Rebutting your critical inner voice is an important step, but it is not enough. Since our self-esteem is in part due to how others have treated us in the past, the second step to more healthy self-esteem is to begin to treat yourself as a worthwhile person.
Start to challenge past negative experiences or messages by nurturing and caring for yourself in ways that show that you are valuable, competent, deserving and lovable. There are several components to self-nurturing:
First and foremost, practice basic self-care. Get enough sleep, eat in a healthy fashion, get regular exercise, practice good hygiene, and so forth. A healthy mind is dependent on a healthy body. When you take care of the outside, it is natural that taking care of the inside will follow.
You should plan fun and relaxing things for yourself. You could go to a movie, take a nap, get a massage, plant a garden, buy a pet, or learn to meditate-whatever you enjoy. Try new things to help you pamper yourself. This author has delved into self-hypnosis through online, downloadable sessions at selfhypnosis.com. They work wonders for me! You may want to look at it yourself!
Reward yourself for your accomplishments – big and small! You could take the night off to celebrate good grades, spend time with a friend, or compliment yourself for making that hard phone call. It doesn’t matter how small the accomplishment might seem, you deserve to celebrate every single little step. Try a little chocolate ice cream, or allowing yourself to relax and just do nothing. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s a reward for YOU!
You should always remind yourself of your strengths and achievements. This may seem daunting – especially when you have a low self-image. How do you find those strengths?
One way is to make a list of things you like about yourself. Or keep a ‘success’ file of awards, certificates and positive letters or citations. Keep mementos of accomplishments you are proud of where you can see them. Focus on anything and everything. No matter how small it may seem, if you succeeded and are proud of it, focus on it and celebrate!
A huge step you can take is to forgive yourself when you don’t do all that you hoped to do. Self-nurturing can be surprisingly hard if you are not used to doing it. Don’t be critical of yourself-remember that inner voice -when you don’t do it just right. Reward yourself for trying in the first place. That’s a huge step towards the positive YOU that you want to be!
There will be times when you don’t feel you deserve to nurture yourself. This is when you need it the most! “Fake it” until you can “make it.” When you treat yourself like you deserve to feel good and be nurtured, slowly you’ll come to believe it. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel when you let go of the trash and embrace the jewels.
You may find yourself a bit lost during this process. It is also important to enlist the help of others in this process.