Building Self Esteem through Affirmative Statements

by David Yarian on June 7, 2012

When you are faced with a daunting task it’s easy to get discouraged. And it’s easy to express discouragement, doubt, dismay, fear and other negative emotions through negative self talk. Examples:

“I can’t do this.”

“There’s not enough time/money/hands to do this.”

“I don’t know how and I can’t learn how to do it.” Etc.

Negative self talk leads to low self esteem

The problem with this is that it amplifies the discouragement. It sets the negative belief in stone as a “truth” that then becomes even more daunting and ultimately impossible to overcome. Then it’s more than discouragement, it’s failure.

There’s nothing like failure to torpedo self esteem: “I can’t even do X (whatever the daunting task was).”

On the other hand, there’s nothing like success to build and reinforce self esteem. But, how to succeed?

Steps to success

First, start with the easy things. If you have three things on your plate, and one is really daunting – start with the easier ones. Build up momentum from successful accomplishments before tackling the harder task.

Break down the task into its component parts. It is very likely that some of the parts are easier. Start with those!

Be realistic about the difficulties. Figure out what you don’t know how to do, or where certain resources may be lacking.

Brainstorm. Get creative.

Ask for help. Other people may have ideas or resources you’ve not thought of. There is no shame in asking for help. People enjoy offering their assistance.

Realize that everything worth doing is only accomplished step by step. Mistakes are not dead ends, but new opportunities to get creative.

Use positive self-talk to create success and self esteem

At every step of the way, pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. When you notice negative self talk, change it to positive talk. For example, when you are stuck it may be tempting to say, “I can’t do this.” Change that sentence to “I can do this.” Doesn’t that feel different?

If that feels difficult to say, try something like, “I’m not sure if I can do this, but I’m trying.” Or: “I want to learn how to do this.”

Making this small shift in self talk can pay large dividends. Negative self-talk guarantees failure. Positive self-talk opens the door to possibility.

Success is created out of possibility.

Self esteem and self confidence are built upon successes, small and large.



Practice Meditation for Self Esteem

by David Yarian on February 23, 2012

In this post I want to continue the theme of cultivating self esteem by developing habits that affirm the self. One of the most powerful self-affirming habits is the practice of meditation. There are many different styles of meditation – the kind of meditation you do is less important than that you do it!

The most basic form of meditation is to simply pay attention to your breath. Breathing naturally, with eyes closed, just notice the physical sensations of the air moving into your nostrils, filling your lungs, and then flowing out of your body. Continue to focus on your breath, and repeat through several cycles of inhalation and exhalation.

An important side effect of this practice is relaxation. As you pay attention to your breath, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of your nervous system that calms you and cools things down. This is why anger management advice often includes: “take a deep breath.”

How does the practice of meditation build healthy self esteem? When meditating you get a powerful self esteem boost as a result of several interacting factors:

  • As you pay attention to the bodily sensations of breathing, you are not using your brain to think. Thinking with low self esteem often leads to self-critical thoughts, which only confirm the feeling of self-loathing.
  • It is pleasant to relax. Calmness and relaxation contribute to a feeling of well-being which adds to self esteem.
  • Meditation ameliorates the impact of stress on your body. With reduced stress, it is easier to be confident and optimistic.

You don’t have to meditate for long periods to get significant benefit. Begin by focusing on your breath for a minute. After a few relaxed, easy breaths open your eyes and go on with what you were doing. Later, focus on your breath for another minute. As you do this over a few days, build up to a couple of minutes at a sitting. There is no need to force this. Even if you can only manage a minute at a time, that’s great. Several minutes’ cumulative meditation per day will soon begin to have a noticeable positive effect.



The Habit of Self Esteem

February 14, 2012

Self esteem is more than a feeling – it’s a habit. It is possible to systematically build healthy self esteem. Like most habits, it takes a commitment and some practice. I remember visiting my dentist who told me I needed to change my brushing practices in order to keep my gums healthy. It feels odd […]

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The Evil Elf, or how my negative thoughts sometimes threaten to derail me

October 22, 2011

I’ve noticed accumulating fears about my Novel Writing Workshop, that begins in about a month. When I signed up for the workshop I was excited about finally getting the guidance I need for my fiction writing. The creeping fears since then come from the scary questions the evil elf persists in whispering into my ear: […]

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Is High Self Esteem a Symptom of Low Self Love? Reply to Alex II

October 22, 2011

Returning to Alex’s comment, I want to address the question of high self esteem/low self love. “How similar is self-esteem to self-love? As I ponder this, the more I think about the construct of self-esteem the more I see it aligning with the ego. I’m not suggesting this is a bad thing but I can […]

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How Similar Is Self Esteem to Self Love? Reply to Alex I

October 22, 2011

In a recent comment, Alex asks: “How similar is self-esteem to self-love? As I ponder this, the more I think about the construct of self-esteem the more I see it aligning with the ego. I’m not suggesting this is a bad thing but I can see how high self-esteem could hide some of the symptoms […]

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Healthy Self Esteem

April 7, 2011

What would it be like to not worry about what others think of you? Or to no longer compare yourself to others, whether it’s about the clothes they wear, the car they drive, their job, career success, or their marital status? What would it be like not to worry if you are making the “wrong” […]

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