How’s Your Body Image

Is Your Body Image Lowering Your Self-Esteem?

In my previous post on self-esteem, Body Image was listed as a major cause of low self-esteem. When you compare yourself to others, how they look, and how the media and others think you should look, rarely do you measure up. You look at someone with a body you think you’d enjoy having, and then hear the negative way that person views their body.

You’re self-esteem will rise as you come to appreciate, respect, and learn to love your body. You can love and respect your body as you are working on becoming healthier, stronger and healthier.

Let’s Look at What You can Do to Appreciate Your Body

    1. Appreciate what your body can do for you. You may be focusing on what you’d like to change about your body. Instead, focus on what your body does wonderfully even when you may not give it the nutrition and exercise it needs.Consider that your body can climb, run, walk, dance, sleep, laugh, and  dream. Take a deep breath and feel the air coming into your lungs and brings oxygen to your blood. Listen to or feel your heart beat. It does all this without you giving it instructions.

 

    1. Take a good look at your body. What do you like about it? It could be your hair, your eyes, perhaps your skin. What do people compliment you on about your body? Be thankful for these things.

 

    1. Change the clothes you wear. What do you wear that has you feeling great? We all have our favorite things. When you wear what has you feeling grand,  you’ll feel better about yourself.

 

  1. What you see in magazines isn’t what the person looks like. Below is a short video about four “ordinary” women who were given a photo shoot and then the photos were manipulated.

  2. Ask yourself what you gain by being unhappy with your body. Perhaps your poor body image keeps you from interacting with others. You may not dislike your body as much as you like that your body image keeps you from addressing how you feel with people.Your body image may have you feeling shy, miserable, or less effective. It may be keeping you from focusing on creating the fulfilling life you desire.

When you find yourself focusing on what you don’t like about your body, change your focus to what you do like. Give appreciation to your body for all the wonderful things it does.

There’s no reason to focus on what you can’t change about your body. Spend time focusing on how to attain the desires you want the most.

 

The Danger of Basing Expectations on Comparisons

Expectations, Comparisons and Self-Image

 

Comparisons

 

You have expectations of yourself and of others. It’s natural. The question is, “How do you develop those expectations?” Are they realistic, setting you up for disappointment and, possibly, a self-esteem hit? Hopefully, you developed your expectations with thoughtful consideration.

The Danger in Comparing Your Insides to Someone’s Outsides

If you’re feeling insecure and fearful, you might compare how you feel to someone who is successful in the area you wish to succeed. You may think that person feels confident and self-assured. They may even act that way. You don’t know how they are feeling. You may actually feel more self-confident than they feel.

Develop your own sense of who you are and your confidence. How other people appear may have nothing to do with how they feel.

The Danger in Comparing Your Progress to Another’s Progress

You don’t know what skills another person began with. They may  have had knowledge you don’t have. They may have support you don’t have.

Do use their success as encouragement, a sign that if they accomplished this, you an accomplish something similar.

Compare Your Knowledge and Skills to an Expert’s

knowledgeWhen you have a desire to reach a particular goal, compare your skills and knowledge with someone who has accomplished the same or similar goal.

Where are your strengths? Where are your weaknesses? Fill in the gaps of your knowledge base and skill level. Don’t be discouraged by your comparison. Use it as motivation to discover what you need.

And… if you need a skill you don’t have, find someone who has that skill to fill the gap.

Model Your Values after Someone You Admire

Comparing yourself to someone you admire can give you encouragement to be the best you can be. It can also reveal areas you excel and areas you need to work on.

Use this type of comparison as an incentive to strive to be more, not as chastisement for what you are not.

Setting Reasonable Expectations


expectationsWhen setting expectations take into account your past performance, your skill level, amount of confidence and your support.

Your Past Performance

Your past performance is not determinative but it is indicative. If you honestly evaluate what were your strengths and weaknesses in the past, you will have a good indication of how quickly you can progress in the future. By shoring up your weaknesses, you can raise your expectations.

If you neglect to strengthen your weaknesses and keep your expectations high, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment and a self-confidence hit.

Your Skill Level

If you need to gain new skills before accomplishing a goal, keep your expectation of success, and adjust your time expectations.

Be aware of setting expectations of accomplishment when you don’t have the necessary skills or equipment to accomplish a task.

Your Support and Self-Confidence

I’ve put these two together. Having self-confidence is huge in regards to achieving your goals. If, however, you have a strong support team and follow their suggestions, you can accomplish your goal without having a great deal of self-confidence. Having confidence in your team can make up for your lack of self-confidence.

Readjust Expectations as Needed

When you become aware you’ve set your expectations too high, adjust them. Needing to readjust is not a failure; it’s being realistic. 

Keep your eye on your goal, make adjustments as necessary and continue your progress.

success

Self-Esteem and Creativity

Must You Have Self-Esteem to be Creative?

 

artist

 

The last week I’ve focused on causes of low self-esteem and how to over come them. I’m going to take a little break today and reflect upon whether you need to have self-esteem to be creative.

A Day at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

I was thinking about creativity and self-esteem as I was enjoying several hours with a friend viewing amazing art, some from the first century. We saw sculptures of religious figures from Korea, India and China. We also enjoyed the artistry of Muslim artists in the architecture and illuminations of their holy scriptures.

When we decided to go to paintings, we examined work focused on Christianity, Greek and Roman myths, still life, portraits and landscapes. We did see one Rembrandt, not one of his most memorable.

Did the people who created this art have good self-esteem? Vincent van Gogh (not in this exhibit) was known to have low self-esteem since childhood yet he painted amazing art. One of my awesome experiences at the Musee d’Orsey in Paris was to stand in front of van Gogh’s Starry Night transfixed by the colors and brushwork.  Believe me when I say that photographs in the best of art books do not capture the exquisite beauty of that painting.

What Is Creativity?

Most people think of creativity associated with art, as in the photo above. This elicits the comments, “Oh, I’m not creative. I can’t draw.”

Creativity is much more than drawing, painting, pottery or similar artistic pursuits.  Creativity is, what people call, thinking outside the box. You’re creative when you develop original ways to solve a problem, make new connections between concepts which seem unrelated, or discover patterns hidden in a wealth of information or stimuli.

Creativity is about seeing life in new and different ways. You don’t need self-esteem to do that. You simply allow your natural abilities to look at life differently come forth.

What Is Self-Esteem?

I believe in Me

Self-esteem is about how you view yourself and your own personal worth. You have good self-esteem when you like yourself and have confidence in yourself. You can have great self-esteem in general, but not feel self-confident in particular areas of life. The opposite is also true. You can have self-confidence in particular areas of life but not have self-esteem in general.

You may have confidence in your ability to produce a painting due to years of success as an artist but feel insecure in the area of relationships.

Self-esteem isn’t an “all or nothing” state of being.

If you have confidence in yourself to be able to address any project and get help when needed, that will take you far. You may not feel confident in your ability at your new endeavor, but you can be confident in your ability to become confident. 

You don’t need confidence to complete the project. You simply need the confidence and determination to take one step at a time. If it’s to learn to draw, you buy the book, register for the on-line course or the studio class. Then you take the class and have fun.

Play at Being Creative and Allow It to Unfold

unfold

You’re never going to discover your creativity unless you venture forth to try something new. Pick up the pencil and draw a circle or a line. Make connections and see what happens. 

Make a list of 5 different ways you can solve a particular problem facing you. Let your mind flow and eliminate no idea for the time being.

Stretch your mind by doing things differently than you usually do.

As you do, you will gain confidence.

As you do, your mind unbends and makes new connections in your brain allowing new ideas to spring forth.

Your self-confidence will grow in this area. Allow it to spill over into liking yourself and your adventurous nature.

 

 

 

 

 

Failure Can be Powerfully Positive

The Power of Failure

 

I’ve been doing a series of posts expanding on the previous post on 10 Causes of Low Self-Esteem. Earlier I talked about the difference between mistakes and failures. Today, I want to focus upon the word failure and what it means to people.

What do you think when you hear the word failure? Do you recall a particular incident in which you believe you failed completely? One or more incidents of failure can have people believing they’re not good enough… or they can never accomplish anything. Sometimes people just give up.

Let’s look at failure in a different way. Failure can also make us stronger or wiser.

The Edison Approach

If you look at the definition of failure you get An act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success. (Personally, I think a definition fails when it uses a root of the word to define a word. As “they” say, just saying.)

You know the story of Thomas Edison, don’t you? He’s the inventor of the light bulb and holds 2332 patents all over the world. When he was working on developing the filament to make that light bulb shine, some people said he tried thousands, maybe even 10,000 different types of filaments.

One of Edison’s most famous quotes is, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

 People view failure as a step backwards. Not Edison. Not succeeding has nothing to do with failure. It’s a step forward.

Successful People Don’t Succeed without Experiencing Lack of Success.

Consider the wonderful things you’ve learned. What’s something you’re proud of? It could be anything from achieving the highest level in a video game to learning a skill to having a wonderful relationship. On your road to success, didn’t you sometimes wonder if you’d succeed? Each time you learned something to not do. As long as you don’t make the same mistakes, you’re on the road to fulfilling your dreams.

If you adopt this attitude, you’ll overcome your feelings of failure and be able to see unsuccessful attempts as learning what not to do before you find what to do.

 Robert Schuller, a famous tele-evangelist for 50 years said, “Failure doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.”

Then their is Henry Ford who once told people they could have a car of any color as long as it was black said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

You will not find a successful person who has not failed more than once. Read their autobiographies and discover how they turn missteps to success.

The truth is, you only fail when you give up! Keep trying until you’ve found the answer or the solution. Then celebrate your success.

The power of failure is in what you learn. Keep learning and you’ll find success.

 

 

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: What You Think

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Your Thoughts Are Indicators of Where You’re Going

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

positive thinking

Back when I was a kid, I heard Mom and Ma (my maternal grandmother) talk about saying good things about myself. Norman Vincent Peale’s book had been popular for about a decade and people were talking about the importance of positive thinking.

Just a few years before Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking, was published in 1952, sociologist Robert Merton wrote an article (1948) coining the term “Self-fulfilling Prophecy.”  If you tell yourself you’re going to fail, then fail you will because that is what you said you were going to do.

I rarely hear the words “self-fulfilling prophecy,” but the concept is everywhere. Your thoughts program your mind. This concept has been around for thousands of years, back to the ancient Greeks. Now, with modern technology, we can measure the chemical and physiological changes in the body directly caused by thoughts and feelings.

In the article Low Self-Esteem: 10 Causeswhat you think about yourself is one of the causes of low self-esteem. When you reinforce the negative things people may have said about you, or what you think about yourself, you’re setting yourself up for the unintended consequence (another or Merton’s concepts) of feeling miserable about yourself and sabotaging yourself.

It’s time to change thoughts and behaviors

changeIt’s time to take control of your life and bring more joy into your every day existence. You have more power than you think! Your can make major changes in your life by taking action to change what is happening in your mind.

Get into the habit of practicing these behaviors to gain control over your thoughts – and your life:

      • Acknowledge your feelings. Be honest with yourself about what you feel. None of us like to feel miserable. We dislike it so much we do everything we can to avoid facing those feelings. Face your feelings. Admit what they are and where they come from. Only by being honest with yourself can you change what is causing them.

     

    • Be realistic about what you can and can’t do, and the time frame needed.

      I certainly have the ability to drop the extra weight I’m carrying. There is no way I’m going to change the thick bone structure and short stature I was born with. Know what you can change and what you can’t. Accept, make a plan, and then move on.

 

    • Get support. Discuss your feelings with close friends or family. Sometimes an objective third party is needed.There are times we need the voice of someone not emotionally involved in our lives to give us a different perspective. If your family and friends are supportive, you might not believe what they say about how wonderful you are because, “they’re supposed to love you.”

 

    • Just stop it. When you catch yourself engaging in the negative thinking, tell yourself, “Self,  just stop positive growthit. This hasn’t gotten you anywhere, let’s try something new.”  Have what I call a file cabinet in your mind. Form a visual image of a file cabinet. Think of something wonderful, a happy memory, and see yourself put it in the file cabinet. When you catch yourself in negative thinking, stop, go to the file cabinet and pull out the memory.
  • Take one action each day which moves you closer to what you want in life. Make that one phone call. Go on that one walk. Make a list and then check something off each day. Just get the momentum going.

It’s time to develop a new self-fulfilling prophecy for yourself. Keep that in your mind.

If you need help to get rid of those negative thoughts, let’s work together and get you going on a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.

Do You Believe Everything Your Hear and Read

The Pulse Nightclub Verdict: An Indictment of All Who Perpetrated the Lie

I’m taking a break from my series on self-esteem and self-confidence to talk about the verdict of Noor Salman, the wife of the man who killed 49 and wounded 53 members of the gay community. We were told she helped plan the attack. The trial, however, showed there was no evidence of her guilt except what turned out to be a coerced confession.

If you read the article in Huffington Post and other news accounts, you will learn how the prosecutor lied to the judge… who stopped the trial and sent out the jury when he found out about the lie. You’ll read about how the press, the people, the government jumped to conclusions and fed us a bunch of bull which many chose to believe if the case was of interest to them.

How Could It Have Been Random, and Yet It Was

Technology ended up finding her innocent. There was nothing in her social media history, nothing in GPS data that said she’d been near the Pulse Nightclub. In fact, there wasn’t anything that said her husband scouted out the venue or even knew it was an LGBTQ night club.

There was nothing in his social media or GPS that said he scouted Pulse. What we’d been told about him being a closeted gay, been on Grindr. The only pornography was of older women. His Internet history was of ISIS not gays.

He wanted to kill people at the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment center. There was too much security. He was ready to kill so he drove around until he found Pulse. When he got there he asked a security guard where all the women were.

The horror of the carnage of a marginalized group in our society being targeted was too much for anyone to believe it was random, and yet it was.

The randomness doesn’t take away the horror of that night. There had to be an explanation and there wasn’t. It just was. The randomness of the event must be difficult for those who lost loved ones that night and for those whose lives were changed irrevocably.

Someone had to pay for what happened and the shooter was dead. People wanted someone to publicly pay so the government settled on the wife who turned out to be a victim herself of an abusive man filled with anger and hate.

Do You Believe the Convenient or Look for the Truth

Noor Salman was jailed for 14 months on a lie and separated from her son because the government didn’t want to acknowledge the truth. The press didn’t want to acknowledge the truth. We weren’t given the truth.

This case was not something in the forefront of my life. I was horrified of all the deaths and injuries that night, but I was only vaguely aware of what was happening with Noor Salman.

truth

What we were fed by the media about this case, and what we are continually fed by the media, has me making these observations:

  1. Unless we’re able to investigate for ourselves, we don’t know the truth about anything that is written.
  2. Just because “everyone” says it’s true doesn’t make it true.
  3. We must be vigilant about how easily we are swayed by what is in the media.
  4. We must be vigilant to keep our own prejudices, and we all have them, from obscuring the truth.

Unless we have a way of knowing the truth, we will never know all the facts about someone. No one will ever know all the facts about us. We always keep things hidden from others and from ourselves.

The Importance of Judging Only when We Must

If you seriously consider it, there are very few times we need to judge someone other than ourselves and situations in our family.

  • We need to judge or decide whether a belief or an action is appropriate for us. That is about us.
  • We need to judge or decide whether someone, a job, an institution is appropriate for us. That is about us.
  • We need to judge if we’re on a jury. (I’ve been on three.)
  • We need to make a judgment in order to vote.

The only time we have all the information is when we our actions and beliefs are involved. Even then we hide things from ourselves.

The primary focus of my life is my spirituality. This case is an example of why the exhortation, “Judge not…” is true. Of course there are times we must, but those times are few.

 

 

Mistakes are Not Failures

not a failureMistakes Are Failures When You Quit

Several years ago an on-line journalist make a mistake in the use of the word “penultimate.” People let him have it in the comments section. You would have thought he’d done something which brought the end of the world closer. He didn’t. Instead of using the word to mean “second to last,” he used it to mean, “last.” I’m assuming he continued to write, but I know people who would have quit.

People make mistakes. That’s how we learn. I bet the reporter knows how to use that word. He may also be terrified of making a mistake. So many people allow mistakes to devastate their self-image.

There are some mistakes which are devastating. You could lose a job, a relationship and, yes, someone could be killed. Most mistakes, however, aren’t of the devastating variety. They can be embarrassing, which is uncomfortable, but not devastating.

Let’s look at some ways you can handle the mistakes of life, some which can be publicly embarrassing.

Just Face it. If you’re like me, you want to avoid looking at your mistake. You don’t want to look at the feelings you’re having. It’s not that you don’t want to look at the feelings, you don’t want to feel the feeling. Stop and look and what you did or didn’t do. Acknowledge the facts to yourself. Recognize that the situation didn’t go the way you wanted.

Contemplate it. Review what what happened. When did you get the first whisper that you were on the wrong track? Did you

ignore that first inkling that something was not right? If so, get in touch with why you avoided listening to the still voice within you which said, “Pay Attention!”

Recognize that everyone makes mistakes.  No matter what anyone says to you, everyone makes mistakes, and, yes, those mistakes can be as bad or as thoughtless as yours. The difference may be that you are looking at what happened and are going to be sure it doesn’t happen again.

What part did you play in this event you’d rather not have happened? Were you the instigator or were you the one who could have said, “Stop. Let’s think this through.” You may have been the one who had no idea what was going to happen.  Was there some way you could have known?

  • If you need to make an apology or talk with someone about what happened, do so sooner rather than later. Owning up to your part and correcting what you had a hand in will help you resolve the feelings you’re having. It’ll help you learn what you can do to prevent future similar situations and move past the current event with grace and ease.

Remind yourself you’ll get through this. You’ve survived challenging times before and you will survive this. Depending upon what happened, it may take you some time to work though things, but you’ll be able to do so.

What got you through previous tough times? Did you talk to someone? Exactly how did you get through the previous  situations in your past? If those strategies helped you, apply what you can to the current situation.

Did your action or inaction have a negative effect on your overall goals? Is your objective still achievable since your mistake? You might want to change directions. Take some time to think it over.

Establish a new objective if necessary. If your previous goal is no longer achievable, where can you go from here? There is always another option. True, it might not be what you previously wanted, but you can move in another direction. What’s the best thing you can work toward now?  Once you determine your new goal, map out a plan that will move you toward happiness and success.

Get support if you’re struggling. Sometimes close friends and family will give you the support you need. Other times you need an objective third party who can help you see through the conflicting emotions. Don’t be afraid to ask for the support you need.

Look for healing. This can be with a therapist who can assist, a religious leader or engaging in healing prayer. If you don’t know how to pray for healing, learn how to use this simple 5-step Soul Healing Prayer by clicking on this link.

Keep going. As you work through the above steps, you can move forward and let go the difficult emotions of the past. Yes, your life may be changed and you’ll need to change directions. Accept that what happened and keep going. Moving forward means you’re empowering yourself to get past what you can no longer control and continue living a fulfilling life.

You can successfully rise above any situation which as occurred. Life may be very different. Find the resources within yourself you may not have known existed. You can do it!