Clients repeatedly wish for a healthy sense of self-esteem. Some never had it, in others it got damaged lastingly in one too many negative experience. But a healthy sense of self-esteem is intrinsically connected to our ability to love ourselves. That in turn is the premise for a fulfilled life and fulfilled relationships and therefore an existential necessity. These three exercises can help with that. They are neither new nor unknown. In many variations they are recommended by therapists and coaches in various self-help books.
My three versions go like this:
1) Boost your self-esteem!
Write down all the things you like about yourself. And if you cannot think of any, you can ask others what they particularly like about you. For example good friends and colleagues.
Sometimes it is also helpful to think about why you want to be liked by others and express that accordingly. It is important of course, to be truly honest with yourself. A list can then look somewhat like this:
- I like myself, because I
- am almost always in a good mood
- get along well with most people
- have good health
- am good at my job
- like laughing
- am making great omelettes
- thought of a great present for my daughter
This list can be extended as much as you want. Ideally you read it over and over again with a sense of gratitude. For those are all the reasons why your own life is so worth living and you so worth loving!
2) Boost your self-esteem even more!
The advanced version is to write everything down, that you are thinking about yourself. Often this is rather negative. Then you change it into something positive and focus on that in the future. For if we change our self perception and replace self criticism by self-love we can become a happier human being. Here are some examples:
- I am too fat – I love myself no matter how much I weigh
- I am f..ing stubborn – I can be quite persistent and will now allow for more flexibility
- It´s so hard for me to say no – I like myself even if others don´t like me at the moment
For our health of our soul, our psyche, our emotions and our body are absolutely determined by what we think about ourselves. Even if we are the most evil suckers under the sun but have a healthy sense of self-worth, we are still better off than if we´re as kind as Mother Theresa but constantly despair about the bad things in the world and our own inadequacy
3) The mega self-esteem booster for the brave!
For this exercise you need to enlist the help of friends (or you´re a technical wizard and record your own voice to fit the purpose.)
You make a list of all your lovely features and those you want to have. Then you write them down, making sure they´re all positive. Avoid the words not or negatives – our subconscious filters them out. So instead of “not stingy” rather write “generous”.
So a possible text would read somewhat like this:
lovely, imaginative, kind, generous, helpful, funny, loving, sexy, successful, healthy, abundant, loved, creative, charming, magnificent, suprising etc. etc.
It doesn´t matter if the words repeat – make sure you have at least three minutes worth of text!
You print the text out twice and give it to two friends. Then you sit down between your friends. One of them reads the text whispering it into your right ear, while the other whispers the same text starting in the middle in the left ear, both reading at the same time. If the text has ended they can start again at the beginning. The idea is to bypass our mind – it usually gives up within seconds of the exercise. All you have to do is open up with a sense of “I am” and let the niceties pour in!
Do this for at least 7-10 minutes! And ideally you take turns… It´s great fun for all involved!
A good benchmark for a healthy sense of self-esteem
A good benchmark for a health sense of self-worth is the quality of the relationships you have to yourself and others: if people whom you like really like you it is always a good sign!
This exercise can be happily shared with others – may we all become ever more content and loving!