Building Self-Esteem by Showing Up for Yourself
Like so many things, we tend to think confidence and esteem will come from “out there.” When I achieve the next level/goal/position. When I get the affirmation or accolades. When I finally get paid $X.
Or if we just think hard enough about it, it will be so. Oh, no.
I was inspired by a recent episode of Queer Eye when JVN told the makeover subject that we gain confidence by setting goals and then showing up for ourselves. Word, JVN!
We can’t think or wish ourselves into more confidence. It takes effort and action, bit by bit building a stronger sense of self by doing esteemable acts—acts that push our edges and put us directly in the center of our care and concern. Acts that might be scary and that might have us fall on our face. But we tried; we showed up for ourselves.
In her book, Esteemable Acts - A Guide to Right Living, Francine Ward outlines five basic principles of esteemable acts:
>There is no quick fix; there is work to be done
> Self-esteem comes from being in the game
> Self-esteem is what happens along the way to living a courageous and purposeful life
> Self-esteem comes from behaving in a way that makes you feel good about yourself
> Walking through fear is the key
Often I see clients who admittedly have low self-esteem and who perpetuate this state by giving away their power in an effort to be better/more likable/less afraid. For example, accepting unacceptable behavior (from clients mostly); not putting a stake in the ground around their professional opinion; saying yes to projects, agreements or plans that make them feel less than; comparing their insides to the outsides of others (often on social media); and a biggie, not practicing self-care.
Unfortunately, all of these have the exact opposite effect. Fear keeps them from being authentic, speaking up, walking away or digging in—the esteemable actions.
Fear is the human condition, it’s unavoidable. And we don’t have to stay there. There are always choices; you always have other options! Those choices may scare you, but that’s a different type of fear.
As Tara Mohr so beautifully explains in Playing Big, in biblical Hebrew there is pachad (fear of a future outcome; projected or imagined fear) and there is yirah (the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly inhabit a larger space than or have more energy than we are used to; being on sacred ground). The latter accompanies esteemable acts or when we are at the threshold of something big and new. We often confuse this excited, elevated feeling with little “f” fear (False Evidence Appearing Real). Sadly, it keeps us from growing and taking risks.
You don’t have to do it alone! Hiring a coach or another trusted advisor is one way to do the work with the support of a trained professional. I have also witnessed clients master their fear and build esteem with regular Positive Intelligence (PQ) practice.
Jump on my calendar if you want to chat about your goals and challenges around esteem. And check out the special member offers in the Toolkit!
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