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You Are Worthy of Love and Respect

You Are Worthy of Love and Respect

Happiness

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

You are a good person.

Yes, you.

You deserve to be treated well by others. You deserve to be loved and respected. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have your needs met. You are worth investing time and energy into. You are capable of great things. Your feelings are important. You have power and wisdom inside of you. What you want matters.

And all this is still true, even if you make mistakes. Even if you are not perfect.

As a therapist and life coach, I have sat with some of the most phenomenally put-together, objectively successful, gorgeous, talented, and intelligent people in the world who still genuinely believe that they are irredeemably flawed. They run multi-million dollar businesses, go on international adventures, and accomplish astounding things, yet they struggle to feel like are valuable and worthy of love and respect. The disconnect between how amazing they are and how they feel about themselves is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

So how about you? Take a second and re-read the paragraph at the top of the page. Do those statements feel true to you? Or does a part of you cringe away from them, thinking that such things might be true for others but not for you? Does your brain instantly reject these ideas, firing back with an endless catalogue of your many mistakes and short-comings: all the “evidence” to prove that you are less worthy somehow?

Why is it so easy to lose your confidence, and your self esteem?

You are a perfect, unique snowflake gliding through your time here on earth. There has never been anyone quite like you. You are smart, you are capable, and you are good. You are here to love and be loved. You have things about you that set you apart from other people. Maybe it’s your style, or your humor, or your tenacity. Maybe it’s the fearless way you’ve lived your life, or the heroic mountains you’ve climbed on your journey. Perhaps your most wonderful quality is the way you care so deeply for others.

But it’s easy to forget that when you have to fight for your right to be heard, respected and understood, in a world that pushes back.

Every single one of us has been bruised on this journey through life. We’ve all been disappointed by people. We’ve taken risks, only to fall flat and feel humiliated for our efforts. Maybe toxic relationships have made you feel diminished. Perhaps you didn’t get your needs met at a time that you desperately needed support, and you are still carrying the scars of those primary wounds.

Over time the injuries of life can erode your belief in yourself. You can get tricked into believing that your not-so-great life experiences define you. Niggling doubts like, “Maybe my [insert one: critical father / rejecting Ex / high school chemistry teacher] was right about me,” or “This is probably the best I can expect,” keep you from feeling that you deserve more.

But you cannot let the inevitable traumas of the human experience break you. You cannot allow yourself to be diminished by others. You must never allow your core self to be ground away by disappointment.

Why Your Healthy Self Esteem is So Vital

  1. Other people treat you the way you expect to be treated.
  2. You rise to meet your expectations of yourself.
  3. You make choices and take chances based on what you believe is possible.

Think about what could happen to you if you totally lost sight of your inner beauty, your worth, your potential, and your inherent right to be loved and respected? How chilling to consider the fate that might befall you if your life, and the people in it, began to conform to those expectations.

You must be your own hero. The world is hard enough without you tearing yourself down, beating yourself up for your failures, and punishing yourself. When you stop believing in yourself and your worth as a person, your abilities, and that you deserve to be treated well all is lost. No one else is going to be your champion — because no one can.

How to Heal Your Self Esteem

It’s time for you to take your power back. All faith is a choice. All beliefs are voluntary. You can decide to be your number one fan, and actively, intentionally build yourself up. You can support yourself from the inside out. In fact, you have to. No one else is going to be your champion — because no one can.

Remind yourself daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute on especially challenging days:

Only you get to decide what you are worth. Only you get to decide how you deserve to be treated by others. Only you decide what is possible for you.

Decide today: You are worthy of love and respect. You are capable of great things. You are a good, smart, strong person. Make those statements your mantra. Believe they are so. Act as if they are so. And watch as the world rises to meet YOU…

3 Quick Tips for Self-Care While Traveling For Work

3 Quick Tips for Self-Care While Traveling For Work

Happiness

Relationship Help

As a career coach, I have the opportunity to work with clients across different industries and required travel commitments. What a lot of my traveling career coaching clients face is the overwhelming reality that travel has a very real impact on your mind and body.

A career that requires you to travel might have sounded fun at first, but if you are starting to notice that the travel is feeling overwhelming you’re not alone. 

Your job is important, and with it comes responsibilities and implications that you’re going to get your work done. When traveling for work, there is so much to do before, during, and after travel that you may feel like you are working around the clock with little to no time for self-care.

You can’t keep running yourself into the ground if you plan to incorporate travel into your longterm career commitments. You must find balance with your busy schedule, and with a little practice and some helpful guidelines, you may just find a haven of zen in your otherwise exciting schedule.

Here are my favorite three tips for self-care while traveling for work!

#1. Set Yourself Up for Success

Traveling often requires you to go outside of your comfort zone. The familiarity of home and routine can feel lost the moment you step into travel mode. This means that spending time setting yourself up for success away from these familiarities will ensure that you show up as your best self. To do this, take control of what you can and let the rest go.

You are in control of when you get to the airport, what transportation you take to get there, what food you decide to eat, etc.. If left up to chance, the likelihood of stabilizing yourself for optimal performance at work is already lowered. Take time to iron out these small details; they all add up to help support your ultimate success and enjoyment.

Take your work and yourself seriously so that you can feel confident and competent no matter where your job is.

#2. HAVE and KEEP Work Hours

For most of those traveling for work, new environments and different people will often throw off polished routines and habitual activities. On a work trip, we might use our work to avoid the discomfort of a situational change. This sense of uncomfortableness can lead us to overwork, feel burnt out, and ultimately resent our job in the long run.

In order to prepare against this happening, keep boundaries. Instead of working around the clock, on the airplane, or skipping dinner – take time to go out to dinner or go for a walk in the morning by yourself. HAVE and KEEP work hours even while traveling.

#3. Keep Your Routines

When we travel, we tend to let go of routines. There’s just something about getting in that car or boarding that plane that throws our conventional lifestyle aside. I encourage you to lean into new opportunities when they arise but also be gentle with yourself with change. Slowly change your daily structure instead of jolting yourself into a new and temporary one.

If certain routines really work for you, don’t break them (or at least experiment with ways to adjust them). Exercise is a common routine I hear my clients regularly report breaking on work travel, even though they say exercising brings them joy. Foster your joy while traveling. Your time is valuable time – How you spend it matters.

Trust Me It Works!

For the best self-care while traveling for work, take control of what you can through preparation, routines, and time management. You will feel some discomfort, but all your resources will be well suited to tackle even the longest of work trips if you feel grounded in your ability to control your own success.

Self-care is more than just a face mask at bedtime, it’s a lifestyle.

Take care & enjoy your travel!
Markie Keelan, M.A., LPC

Markie Keelan, M.A., LPC is here to help you create authentic happiness and satisfaction in your life, your relationships, and your career. She supports you to create a deeper connection with others, find clarity and direction, and actualize your life’s purpose.

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How to Build Positive Coworker Relationships

How to Build Positive Coworker Relationships

Happiness

Developing Your Soft Skills

Fewer things impact your overall satisfaction with your job than the quality of the coworker relationships you have with your peers and leadership. Research into workplace satisfaction reported by MIT’s Sloan Management Review indicates that having positive coworker relationships can increase your creativity, make you more resilient emotionally, and enjoy your work more. All of these help you feel more connected to your career, your workplace and enjoy your job. 

In contrast, feeling disconnected (or worse, in conflict) with your coworkers leads to disengagement from your work, reduced sense of satisfaction with or loyalty to your organization, lower productivity, more stress, and even a toxic workplace environment.

Having positive coworker relationships is vitally important. Playing well with others matters. Here are some tips to developing soft skills that I share with my career coaching clients on how to strengthen coworker relationships– no matter where your work takes place!

Prioritize Positive Interactions

It’s true, technology has interfered with building these important relationships at work. Messaging, email, and virtual meetings often replace chatting together in the breakroom or casual conversations in the hallway. This can create an absence of friendly small talk that leads to closer connections. Particularly if you work at home, you may feel that your interactions with your coworkers are limited to “all business, all the time.”

But even those working in a traditional workplace setting find building effective relationships to be difficult to create and navigate. Particularly when your day is packed with meetings and deliverables, it can be hard to find the time to connect with a coworker on a human-to-human level.

Thankfully, the simplest, most effective relationship-building tools take almost no time at all. Smiling (emojis count), friendly greetings, expressions of empathy, words of appreciation, and questions that convey your interest in the other person as a human being will go a long way in building trust and rapport with your coworkers.

Respect Differences

Not everyone views a work project the same as you do. It’s OK to disagree. Be sure you use a respectful tone and if you are angry, slow down. Consider the best time and approach for voicing your opinion.

Think Positive

Have you ever worked with someone who pretty much killed every idea you’ve ever presented? If so, you know how tough working on their team can be and how little engagement you’ll want with this coworker. Bring good questions and bring solutions to the table for your concerns.

Acknowledge Your Coworkers

A simple “good morning” or “how was your weekend?” is often all it takes. Planning a breaktime walk or coffee together can be a great way to get to know the people you work with everyday.

Practice Listening

Hear your coworkers out, don’t interrupt in meetings, ask for clarification of ideas and let your coworkers know you’re listening. Learning to effectively listen will open conversation up organically. 

Keep Your Commitments

Your work affects everyone on the team. If you commit to a timeline for completing a project, make it happen. Coworkers quickly learn who can be trusted to get their work finished on time.

Share Credit Where Credit is Due

Nothing kills trust like stealing coworkers’ ideas and presenting them as your own. It will be tough to rebuild trust, and your teammates may begin to withhold important ideas and information from you as a result. If it’s your idea, shine. If it’s not, let someone else shine.

What skill will you practice this week? Share with us in the comments section below!

Wishing you success,
Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT

Linda Pounds, M.A, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage/Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Emotional Intelligence Leadership Coach at Growing Self. She works with individuals and couples who face the challenge of merging their work lives with personal lives and the impact each has on the other. Her work with leaders and leadership teams includes Emotional Intelligence (EI) Coaching and assessments, leading to a positive impact on individuals and organizations.

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Self Care Is Not Selfish

Self Care Is Not Selfish

Happiness

Your Needs Matter Too

A Self Care Checklist to Take Care of You

I’m sure you’ve heard the airline phrase, “Before assisting others with their oxygen mask, please first secure your own.” It’s a trite metaphor, but it’s true: You can help others more effectively if you take care to secure yourself first. 

I bet that you are meeting the needs of everyone. You are always thinking about the needs of your kids, partner, job, or other important people and aspects of your busy, hectic life. But what do YOU need? 

Self Care is Not Selfish

You may balk at the idea of taking the time to engage in self-care due to the care of others, your career, and the general busyness of your life. It might feel selfish or self-indulgent to focus your time and energy on just yourself. The trouble is that you will become depleted if you do not first take care of yourself. You’ll start to experience the common symptoms of burnout that the lack of self-care creates.

Signs You Need To Take Better Care of YOU

When strong, competent people like yourself focus their energy on other people for weeks, months, or years at a time without considering what THEY need… it’s not pretty. What commonly happens is that eventually, there is a “break down” that may reveal itself in:

  • Feeling angry and resentful towards the ones you love
  • Unidentifiable “depression
  • Irritability
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Apathy (feeling like you just don’t care), and
  • Flu-like symptoms. (Yes, chronic stress and lack of mental, emotional and physical restoration can impact your immune system in very real ways).

Deep, Radical Self Care

As a life coach and therapist who has worked with individuals struggling to care for themselves, I see the pattern: Hustle – Burnout – Anxiety – Repeat. 

This often feels like a perpetual cycle of stress and martyrdom, struggling to stay above the throngs of demands and needs of others that you lose sight of what you need – self-care and self-love.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, I’ve heard this before.” If you’re anything like my other clients, you’ve read the self-care blogs, and listened to the podcasts. You might have even adapted your diet and exercise to a “stress-free” plan of some sort. 

But superficially skimming over self-care is not enough. To give yourself the kind of rest and restoration you require (notice I just used the word require), taking care of yourself needs to be a priority. Perhaps as much of a priority as taking care of everyone else.

I’d like you to consider the possibility that taking care of yourself may even be MORE essential than immediately meeting the needs of everyone else.

Radical, I know. This may make more sense to you if you understand what I see in my role as a therapist and life coach about the importance of self-care and why you need it to survive. 

The Benefits of Self Care

To feel balanced and to be the best version of you, (whether you’re a parent, partner, friend, employee, boss, etc.) you must stop neglecting yourself. 

Self-care has many benefits both for you AND the people who depend on you:

  • Refreshes you
  • Increases your ability to feel empathy for others
  • Makes you more patient 
  • Helps you be more focused
  • Helps you work harder
  • Helps you offer kindness and support to others from a position of strength. 

Especially with my millennial life coaching clients, I often hear: “These are my hustle years, I’ll eventually have time for self-care and relaxing, but now is not the time.”

I see you: You are working so hard to do everything, be everything, in the hopes that life will eventually smooth itself out. However, this way of living is harmful to your health, goals, and relationships. 

What’s the point of “making it” if, by the time you arrive, you’re a bitter, exhausted, physically and emotionally unwell person with no meaningful relationships? Yikes!

Quick, One-Question Self-Care Quiz: Do you ever feel like you are working so vigorously yet not moving forward in any capacity?

If your answer is “yes” this is a crucial sign that you are neglecting self-care. 

Successful careers, lasting relationships, and personal happiness all hinge on your ability to properly take care of yourself and your needs (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).

You are worth the effort to take care of your mind, body, and soul. You are wonderful, unique, and filled with so much potential that you owe it to yourself to look out for your body, to protect your mind, and to nurture your emotions. Yes, “emotional self-care” is just as important as any other type of self-care — sometimes more so!

A Self-Care Checklist For the Overwhelmed and Overworked

There is no one right way to practice self-care. Self-care looks and feels different from person to person. For some, getting away for an entire day of self-focus and pampering is a great way to reset and refocus. However, if this is not realistic for you, I get it. Self-care is not necessarily about going above and beyond to “treat-yo-self” but to incorporate a lifestyle of self-care that is sustainable.

Self-care can look like:

Your Self-Care is All About YOU

There is no standard recipe for self-care, as everyone’s needs are different. But you can use the self-care checklist I outlined above as a daily reminder of what you can incorporate into your life to take care of you. 

Having a daily self-care checklist does not need to (nor should it) add more things that feel burdensome or tiring. The point is to look for things that help you feel rested, lighter, and cared for. 

Here’s a self-care challenge for you: Commit to practicing self-care, in some form or fashion, every day. This can mean just spending a few extra minutes in the morning doing a breathing technique or trying out a new recipe at dinner time, or even saying “no” (gracefully) and building new boundaries where needed.

Whatever your self-care routine may look like, stick to it. You’re worth it!

Kindly,
Josephine Marin M.S., MFTC

P.S. Do you have some (practical) self-care tips or suggestions to share? Leave a comment below and let me know what you are doing to practice self-care today!

Josephine Marin M.S., MFTC is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.

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5 Powerful Parenting Tips

5 Powerful Parenting Tips

Happiness

Feel More In Control

About 5 months ago my wife and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. We had nine long months to anticipate her arrival. We prepared the nursery, we wrote lists of names, we visited doctors, and we spent time alone together. She finally arrived. In the hospital we snuggled and smiled at her. We definitely didn’t get enough sleep or buy enough diapers. We brought her home days later and it finally hit us. We were parents. We were supposed to move forward with this tiny human in our lives and provide her the kind of life she deserved. We were her source of nutrition, nurturing, and love. What we quickly learned is that being a parent is very different than watching people parent. We felt feelings of fear, inadequacy, confusion, exhaustion and frustration, just to name a few. If you are a new parent, or maybe you’ve been parenting for sometime, and are feeling overwhelmed by all that you are attempting to accomplish, know that you are not alone. After only 5 months I do not claim to know everything, but I have learned at least 5 tips that I feel are powerful tools to help all parents feel happier and more in control.

Have A Weekly Date Night

After having a child it becomes so easy to make taking care of them your sole center of your universe. It becomes easy to put all of your energy into taking care of your child. This shift is natural and important. As you are nurturing, loving, protecting, and watching over your baby, it’s important that you do the same to your partnered relationship. Take time every week to have a date with your partner. I use the term date loosely. You do not have to dress fancy, you don’t have to spend a lot of money, you don’t even need to leave the house! What matters is that you and your partner are being intentional about planning an activity that the two of you can do together (without your child) that will help you maintain the connection that you have. Try to schedule at least one hour of planned time together doing something you both enjoy.

Take Care Of Yourself

Just as it can become easy to stop taking good care of your marriage after having a baby, it can also be easy to stop taking good care of yourself. Make sure that you have time to engage in your hobbies, do the things you love. If you stop taking care of yourself, you won’t have the energy or the stamina to take care of your baby. It may look different than it used to, but it needs to still be a part of your routine.

Work To Tag Team While Parenting

During an intense wrestling match a wrestler who is exhausted from the fight has the option to tag a teammate to replace him in the ring. If parenting with a partner, you have a built in teammate! This isn’t possible at all hours of the day, but when you are both home with your child make sure you are taking turns taking care of your baby. If your child is crying and you can tell that your partner is becoming frustrated or overwhelmed, swap them out. On the other hand, if you’re getting frustrated or overwhelmed, be willing to take 10 minutes for yourself to calm down before you re-engage. If you can tag team your parenting, chances are good that one of you will always be able to handle the difficult moments. My wife’s favorite phrase is “YOUR TURN!” that is when I know it’s my turn to step into the ring. Be willing to seek your partner’s help early. Don’t wait until you are fully knocked down. 

SIDE NOTE: It’s also important to find ways to parent together. Find opportunities for all family members to engage together. Moments where all family members can be present and interact together are so crucial. For example, my wife and I have put a focus on bath time. We sing, we splash, we play together as a family. I am in charge of scrubbing her arms and head, while my wife covers her legs, tummy and toes. We both help with and engage in the process and it’s one of our favorite times. Work within your family to find something as simple as bath time that you can be engaged in together.

Work Hard To Be Present

In our most recent pediatrician visit, our doctor told us that on average 4-month-old babies watch three hours of TV a day. Now they probably aren’t really watching the TV but the point is, my wife and I had to reevaluate what we did with our baby all day. Being present involves interacting, playing, responding to and teaching your baby. When your baby is awake and looking at you, those are your moments to respond. This can infinitely strengthen your bond. Phones, TVs, computers and screens can seriously hinder our ability to connect with our baby. It is too easy to slip away for hours into the virtual world and distract ourselves from reality. This, ultimately, is a choice to disconnect with your baby. Being present with your baby is an important way to find joy in parenting. I would also caution against slipping into the screen-world when you’re finally alone with your partner for the day. It’s incredibly important to be present with your partner as well as your baby.

Cherish The Good Moments

With a brand new baby we can often fall into the routine of nap, eat, diaper change, nap, eat, diaper change… etc. It’s easy to remember the tense moments (or maybe hours) of screaming and the lack of sleep. Those difficult moments can sometimes overshadow the joy that can be felt in parenting. As parents, even when times are good we may find ourselves worrying about the tense moments that may be right around the corner. We don’t let ourselves fully enjoy or cherish the moments that make it all worth it.

Recently I had the opportunity to go to an event with my family and some of our friends. It went late into the evening passing our daughter’s regular bedtime. She started getting fussy and none of our typical tricks to keep her happy were working. She was tired and cranky. I put her in our baby carrier and left the event to roam the halls. She quickly relaxed and fell asleep. As she slept on my chest, I was overcome by the love I have for her. I thought about her vulnerability and her complete trust in me to keep her safe and meet her needs. To feel her vulnerability, her trust, her sense of safety, and her reliance on me in that moment was incredibly powerful. I held her and pondered on the special relationship that exists between a parent and a child and felt so lucky and grateful to have such a relationship in my life. The longer I held her the more grateful I became for her and the deeper my love for her grew. After that experience I felt more patient with her, I felt more willing to engage with her in a positive way. The 4 A.M. wake up call didn’t feel as disheartening after our evening together. The difficult moments are still there, but they seemed less powerful after I spent time cherishing the good.

Above All Else…

I’m going to provide one bonus tip here, and it’s possibly the most important: give yourself grace. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re not going to be a perfect parent. You’ll miss your child’s cues, you’ll get frustrated, sometimes you’ll make things worse instead of better. Don’t expect yourself or your partner to be perfect! Be willing to ask for help, you won’t know it all, don’t be ashamed that you don’t know it all. Learn, grow, and love. Love yourself, love your partner, and love your baby.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the transition into parenting, whether you had your first child a week ago or 10 years ago, and would like to talk more in depth about how to parent effectively or how to keep your partnered relationship strong I would love to spend more time with you to get to know your personal struggles better. I am confident that parenting should be a joyful experience and if you are lacking that joy please reach out for support to help you find ways to bring that joy into your life. 

All the best, 
Hunter Tolman, M.S., MFTC

 

Hunter Tolman, M.S., MFTC is a kind, friendly and relatable marriage counselor and therapist who is devoted to strengthening families, helping couples heal, and empowering individuals to grow. He practices emotionally focused couples therapy, and has a compassionate — yet practical — approach to fostering positive change.

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Developing Self-Esteem: One Thought at a Time

Developing Self-Esteem: One Thought at a Time

Happiness

Do You Know How Awesome You Are?

Hey, let’s try something. Can you name 3 things that you LOVE about yourself? 

You don’t have to grab a piece of paper or pull up your Notes app. Just take a moment, close your eyes, and answer that question for yourself in your mind.

How did it feel to do that?

Now think about how easy it is for you to describe the wonderful things about someone else in your life. Someone you love, admire, or even only know superficially. For many people, it is a little more complicated to do that for themselves

Some people can rattle off a long list of their best qualities and accomplishments. Some can confidently name a few. I was working with a client recently who felt extremely uncomfortable identifying even one. 

When I asked her to do this exercise, she puzzled over it for a while before settling on one. But then came a flood of uncertainty, and she began to doubt whether it was true or not. She tried a few more times but ultimately she gave up on the entire exercise, feeling frustrated and disingenuous. 

This was someone who is highly intelligent, extremely kind, a hard worker, and truly lovely inside and out. She struggled with perfectionism in her work, insecurity in her relationships, and a lot of anxiety. We worked together to tackle those issues, and found that ultimately they all stemmed from her low self-esteem.

Recognize Your Narratives

The narratives we construct about ourselves are informed by our early experiences, our caregivers, our teachers, our friends, the media, and society at large. As we grow up, we are constantly bombarded with messages and belief systems about the world around us, and we quickly learn to internalize them. Recognize that some of the thoughts you have about yourself are part of deeper, more subconscious narratives you hold, and may not actually be the whole truth. 

For example, if you’re in the dating world, you may be experiencing various forms of rejection on a regular basis. A bad date can lead to thoughts like, “I acted like an idiot!”, “I can’t believe I said that, I’m so stupid!”, “I’m ugly!”. It’s important to recognize that thoughts like these are your brain cherry-picking through all the potential thoughts you could have about that situation in order to feed into those constructed narratives that you hold about yourself. In this case, it may be a deeper narrative of “I’m not loveable”.

Reflecting, journaling, and doing growth work through therapy or coaching are some ways to learn to recognize these thought patterns and the deeper narratives you are holding on to. They are usually so ingrained and instinctual that we have to make a real effort to even notice that they are present. 

Learn How to Thought-Stop

Thought-stopping is a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) technique that I teach many of my clients who struggle with anxiety. Once you have done the work of recognizing the untrue or harmful narratives you hold about yourself, the goal is to learn to stop the thoughts that feed them further. 

I like to describe this as a muscle: Just as you need to continually do strength training work to keep your biceps strong, you need to strengthen your thought-stopping muscle in order for it to be effective. 

The basic idea is to bring more awareness to those moments when you have an unhelpful or harmful thought, like “I’m an idiot!”, and quickly perform a stopping exercise. This can be simply saying “Stop!” to yourself, or even a physical action like snapping a rubber band on your wrist. The goal is to develop awareness of the thought patterns, and to stop the tendency of letting harmful thoughts spiral into anxiety or continue to feed that unhelpful narrative. 

I like to think of thought-stopping as a protective measure to keep that harmful self-narrative from cementing further. It’s good practice to develop more awareness of your thought patterns and to feel more in control of your thoughts and anxiety. However, to develop self-esteem, we also have to do some deeper work to challenge these narratives we hold about ourselves.

Challenge, Re-Frame, and Practice Self-Compassion

While thought-stopping is a great practice to have in your toolbox for managing anxiety and spiraling self-criticism, we also want to make a deliberate effort to challenge some of those harmful narratives we hold about ourselves. Taking time and space to really look at what we think about ourselves, where it comes from, and how to re-frame some of those beliefs with more compassion is a vital part of building self-esteem. 

For example, with the dating situation, listing the ways in which you are a desirable partner and truly allowing yourself to look at where you tend to dismiss the positives and highlight the negatives. A supportive therapist or coach can be a helpful person to do this with, because we often find it hard to recognize when we are being unfair on ourselves or engaging in black-and-white thinking.

If you’ve read this far, you are probably someone who is looking to boost their self-esteem and are ready to make some changes in your life. One actionable tip I have for you may be one you’ve heard before: talk to yourself as you would talk to a close friend who is going through something difficult. 

Would you be harsh or overly critical with this friend when they make mistakes? When someone says something rude to them on a date? When someone talks down to them at work? When they are feeling anxious or fearful of tackling a challenge in their life? Just as you are capable of being a kind, compassionate and supportive friend, you are capable of developing your own self-esteem and gaining more success and happiness in so many more areas of your life.

Remember that exercise we started with? Try incorporating it into your life as a 5 minute practice. Maybe in the evening, before you go to bed, as a way to wind down and reflect. Or maybe in a 5 minute break in the middle of your busy day, when you’ve been on the go and have already had a thousand thoughts that you have not yet brought awareness to. Take a few minutes to breathe, check in on your thoughts, reframe anything that you need to, and remind yourself that you are trying your best, and you are worthy. 

Developing self-esteem is not easy. It takes a lot of energy, patience, perseverance, and support to be able to do some of the work I’ve laid out here. But it can be hugely gratifying to be able to live with less self-doubt, less anxiety, more purpose, more confidence, and a stronger sense of how kickass you are!

All the best, 
Sharmishtha Gupta, Ed.M., M.A.

Sharmishtha Gupta, Ed.M, M.A., is a warm, validating counselor and coach who can help you uncover your strengths, get clear about who you are, heal your spirit, and attain the highest and best in yourself and your relationships.

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