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Archive for the ‘self-esteem’ Category

What increases and decreases someone’s self-esteem.
Everybody wants it. The amount you have changes hour to hour, day to day. How you get it depends on two factors: how you think others view you, and the perceived control you have over your life. When you don’t have it, you’re not happy. When you have it, you feel great. What is it? Self-esteem.

How much do you know about this illusive, have-to-have-it-for-happiness quality? Some recent research findings might surprise you.

Getting in trouble with your boss will not necessarily lower your self-esteem. If you’re a person who doesn’t care about what others think and tend to do what you please, your boss’s criticism won’t faze your self-esteem one iota. On the other hand, if you’re a pleaser and your boss is unhappy with your performance, expect your self-esteem to take a tumble. Too many tumbles and you may find yourself heading for a depression.

Most people tend to exaggerate their abilities and as a result boost their self-esteem. Because people have a need to see themselves as successful, they have learned to overestimate their abilities and underestimate their shortcomings. Call it our ability to figure out a way to feel good about ourselves.

People who have low self-esteem often report feeling a high level of stress, as well as depression. Modern society greatly emphasizes personal achievement. When a person doesn’t measure up, he often blames himself, with bad feelings the result.

People who are loved and admired as well as successful will almost always have high self-esteem. High self-esteem involves a favorable evaluation of self. When one is loved and admired, it’s easy to view oneself in a favorable light.

Self-esteem may vary greatly hour to hour but it tends to remain pretty much the same through the years. It’s easy to understand how landing a big sale will boost one’s self-esteem one hour and a fight with a friend will lower it the next, but why self-esteem remains somewhat constant year to year no one knows. Maybe we’ll find that self-esteem is also linked to our genetic makeup.

People with high self-esteem expect to succeed in whatever they undertake. Perhaps this is so because the high self-esteemers already have a number of successes under their belt. So why wouldn’t they be optimistic that the success pattern will continue? If you want to raise your self-esteem, all you have to do is compare yourself to one who is doing worse than you. Most people use the mechanism of downward comparisons to boost their own self-esteem. Looking around for someone who is worse off or has less talent is a universal practice to maintain one’s own self-esteem.

People with high self-esteem usually cope better with failure. Research has shown that when people with high self-esteem fail, they defend harder and blame others more, thus keeping their self-esteem intact.

People with low self-esteem have a more difficult time taking risks than those in the high self-esteem category. People with low self-esteem will guard against further erosion of their self-esteem, thus the lack of risk taking.

When a person acts unethically or immorally, he or she will downplay the consequences of the bad behavior to maintain self-esteem. People are masters at deluding themselves and believing that their behavior isn’t really all that bad.

Self-esteem has a high impact on happiness. The more self-esteem one has, the more happiness one experiences. Perhaps this is why we delude ourselves about our talents and abilities, how much we’re loved and admired, and how our immoral and unethical behavior affects others.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Three weeks ago Beth’s cousin telephoned to say she was coming through St. Louis and thought it would be fun to spend the weekend with Beth. Since the call, Beth has transformed a tiny junk room into a guest bedroom. She has painted and wallpapered the room and bought a bed, curtains, bedspread, and lamp. She has hung several pictures. She has washed the windows and blinds throughout the house, cleaned the kitchen cabinets inside and out, hung a new mirror in the bathroom, bought new dish towels and had all the rugs in the house cleaned. She has also put in several new rose­bushes and planted four flats of impatiens. Beth has three children and works full time.

Beth’s husband thinks she is being ridiculous. After all, the cousin will only be there for the weekend. Beth says she wants everything to look nice and, besides, she enjoys making things look pleasant.

A friend’s son graduated from college last year. Before the graduation party, she mortared the cracks in the foundation of the house and painted the front door. She bought hanging plants, and strung Chinese lanterns around the backyard. Three weeks before the party she decided to put in a brick patio. The day before the party she was still leveling some of the bricks. The party was great, but she was so tired she could hardly stay awake for it.

I must confess, the day of our son Paul’s graduation party, I went into one of the bathrooms to do a final check. I was already dressed for the party, and I saw a streak on the glass shower door. Without thinking, I grabbed a wash cloth, slipped off my heels, stepped into the shower, and wiped off the streak. All of a sudden I said to myself, “Get out of the shower, Doris. Stop cleaning.”

Why do people, mainly women, go to such extremes when they are having a party or out of town guests, or when their grown children come to visit?

One reason is that the anticipation of someone coming for a visit gives one energy — energy to do those extra cleaning and repairing and renovation chores.

Another reason is that many women’s self-esteem is tied up with how nice their house looks. Therefore they work hard to make everything right, so they will feel good about themselves.

A woman is also concerned about how others will view her home. If others see it clean and well manicured, they will respect her more, she thinks.

The way I see it, running around frantically a few weeks or a few hours before guests are to arrive is no different than going to the gym and working out like mad to lose weight before swimsuit season. Working out gives one energy. And a clean house like a firm body gives one self-esteem and respect.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

 

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A sixth-grade school teacher confessed that he hadn’t been nice to his students that day. He had been impatient and needlessly sarcastic. All day he had radiated a negative attitude. Usually he would have gone home, mentally chided himself, and felt guilty.

The problem with such a response is that it does no one any good. The students, who are still smarting from the day, as well as the teacher, gain nothing.

“This time I decided that instead of punishing myself by feeling guilty, and then forgiving myself,” said the teacher, “I would change my behavior.”

The following day he went to school armed with resolve to be a good teacher. He marched energetically through his lesson plan. He compli­mented his students’ accomplishments. He tried extra hard to be patient. He worked in a game his students love playing. At the end of the day he felt great.

Often a person is quite aware that he has acted badly – on the job, with his children, with a neighbor. He may even mentally scold himself for his actions. But what is more productive is a change in future behavior.

Guilt is like a flashing yellow light. It is a signal that you’re doing something wrong.

This week resolve that every time you feel guilty over some behavior, you’ll change course. If you’re dilly-dallying over a decision that affects someone else, stop the guilt and make the decision. If you feel guilty because you’ve dropped the ball and haven’t returned a telephone call, turn off the guilt and call the person. If guilt besets you because you’ve been grumpy and out of sorts, adjust your attitude. If you feel guilt because you usually run late, fight too much with your children, don’t see your parents enough, eat too much junk food – pay attention to what guilt is telling you.
Change your behavior.

Guilt is a wake up call to alter actions.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Catherine who had a mastec­tomy several years ago and has been gaining weight ever since, has slowly been losing confidence in herself. Through most of her life, Catherine has liked herself. But since her cancer, her self-esteem has been shot. “I’m also poor now,” she says, “so I can’t go out and buy myself something so I can feel good about me.”

Mike, on the other hand, has never felt good about himself. As a child he was underweight and the littlest in the class. Although he’s average size now, he still doesn’t feel good about his looks. He also feels badly about his lack of a college education. “My parents didn’t go to college and they didn’t push us kids. No one in my family ever asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? What are your goals?”

Jim doesn’t respect himself because he repeatedly manipulates his expense account and takes advantage of his partner. He says, “I always have this gnawing feeling that I’m not a good person.”

Mary lost her self-esteem when her husband left her.

Sue lost hers when she had to get a job outside the home and found she had few saleable skills. She works as a teacher’s aide and hates every minute of it. “It’s humiliating having someone fresh out of college telling me what to do.”

All these people are seeking counseling because of their poor self-esteem.

What is this elusive concept of self-esteem? Most psychotherapists would agree that it’s a feeling a person has that he is valuable. He likes himself. He feels adequate.

Some people seem to have had high self-esteem most of their lives. As far back as they can remember they liked themselves. When others look back, all they can recall are only bad feelings about themselves.

For most of us, self-esteem goes up and down, depending on what’s happening in our life. Poor health, job loss, marital problems, inability to lose weight, and not being able to pay bills generally lowers self-esteem. A promotion, a happy marriage, a signed contract, a new hair-do, or a clean house may increase one’s self-esteem.

Most people can improve their self-esteem. The way to feeling better is to ask yourself, “What would make me feel more valuable?”

If you find that the answer is a college education, sign up now. Start with one class. If you believe the answer to your poor self-concept is to have a boyfriend, put yourself in more situations where you can meet someone. If your self-esteem has plummeted because of a job loss, set a goal of contacting fifteen possible employers per week. A person who is actively pursuing a goal automatically feels more self-esteem.

If you can’t get back something you’ve lost, such as health or a husband, come up with some substitutions in your life that will give you a feeling of self-worth. Become an expert on Matisse or Beethoven or mission furniture. Walk three miles a day. Visit your church once a week. When people set and pursue goals their self-esteem grows.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.  Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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