Self-Love, Part 2

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Happily ever after. Love Messages.

How we describe ourselves speaks to our level of self-love. Negative self-talk is one of the most destructive behaviors we engage in, because after a while, we start to believe what we say. It often begins with describing ourselves in a derogatory way, using words such as stupid. Idiot, dummy, or worthless. After a while, we become desensitized to those words, and they simply become a working part of our vocabulary. Then before we know it, by our actions, we give others permission to call us names.

Another way we demonstrate self-love is having the courage not to settle for seconds in jobs or relationships. How many of you reading this are stuck in jobs that no longer work (or never have), yet you haven’t left? How many of you are tolerating abuse of any kind in your relationship, yet you continually make excuses for staying? Abuse is just not physical; it’s mental and emotional as well. For example, allowing someone to talk to you in any way they want is submitting to emotional abuse as is allowing your cheating partner to consistently return to your bed. Choosing to ignore your partner’s affairs is not an act of self-love. Yes, there may be valid reasons for staying – temporarily – such as financial support, the kids, or not having somewhere else to go. But overcoming those obstacles should be your priority, not staying.

This week you are invited to practice some new behaviors:

  1. In what ways are you not being yourself? How can you love more authentically, more in alignment with who you really are? What stops you?
  2. Today list the negative words you use to describe yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings? Why do you use those words to describe yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings? Now, replace each word with a more positive description of yourself. The way to really change how you talk about yourself is to practice using the new words.
  3. Make a list of the jobs you’ve had during the last five years. What did you like about each one? What did you not like? What about your present job? Do you enjoy what you do? Why? If not, why not? Why do you stay in a job you hate? What’s the payoff? How does staying in a job you don’t like move you further from self-love?
  4. Recall three to five times you wish you had spoken up, starting with today? How could you have handled a situation differently? Was there an opportunity for you to speak up? Was there something that needed to be said that you didn’t say in the moment.

Now ask yourself what observations can you make about your willingness to practice new and different behaviors what worked for you? What was challenging?

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.

Self-esteem Comes from Honoring your Healing Journey

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My life isn’t perfect.

Young woman exercising at the beach

Healing.

I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes I tumble and fall. I am a work in progress. And when I remember that simple fact, I am better for the experience.

It’s easy to start on a path of change and get so busy doing that we need to do that we forget to stop, breathe, and acknowledge the effort we’ve already made.

There are times when I have to be reminded to do for myself what I do for others. The other day, a friend caught me denigrating the work I put into a project because it wasn’t done perfectly. When she asked how it was coming along, I said, “I can’t seem to get it down perfectly. It’s horrible.” I then spent ten minutes – which was as long as she could tolerate my ranting – downplaying the work. She couldn’t believe she was listening to me. “You could be one of your clients,” she said. And how right she was.  At that moment in time, I needed to be coached into a different way of thinking.  I needed an attitude adjustment.

Change is hard work, and allowing ourselves to get to the healing is even harder. It takes great effort to stay on a path that leads to purposeful self-discovery. It takes energy – persistent energy – to be an active participant in the creation of our lives. A healing path requires having the courage to shine a light or allow a light to shine on parts of ourselves that we’d rather keep private.

Appreciate your effort.

It means having the courage to see the work that still needs to be done, AND honor and appreciate the effort that you’ve made.  What gets in the way of doing that?

  • Fear of being seen as arrogant, conceited, and selfish (this is particularly a problem with women).
  • Not good at honoring ourselves out loud. We may do it in private, but God forbid we tell the world.
  • Not knowing how to honor ourselves. Often we’ve never done it before, and more likely, it’s never been done to us.
  • Feeling guilty. Since others who are equally or more qualified haven’t been recognized or don’t recognize themselves, we feel we shouldn’t acknowledge ourselves.
  • Not knowing the right words to use to accurately describe how we feel.
  • Fear that we might be seen as taking credit for something.

It’s important to honor the journey we are on. It’s crucial for our own well-being and mental health. So how do we do it?

  • Make a commitment to yourself to honor what you do. All that means is acknowledge the successes you’ve regardless of how small. Appreciate every effort.
  • Know that if you don’t honor yourself, even if others do, it will be an empty win. Outside love will never be able to effectively fill up the hole within you.
  • In your journal each night, write a gratitude list that includes some actions you’ve taken that you are grateful for.
  • When someone gives you a compliment about an action you’ve taken, graciously say, “Thank you.”

Today I invite you to affirm that you will honor your healing journey and you will appreciate your own efforts!

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts page, Twitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.

Move Your Body. Self-Care. Burn Calories.

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Obesity. Epidemic. Diet Plans.

Move Your Body.

Move Your Body.

It’s no secret that obesity has become a full-blown epidemic in the United States. According to CDC statistics, 34.9% of adult Americans are obese. This adds up to 78.6 million people. When you add in childhood obesity, more than half of Americans are obese.

Obesity can lead to many devastating ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, as well as certain types of cancers. Being obese can also lead to isolation and depression. Those who suffer from obesity may find the simple tasks that others perform on a daily basis to be challenging, if not impossible.

The weight loss industry in America pulled in over $60 billion in 2014. We are inundated by weight loss ads everywhere we look, from diet plans, supplements, gyms/work-outs, and even surgery. However, there are simple and inexpensive ways to at least prevent obesity, if not reverse it.

The good news is that just moving your body more than you currently do can stop you from becoming obese and help you to lose weight, as well. That’s right, you don’t necessarily need to join a gym, just look for opportunities throughout your day to move more. It’s that simple!

Burn Calories.

Recently, the Mayo Clinic listed 10 ways to burn more calories at work.

Make the most of your commute: If you take the train or bus to work, get off a stop earlier and walk.
Look for opportunities to stand: You burn more calories standing than sitting. Stand while on the phone or try a standing desk.
Take fitness breaks: Take a brisk walk or stretch during work breaks instead of hanging out in the office lounge and snaking.
Trade your office chair for a fitness ball: Sitting on an inflatable fitness ball improves balance and core fitness.
Keep fitness equipment in your work area: Keep resistance bands or small hand weights in your desk drawer or cabinet and use them during break time.
Get social: Organize a lunchtime walking group and hold each other accountable for participation.
Conduct meetings on the go: When practical and weather permitting, schedule walking meetings or brainstorming sessions.
Pick up the pace: If your job already involves walking, just walk faster.
If you travel for work, plan ahead: Choose a hotel with fitness facilities, pack a resistance band or jump rope in your suitcase, take a brisk walk through the airport while waiting for your flight.
Try a treadmill desk: If you really want to take workplace exercise to the next level, put a treadmill under a treadmill ready vertical desk.

It is an Esteemable Act to treat your body like the precious vessel it is. It is important to remember that self-esteem goes hand in hand with self-care. Good health is a result of choices: smart, courageous, proactive, well-thought-out choices. This includes listening to your body and saying STOP when your friends, job and family are telling you GO.

Self-Care. Feeling Good.

Over time, many of us develop bad habits. As we get older, these habits begin to take their toll on us. We must realize that good health is not owed to us by virtue of being on earth; we have to earn it. For many people, it’s only when they lose their health that they realize just how important it was. Don’t wait until you get to that point before you start practicing self-care, as I almost did.

Your health is your business, therefore it is your responsibility to take care of it and focus your attention on it just as you do on your stock portfolio. And remember to not make the mistake of putting more emphasis on looking good over feeling good. You can do things to make yourself look better, but to truly feel better goes much deeper.

It is important to remember that the body and mind are but two different sides of the same coin. When the body suffers, so does the mind, and vice versa. Practicing real self-care involves nurturing not only your body, but your mind and spirit as well. And please, start now – don’t wait any longer!

For additional ways to protect your health, read ACT 5 of Esteemable Acts: 10 Actions for Building Real Self Esteem and Week 17 of 52 Weeks of Esteemable Acts: A Guide to Right Living.

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts pageTwitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.

It’s an Esteemable Act to Actively Love

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Love. I Love You.

Love. Esteemable Act.

Love. Esteemable Act.

Love, as a word, is memorialized in countless books, movies, poems and musical compositions. While there are many definitions of love, its essence, when used as a verb, can be captured in a few phrases: to care for, to cherish, to respect, to honor, to show an interest in, to value, or to treat with kindness.

For some people, love is the feeling you have when you care for someone; for others, its endearing thoughts about the person who is the object of their affection; and still for others, it’s simply saying the words “I love you.” However, love goes beyond the words, the feelings, and the thoughts to the very expression behind the words.

Love is more about how you act than what you say.

Think about it; how often have you said something with your words, but your attitude, facial expression, and behavior said something totally different? How often has someone said kind words to you, but their behavior indicated something entirely different? Love is demonstrated through action, when you love someone, you treat them in a way that shows you care for them, cherish them, respect them, and honor them.

So what gets in the way of love?

Old emotional baggage is what gets in the way of love 99 percent of the time. It can come in the form of anger and fear, just to name a few.

Have you ever been mad at someone and allowed that anger to last for years? I bet you have. Think about someone you aren’t speaking to today and go back to how long it’s been. We’re not counting bumping into the person in the street, business meetings, or family events; we’re talking about really having him or her in your life. I bet it’s been a long time, longer than you’d like to admit. Do you remember why you stopped talking? Or how the disagreement even started? Some of you are probably saying “But it was their fault.” Or “They stopped talking to me first.” Perhaps you are right, but you have helped to keep the resentment going. How willing are you to make the world a better place by living love, not just talking about it?

Loving Yourself.

Letting go of anger is a choice we are free to make. But before we let go, we need to understand why we choose to hold on. For one thing, holding on to anger is easy. It takes work to move through a conflict and see another person’s side, more than most of us want to put out.

What can you do right now, this moment, to move you closer to loving yourself or someone in your life? What one action are you willing to take right now?

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts pageTwitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.

Self-Esteem Comes From Having the Courage to Be Real

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Being Authentic. Tell the truth or look good?

Courage. Real. Skill.

Courage. Real. Skill.

It is easy to talk about being authentic without having a clue what it really means. Real authenticity refers to the distance between us and other people. And we measure that distance by how willing we are to be real.

There’s a constant battle within many of us: “Should I tell the truth or should I look good?” The funny thing is that we think we have a choice. And while we ultimately do, the more aligned we are with our true selves, the less it feels like a choice. Each time you hear a speaker or author use his or her life as a teaching tool, aren’t you just a little inspired and in awe? Every time you hear someone tell the truth from the platform, aren’t you just a little encouraged to do the same? When a person has the courage to tell the truth, it gives the rest of us permission to do the same.

When first asked to share my story in a public forum, it was frightening. I was devastated because I hadn’t yet made peace with my past. It was hard to admit I was a heroin addict and an alcoholic at fourteen; that I dropped out of high school and lived homeless on the streets at eighteen; that by twenty-one I became a prostitute to support my habits; and that at twenty-six I was so drunk that I walked in front of a moving car. In my eyes, being less than perfect was something to be ashamed of, not accepted, and certainly not celebrated. However, as I came to terms with my life, as I began to see how my experience was a gift to me, I recognized its utility for others.

Life. Kept Secret.

So how do we move from seeing life as something to be kept secret to using it as an opportunity to serve? How do we move from talking about being authentic to actually being authentic? Here are some suggestions that helped me and perhaps they will resonate with you:

  • Bring to mind someone who had the courage to be real. How did you feel in their presence? Were you able to connect with them in some way? Why?
  • Think about a difficulty you faced in your life. What lessons did you learn?
  • Share your experience with a trusted friend. Putting words to your past is a first step to being more real over time.
  • Listen for opportunities to be real. You may meet someone with a similar problem who needs to know that others share it. If that happens, have the courage to be real and share your experience.
  • Keep talking. The more you come clean, the easier it gets.
  • Come to peace with your past, because the more at peace you are with yourself, the more real you can be.

Courage to be Real.

Self-esteem comes from the courage to be real, and being real takes skill. It takes courage because we risk losing something: face, family, friends, jobs, and our reputation for being a certain way. Yet each time we are courageous it gets easier – not easy, but easier. We become someone people can relate to. And even if our experience differs from theirs in the details, they know we are people who have lived through a fire and can teach them how to do the same.

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts pageTwitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.