As I mentioned last week, I believe we need to be deliberate in building a strong healthy self esteem for ourselves so we can pass it in to our children. I hope you enjoyed reading that and that the words resonated with you and found a home in your heart.
Tonight I heard a story that I wanted to share with you. The story goes like this: Once, there was a pregnant dog who was hit by a car and sadly, her back legs were broken. She received treatment, however she was unable to walk properly after the accident causing her to drag her back legs behind her as she walked. When her puppies were born they were completely normal but when they learnt to walk, they too dragged their legs behind them, just like their mum. They did this, even though their legs were strong and healthy.
As parents, we need to make sure we don’t drag our back legs when it comes to our confidence and self esteem because our children catch more than they are taught.
Our self esteem is created in our minds, it goes into our spirits and out through our response to what we believe about ourselves. This then, is lived out in our actions and our words. So, our mind needs to be full of healthy thoughts about ourselves.
Isn’t it funny, as Australians, we often criticise people who are sure of themselves. We seem to be intimidated by this confidence and knowing, yet if we aren’t confident in who we are, we can never become who we were created to be. Here lies the tension that needs to be wrought by each one of us. A personal journey, indeed.
I want us all to know and understand, that being confident in ourselves is not arrogance, rather, it’s being responsible with the potential we have been entrusted and blessed with. Arrogance comes when we feel we are better than others, confidence and healthy self esteem helps us appreciate ourselves and when we operate from that place, we better equipped to appreciate others and cheer them on.
How do we develop and grow self esteem and confidence?
First and foremost it begins in our mind and with our thought life. I believe it all starts with a thought and thankfully, our thoughts can be controlled and like any kind of training program or even diet, we need to be aware of what we are feeding on and letting into our minds. We need to feed our mind with healthy thoughts and we need to exercise our brain to begin to believe those thoughts. Science has proven our thought life creates not only healthy self esteem but also healthy bodies.
For many years now and with much practice and determincation, Rob and I have guarded (very jealously I might add) our thought life. After doing this I can assure you that it is imperative and absolutley necessary to know and check what you have your mind focused on. It is well known that your words will always reflect what you are thinking. OUr of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart and mind. What we are feasting on is translated through our lips and can be heard loud and clear. If you are thinking thoughts that will build your confidence you will be speaking positively about yourself. If not, there will be a lot of down talk and self doubt, equally there is probably some competitive thinking going on. I urge you, whenever you find yourself putting yourself down, check your thought pattern.
Additionally, Rob and I deliberately read books and listen to speakers that inspire us to build our self esteem. We put ourselves around people who have healthy self esteem and speak well of themselves and others. There are lots of great books out there, grab hold of some and soak in them. If, you are at a loss for great books please let me know and I am more than happy to put a ‘suggested reading list’ together.
Another space for me, as a woman of faith, that speaks to my self esteem and a deep understanding of who I am comes from God’s Word. I love soaking in what God says about all of us and I make it personal to me. For example things I speak to myself are: “I am His masterpiece”, I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, I have a future of hope and peace”, I am altogether beautiful” and there is so much more richness within the text that speaks not only to my mind but my heart and soul, resulting in self esteem with clarity.
In regards to the books I mentioned above, I love to read about other peoples journey and how they have learned to cultivate healthy self esteem for themselves.
I encourage you to be diligent in recognising any negative thought you have about yourself. You will need to delete it and replace it with the opposite. Why not find a quite place and write out a list about all the things you like about yourself and make it as long as you like. If you have trouble finding something to write, don’t worry about starting with big things, just start with small things, appreciate them about yourself and your list will grow. If you are still really struggling start with, you like the fact that you produced your precious child. That in itself is a huge thing to celebrate about you and your value. If it weren’t for you they wouldn’t be here.
Once you have written your list, celebrate all that you have written and start to really value these things about yourself. Then, everyday this week, remind yourself what you like about yourself and keep adding to your list when other things come to your mind. I promise, you will be surprised what a great person you are and how much value you truly have.
I would love to hear from you to see if this exercise helps you appreciate and value yourself in a greater, healthier way.