profession and dissolving relationships in our lives. Most often it calls for understanding that external things cannot bring us lifelong happiness, but engaging in activities that bring us joy does. It is no one else's responsibility to make us enjoy life, that is a decision we must make for ourselves despite circumstance.
Lastly, when we begin to engage in self-assessment, we must be ready to be honest with ourselves and make intentional decisions that lead toward improvements over time. It is not a one-time thing that will magically improve who we are without increased efforts. Stay tuned for more next week as I will focus on self-assessment for low self-esteem with a free self-assessment template
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Jane walks into the room and turns in Thomas’ direction and waves at him, but he doesn’t wave back, just nods. Jane wonders why Thomas has barely spoken to her in two days during their training. She thought they had such a great start and that they would surely be a wonderful team. As this festers on her mind, she decides that she will not speak to Thomas any longer and sit by someone else for the remainder of the training for a new realtor company.
Jane's perception of the way Thomas greeted her was that he disliked her or that she had done something wrong. In turn, she responded by deciding that this angered or hurt her and that she would not speak to him any longer.
Thomas was seated at the table early, he had been eager to start his new career and was fond of his assigned partner, Jane. At his previous job, he made the mistake of becoming “more than friends” with his partner and ultimately it had a negative impact on his work environment. The split had caused him to leave his old place of employment. He did not want this to happen again and decided to be a little “less friendly”, although he did enjoy the personality and eagerness of Jane. He decided he would greet her with a nod today instead of his usual hug when she walked in this morning, he did. Later, he wondered if Jane had caught wind of what happened at his old job or knew his ex-girlfriend because she became very distant by ignoring him for the remainder of the training.
Thomas’ perception of the way Jane began to act was that she disapproved of his past or had a negative view of him.
Jane’s dilemma includes:
Using others’ actions toward her to validate her self-worth
Irrational emphasis on greetings
Inappropriate responses to situations (instead of communicating she chose to ignore and be hurt)
Thomas’ dilemma includes:
Shame and embarrassment about his past
Assuming rather than communicating
Fear of confronting issues that affect his future
The way we perceive things greatly affects how we interact with one another in our homes, public places, and most often our work environments. Neither of their perceptions was actual reality, yet their inaccurate perception of the event influenced their decisions prior to and even after the incident. Through increasing our ability to communicate we can avoid losing great friendships, opportunities, and sleep over irrational thinking. When we can begin to identify areas of lack in our lives we can change how we perceive events that occur and respond appropriately. Additionally, when we learn how to appropriately communicate how we feel, we are more opt to express those feelings without applying inappropriate responses.
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When we change our minds, we can change our circumstances and how we feel about where we are in life and relationships. The power of a changed or made-up mind is so crucial in our efforts to change our circumstances, meet goals, love the life we have, and even the people we have in it. It is no easy task, but it is imperative to our happiness. As we move about our day we can change our thinking by repeating positive affirmations and referring to situations in our life as opportunities and not failures, trials, or negativity.
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Sometimes it's as easy as "doing the work" and sometimes it's gets as hard as "doing the REQUIRED work". Doing the required work even when it becomes enduring and tiresome. Continuing to do the required work when you look to the left and the right and it seems that others are not having to work as hard, their path is easier, they have passed you, their family is well put together, they smile, they make more money than you, have completed college, their kids are smarter, better dressed, they don't have to work... whatever... you keep working diligently. What you don't see is those others whose family has worked hard so their path can be easier, the prayers said in spite of tribulation that keeps that smile, the work required to make that money, the long nights of consistently doing HW and work put in to that child, the extra hours and time spent to make sure that child is dressed nicely to instill importance of self esteem and self worth. The bible says work without Faith is dead and so is Faith without Work. Stay diligent, looking only to the left and the right to remind yourself of what's possible. Look down at your work and allow God to direct your path instead of looking ahead and trying to direct your own. #MylessonLearned
PS. You cannot be so involved in other people's paths, lives, situations that you neglect to put in the required work in your own path, life, situations.. etc.
Recently, I read a post from a young lady asking if she should apply for a job that she did not feel she had adequate education and experience for at the time. She really wanted to apply for the job, but her own self-doubt and feeling of inadequacy was holding her back. She was reaching out seeking the overflowing encouragement of others because her own cup was probably dry. How often do we talk ourselves out of our best future because our past experience or in her case, lack thereof?
If we really want to see things come to pass in our lives, it must first occur in our minds. I can recall job opportunities obtained that required more degrees and/or more experience that I currently held, but because I had the mindset that "Those whom He calls, He also equips"...(See Hebrews 13:1 and Romans 8:30) I was not reluctant to apply for them. We must not be intimidated by the qualifications of man all the time. This does not mean we should not plan, continue to learn and progress, or work hard to achieve our goals. It means that we must know that above all, God is in charge and if He calls us to do something or has pre-destined us for a specific life, it will come to pass despite worldly circumstance. As long as we remain striving in the Will of God, He will direct our path.
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As the world pushes us to be on the top of our game, we can easily become burnt out, falling into a re-occurring rut. We are easily overwhelmed with responsibilities that cover a broad spectrum at our work places, our homes, communities, and even in our own minds. I cannot tell you how many times I have encountered individuals who seem to “not be able to keep up” and feeling like failures or are exhausted and unhappy with life. For a while, I was one of them, forever blaming my lack of being and feeling joy and happiness on situations, circumstances, and the people around me. Thank God I eventually woke up!
Here are some things I began to do to help me “give and get back to me”:
Please click on the attached document for a FREE #MYGOALS template to begin your journey today!
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I'm a firm believer that the hurdles/strongholds we do not overcome in this generation will be left to the next generation. The Devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy our future with our present. By attacking our present, he can change the course of future generations... our legacy. Confront things in our life that are not of Him: finish that degree, drop those bad habits, work on that marriage, open that savings account, decide to be active, be the first in our generation to complete something, develop a good attitude, and definitely don't allow the devil to plant new seeds that our children will have to defeat. Remember that we run the race that our children and their children and so forth will have to finish. We can be the game changer and the devil knows that, now we know it too and that's half the battle!
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Over the years parenting has taught me a lot and I've been able to see my weaknesses too! I have taken a more stern approach in parenting as they get older, but we all parent differently and that's 'ok'. We do the best we can most times because parenting is hard. As we send our kids off to school this year we all hope and pray that they will be safe and continue to grow in academics and maturity. A few things that help students succeed in school include: active monitoring by parents, having a positive relationship with the teacher, consistency, scheduled times at home for homework, and ensuring they take any medications as scheduled. Research shows that parents who are involved and monitor their child's academic process increase the chances of their child's success and those children tend to do better in school academically and in behavioral management. Taking this proactive approach most often decreases the amount of time the parent and teacher are compelled to be reactive. This also acts as a support and reinforcement to good behaviors that lead to improvement. Additionally, remember that it is best to respond to children, in the school setting, after draining off all emotion AND consistently applying consequences (even if that consequence is ignoring certain behaviors). Remember that every child is different and they all deserve the opportunity to grow and be successful. That success may look very different from child to child.
Don't abandon your roots in God just to be lifted higher by gravity's pull. So often we disconnect from Him in our thoughts, beliefs, and actions to gain more money, better positions, social status, and material things. Sometimes just to be free to roam as we please. But God always reminds us that though you may be lifted higher by the world, you have not GROWN to that height and are just awaiting a shift in gravity for the fall. When God grows you to higher levels, there is no falling because your roots are still planted firmly in Him. Almost as a father putting his son on his shoulders compared to someone who just jumps, but must come back down because he is not secured by anything beneath him. You need only to know that when things try to shake and break you that you are secured in His word. Stay connected, stand firm, He is the plug!
"Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." Col 2.6 (NLT)
We can teach people, especially children, to fail by setting expectations lower than society will require them to succeed. You see, we can be "SMART" (high ability to acquire knowledge) yet lack INTELLIGENCE (the ability to apply knowledge to be successful or adapt in an environment). We see it all the time in "spoiled" or "extra loved" children, like my youngest (lol). They know the material or are fully capable of learning it, but don't have the skills (behaviors) required to sit down alone to learn or complete the work. Our goal should always be to implement strategies that will allow others to be successful past our presence or environment and not just in it. Because if that's the case then we are being self-serving and not OF SERVICE TO OTHERS. In order to do this we must lay down our own perspectives, biases, stereotypes, and views.
Fear is one of the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction. Not only can it be used to manipulate and coerce others into believing and submission, but for self-destruction also. When operating or making decision because we fear what will happen next, we slowly diminish the capacity for growth and God's best.
" I can't leave an emotionally-physical abusive or going-nowhere relationship for fear of being alone, lack of finances, how it will look......."
"I lash out at my kids when they do something wrong for fear that they will grow up with these same habits, get in trouble eventually, get hurt and I will suffer the pain, not be successful......"
"I am offended when people criticize me or disagree for fear that they may be right, I may be wrong..........."
" I won't stand up for myself for fear of being left out, looked at as aggressive, losing friends/family..."
Fear is the extinguisher of Faith and stalls any progress that God has for our life. Sometimes we are unaware that we are operating in fear. Make the decision today to not let fear alone dictate our decisions and responses in life. Be informed and be of Faith!
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When we give too much attention/ publicity to our adversity/trials, we breathe more life into it. Its the oxygen it needs to survive. Don't let our trials be our motivation because we will constantly be in battle. Be driven by Faith and determination, and we will consistently be in progression. When we switch from being fueled by our past or some negative event to being fueled by knowing what God has in our future, we are utilizing stable and consistent energy.
Romans 12:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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Who are we trying to impress? Whose expectation are we trying to live up to in our life? If the answer is not God, then the end result will always be failure, disappointment, and tiredness of trying to keep up. That's a terrible way to live. God accepts us in our most broken and basic state, unconditionally. He asks us to live a life that is pleasing to Him, but is not there waiting and clocking every failure in attempts to discard or ridicule us, but to pick us up if we allow Him. Don't get caught up in ourselves, others and/or the earthly hype of things, but the goodness that God has placed in our hearts and the actions it leads to.
I believe the greatest act of kindness is being kind to ourselves. When we are kind to ourselves others reap the benefit of the overflow. This happens because being kind to ourselves requires the following:
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I believe, next to God, the most important relationship to assess is the relationship we have with our self. When we begin to analyze and improve our attitudes, thoughts and perspectives within, external relationships with objects, people, and anything unhealthy for us begin to die off and healthy relationships improve. How we repeatedly perceive ourselves and others greatly affects the reality we live in. By holding ourselves accountable and responsible for our attitudes, emotions, and how we mentally process things we help take back control of our lives and quit seeing and responding to things through cloudy lens, where we tend to make up false realities. Develop the best relationship with yourself, then others.
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Sometimes the answer is not "NO", but "Not yet, I am preparing you". God cannot plant blessings where the soil is not prepared because where the soil is not ready the blessing cannot blossom to its full potential. If God uses all of our life experiences to prepare us for the point where His anointing and favor meets our God-given skills, then there are going to be times when we must wait. In that season of waiting, enduring, and persevering we learn the valuable lessons that will allow us to operate in full capacity. Specifically, we practice the habit of releasing control of situations in our lives. Control is one of the most addictive, misused, and the gateway to evil and sin possessions on this earth. It causes us to doubt, forget, and disregard God and His word every day. Take a moment to reflect on areas of your life that are negatively affected by control and begin to release it to Him. You will see your life and relationships with others improve when you remove that component and that will be the blessing planted in prepared soil.
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Be mindful of the labels we attach to ourselves; we often begin to embody all of its defined characteristics: negative or positive. Replace those old negative or hindering labels assigned by doctors, family, friends, and most often ourselves with positive affirmations and words instead. It's Thursday and you've got this!
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We are all born with innate god-given abilities that cannot be taught or replicated by school, training, or mimicking. It's as if it is woven into our DNA and discovered layer by layer as we journey through life. Sharpened by our perception of unique experiences, they can only be fully expressed when we put our full faith and confidence in them. Our talents are discovered by us and utilized at its maximum potential, but so often we ignore those talents and they are recognized by others who will exploit and under utilize them .
I am a 35 year old wife and mother of three children. I love all-things creative and writing thought-provoking posts. I began documenting #MyEarlyMorningThoughts about two years ago and have since received many requests to begin blogging and to continue posting about everyday life, growth, maturity, and christian concepts. Don't be shy, feel free to comment your life experiences and wisdom on any post.