Tool For Tuesday: 5 Tips on Building Self-Esteem

My friend, Erika–the one who asked me, “How do you stop the pain of being alive?” — asked me another question, “How do you build self-esteem?”

“Well, what do you feel like?”

“Like I’m 6 years old.”

“And what do you need as a 6-year-old?”

“A lot of love.”

Right, so start from there. How do you love yourself? Here are a few simple things.

1. Get a comforting thing. I know it sounds weird and embarrassing but go into a kids’ store and buy a blanket or a stuffed animal that speaks to this little kid who is scared and unloved. Maybe you feel you didn’t get enough mothering – now is your time to mother yourself.

“But that’s self-indulgent!” Valerie said.

“Whose voice is that? Probably the same voice that didn’t hug you much for fear of “spoiling” you or wanting you to grow up tough. We’re never too old to mother ourselves.

2. Remember that building self-esteem can’t be done overnight. It’s a daily goal. Positive acts build self-esteem. If you’re a parent, that means congratulating your kids for simple acts done well. It means doing positive acts for you. What’s a positive act? A candle-lit bath, flowers, a walk, taking time to talk to a friend, cooking something healthy for dinner–even dinner for uno.

3. We learn about ourselves in small illuminations. All at once would blind us. We can enjoy the insights we learn about ourselves each day and be patient. More insights will follow. We can’t do an immediate 180-change on ourselves over the weekend. But every day we can do something for ourselves to build our self-esteem.

4. Thoughts count. What we think we become. Every time we catch ourselves thinking a negative thought, hit the channel clicker and change thoughts. Feeling resentful about someone? Pray for their health, happiness and prosperity – the same things you pray for yourself and your loved ones. (I know this is a hard one when we feel so angry at someone and don’t even want to spend time thinking about him. But no excuse! It doesn’t matter who. We still gotta pray for ’em.) Feeling scared? Replace that four-letter word fear with that five-letter word, faith. Believe in the unbelievable good for yourself.

5. Get a journal. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Valerie did not like that one. She felt she had to write perfectly with her best handwriting. But journals are meant to go unread. I have written hundreds of them and then burned them. They are only for ourselves. Prayer, rants, hopes, dreams. Get it all out from your heart and soul through your hand. It works.

Tool For Tuesday: We can’t do an immediate 180-change on ourselves over the weekend. But every day we can do something for ourselves to build our self-esteem.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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3 Responses to Tool For Tuesday: 5 Tips on Building Self-Esteem

  1. These are good reminders, Diana, especially during the busy holidays…and especially the suggestion of choosing a toy or some comfort object you’d like as a child. I’m not quite sure who Valerie is, but I wish her and Erica success with these techniques!

  2. Diana, so important to implement these suggestions. 🙂

  3. Pingback: A Creed For Self Love | Integrating The Multifaceted Being

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