Mind. Good Health. Happiness.

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Self-esteem.

Health

Health. Emotion.

Emotional fitness is an important part of good health. What goes into your mind is an important as what goes into your body. Even if your physical body is healthy, if you’re imbalanced emotionally, your self-esteem can be affected. Therefore, investing in the care and feeding of your mind is a critical step to good health.

One consequence of not taking care of your mind is depression, a buildup of unaddressed, unacknowledged, and unheard, unappreciated, alone, as if you lack control over your life, ill-equipped to handle life on its own terms – these are conditions that often drive us to depression. And some of the symptoms are not eating, overrating, isolating, or resuming an old destructive habit, such as smoking, drinking, or gambling. At some time or another we all face problems – financial, personal, family, health, spiritual – and must deal with the realities of depression. How we handle depression and how long we remain in it are determined by our willingness to take certain actions.

While it would be easy to say all depression can be remedied with one solution, that’s not true. However, the following suggestions have worked for me and countless others, and may work for you too. However, if you are severely depressed and have had suicidal thoughts, please contact a health care professional.

  • Take Action: For many people, action is the key to alleviating or eliminating depression.
  • Be Patient: It’s normal to want instantaneously results after you’ve taken an action. But in truth, results rarely happen immediately.
  • Enlist A Friend: Having someone to talk to about your feelings is important.
  • Read Daily Mediations: Consider beginning each day with selected readings from positive, uplifting books.
  • Spend Quiet Time Alone: By allowing daily quiet time you create a balance between the doing and the being aspect of your life.

What can you do right now, this moment, to move your closer to better health? Perhaps getting a physical exam or just making an appointment with a doctor, or quitting smoking or drinking?  Eating a green salad, buying a quart bottle of water and drinking it all, making a spa appointment, going for a brisk walk outside or on the treadmill?

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.

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.

Show Love Through Action

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Self-Love.

Illustration depicting a green chalkboard with a self worth concept written on it.

Self-love. Learn to love yourself.

Love is an action word. It goes beyond the words to the doing. It’s the behavior behind the words that make the concept of loving come alive. Think about it. How often have you said something with your words, but your attitude, facial expression, and behavior said something different?

How often has someone said “I love you” to you, but his or her behavior spoke of something really different? When you love people, you treat them in a way that shows you care about, cherish, treasure, respect, and honor them. And charity begins at home.

How easy is it to say you love yourself, you treat your mind, body, and spirit with disrespect, or allow others to do the same. If love is really an action word, how do you express self-love?  Some people believe standing in front of the mirror repeating “I love me” is an expression of self-love. Others believe if you we are beautiful, stylish, and wear expensive clothes, you love yourself. Still others buy into the notion that if you live in the right neighborhood, are attached to the right person, send your kids to right school, have the right credentials behind your name, or drive the right car, you show the world how much you love yourself. If that were the case, every rich person would feel good about who he or she is.

I am a firm believer that self-love starts with having the courage to be ourselves, under all conditions – to not compromise who we are in order to be liked by others. How easy it is to live a lie, live as others would have you live, at whatever cost. One of my uncles died young. He was only 43. While he knew he was gay for many years, he never quite came to terms with who he was.  He allowed other people to define him. It didn’t work. Now he is dead.

Self-love is having the courage to live our dreams and do what makes us happy in life, so that we don’t wake up one day and say, “I wish I would have…” Self-love is about practicing self-care and making our health a priority. It’s hard to say we love ourselves when we don’t take care of our health, which includes eating properly, exercising, and maintaining emotional balance. When we love ourselves, we are willing to set boundaries and protect them, knowing that “no” is a complete sentence all by itself. When we love ourselves, we are willing to make amends with ourselves and keep them. Self-love is demonstrated in the choices we make in relationships, money management, and careers. Indeed, self-love is very much about the things we do, more than about the things we say.

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.

Loving Others Starts with Self-Love

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Self-Love. Self-Care.

Illustration depicting a green chalkboard with a self worth concept written on it.

Self-Love.

For many people the idea of self-love generates negative thoughts and feelings about narcissistic, ego-driven people. We think of those who care little about others unless they can further their personal or professional goals. But if you genuinely love yourself, you engage in behavior that includes both honest and continual self-care, and kind and generous treatment of others.

There’s an age-old theory that you can’t love someone else until you truly love yourself. This point has been debated by countless experts and the popular answer is, indeed, you cannot love someone else until you truly love yourself. And I agree. How can you care for, honor, or cherish another person if you don’t honor or cherish yourself? How can you give away something you don’t have? How do you even know what it looks like or feels like if you’ve never really experienced it?

There’s a wonderful old saying that is applicable here: Charity begins at home. First love yourself, and then you can love someone else, without judgment and attachment.

For so many of us, men and women alike, our self-esteem is dependent on something outside ourselves, such as our spouse or the man or woman we are dating, the neighborhood or house we live in, the job or career we’ve chosen or the amount of money in our bank account or stock portfolio. Without those things, we perceive ourselves as nothing, unless we’re taught otherwise or have role models who show a different example of how to see ourselves.

Our Choice.

Make no mistake about it, we are taught how to view ourselves. We learn to value or devalue ourselves as men and women by the examples we see in the movies, on television, in magazines, and at home. And the music we readily listen to reinforces the message of self-care or self-loathing. Sometimes the message is subtle and sometimes it’s flagrant. It’s always our choice what we do with it.

Learning how to love oneself is a lifetime process. Self-esteem is contingent on what you are willing to do to nurture it. How are you demonstrating self-love in your life? What are you doing differently today?

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.