So, how are your goals coming along?
I don’t mean to put any pressure on you about it. It seems like this week, I’ve been thinking more about goals and vision than I normally do. Several of my friends, patients, and mentors have been talking about it. It’s just that time of year, I suppose. Last week’s article on goal setting seems to have been helpful for a number of people, and I’m glad about that. I want to help people in any way that I can to become the best possible version of themselves, not just in their physical bodies, but in their minds, spirits, and relationships as well. No one is just a body – you are a whole person with many facets and they all need to be healthy in order for any part of your to be totally healthy. That’s why “Think Right Thursday” is just as important to me as “Move Right Monday” and “Wellness Wednesday.”
Being Myself In 2016
As I was mapping out where I want to go in 2016, I wrote down the following statements:
“Self esteem is the reflection of self judgement. One of the best ways to raise self esteem is to make truly loving choices that lead to increased strength of mind body spirit.
I must :
- Accept that my all my choices are a reflection of what I truly love.
- Acknowledge that love is the most creative force in the universe and use it wisely.
- Choose to love myself more than external things.
- Treat myself well. This will accelerate the growth of my self esteem.
- Keep in mind that what I appreciate appreciates.
The more I believe in myself the more objectively I will be able to take the advice of authority figure.
When people are commenting on my results and say things like, ‘Wow! You have a lot of discipline,’ I will answer, ‘NO, I JUST MAKE LOVING CHOICES FOR MYSELF.’ Reinforcing my positive behavior will help me grow even more in personal strength with mind body and spirit.”
There’s a whole lot to wade through in that block of statements, and it will take me several articles to address it all. Today, I want to lay some ground work that will be foundational for the next several weeks. I really hope you’ll make a note to follow along as I sort through it all. Let’s learn together.
Am I Safe?
Imagine yourself in a dark alley with some unsavory characters lurking in the doorways. Any one of them might have a weapon and a malevolent intent in their heart. You might be in danger, but even if you’re not, you probably don’t feel safe.
Imagine yourself on a brightly-lit stage, presenting your research to a room full of scholars who think they know more than you do. Not one of them has ever held a weapon, but they are all capable of inflicting deep, crippling damage to your career, and maybe your self image. And all it takes is one word.
Now imagine yourself alone in front of a mirror in an empty room. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you pleased with what you see, or are you too busy identifying problems and shortcomings? You are completely alone in this scenario, and yet, depending on how you see the image in the mirror, you may be no more safe here than you were in the dark alley or the bright stage.
One of my good friends is a wonderful elderly gentleman. At 6’5″ and 220 pounds, he was stately and statuesque in his younger years, with movie star good looks and charisma. The years have wilted his frame, but he is still friendly, kind, and quick with a joke. For a short time, he was a professional athlete, but his career ended prematurely because of an injury in his elbow that never healed properly.
When he looks in the mirror, he sees what could have been but wasn’t. That’s a bitter way to endure life, always grieving unfulfilled potential. He is disappointed in himself because his identity (his perception of who he was) was tied up in an image that could never be realized. As long as he is unable to measure up to what he thinks he should have been, he will have to carry the weight of his own judgment against himself. He’s a good man and he has a beautiful family and a track record of success, but that one part of him (his perception of who he should have been) is broken and he never allowed it to heal.
Who Do You Think You Are?
Let’s go back to my statements above and start with just the first sentence: “Self-esteem is the reflection of self judgment.”
One of the most damaging things a person can do is to remind someone of their “should-haves.” Should-haves are judgments about the past like these:
- You should have taken that better-paying job.
- You should have stayed in school.
- You should have married that other girl.
- You should have waited.
- You should have acted faster.
- You should have listened to me.
The only thing worse than saddling another human being with a list of “should-haves” is doing it to yourself. If you did it to another person, they could walk away from you or tune you out. You don’t have the luxury of being able to walk away from yourself or stop listening. As long as you judge and condemn yourself, you are not safe. How you talk to yourself has more impact on success or failure than your schooling, your upbringing, your marriage, or anything else.
The only defense you have against negative self-talk is positive self-talk.
Now, obviously positive self-talk can be taken to an obnoxious extreme, which is pure narcissism, but I don’t think that’s a problem for 99.9999999999 percent of the human race. Maybe a handful of people, but not most. In fact, I find that the people who are most self-obsessed are actually just lonely, hurting people crying out for attention in an unhealthy way.
So, let’s start from the assumption that positive self-talk is healthy and probably in shorter supply than needed. It’s like Vitamin C. We all need a certain amount of it to be healthy because it affects so many of our vital organs, but most of us are sorely lacking it. It is almost clinically impossible to overdose on Vitamin C, no matter how much you take (caveat: if you feel like you need to test this statement, please be prepared to spend the day in the restroom). It is the same with positive self-talk: it’s difficult, if not impossible, to overdose on positive self-talk.
Henry Ford once made this profound statement: “If you believe you can, or if you believe you can’t, either way, you’re right.” Your behavior will always follow and validate your beliefs about yourself:
- If you believe you are a winner, you will tend to win.
- If you believe you are failure, you will tend to fail.
- If you believe you are stupid, you will tend to make stupid choices.
- If you believe you are successful, you will tend to make choices that lead to success.
- If you believe that you are unworthy or don’t deserve good things, you will make choices that lead to poverty.
Your actions reflect your beliefs about yourself, and your beliefs reflect what you listen to. Paul said, “Faith comes by hearing.” What are you hearing? Are you hearing the voices in your mind telling you that you are success or a failure? Pretty or ugly? Acceptable or unacceptable?
Self-esteem is the reflection of self-judgment. Self-esteem is an archaic word – a more current word would be self-evaluation. If you If you evaluate yourself to be valuable, your self-perception will reflect it, and so will all your relationships. The converse is also true.
Why Does This Matter?
It matters because, if you don’t love yourself the right way and believe that you are worthy of love, you will not accept love from anyone. If you cannot accept love from anyone, you cannot give love to anyone. You can’t give from an empty account. Every attempt to give love to another makes a withdrawal from your account, and if your account is empty, each withdrawal takes you deeper into the negative. A negative balance sucks the life out of you and your relationships. When you can’t give love or receive love, you become a endless loop of self-hatred and others-hatred. You become an unsafe person: it becomes unsafe for people to be around you, and it becomes unsafe for you to be you.
It all starts with how you perceive yourself and how you judge or evaluate your worth.
You need to give yourself permission to be who you are without judgment – flaws and all. You are who you are. Only then can you make changes in the areas of your life that you want to improve. It has to come from a place of self-acceptance. You have to feel safe to be who you are within yourself or you will never feel safe to make changes.
Next week, I want to get into the next sentence and look at ways we can make investments into our own emotional account, so we always have enough to draw from.
I hope this was helpful for you. If it was, be sure to take a few seconds to share it on Facebook. There may be someone in your circles that just needed to hear this as they face the new year. I’ll see you back here on Monday.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas