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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Feburary is National Self Esteem Month


Greetings:

The month of February is National Self Esteem Month. Self Esteem is important to our mental and physical health. I found a great article on Exploring Womanhood by Kim Green-Spangler that gives great tips on how to increase your self esteem.

So much can and does effect your self esteem. Entire books have been written about how to boost and maintain self esteem. What I wanted to share today is something I think is so important to maintaining a healthy dose of self esteem and that is to take credit for the things you have done, accomplished, your skills and your strengths. Accepting compliments and acknowledgment for your achievements is a great way to increase your self esteem. For many this isn't an easy thing to do, but practice will help you get better at it.

How many times have people thanked you for helping them, or you have been recognized for a job well done and your first response was "Oh, it was nothing." Too often we don't appreciate or accept the contribution we made. We believe that what we did wasn't all that special because we did it. That simply isn't true. We all have gifts and talents to share and they make a difference.

Learn to accept compliments, praise, and recognition. This isn't about having a big ego. This is about developing positive self-esteem. When we are able to let in the good words of others, our confidence and self-esteem are boosted. Notice I didn't say created, because without having positive self-esteem in the first place it would be difficult to hear the good words of others. We would automatically deflect them. We need to develop our own positive self esteem by first recognizing that we are worthwhile and what we contribute is worthwhile. For some, this takes practice. Once we build our own self-esteem, the compliments from others just add to our good feelings toward ourselves. It is the icing on the cake.

When receiving compliments, recognition, and praise, practice saying, "Thank you." You don't have to say anything else. In fact, resist the urge to say anything else. This might take practice for some, and that is okay. If you were taught to be modest about your contributions, then it will be challenging to accept appreciation. And if you haven't received much appreciation for your contributions, it also will be challenging.

If you don't receive a lot of compliments, recognition and praise, ask for it. I know this sounds odd and might be difficult to do at first, but it is important. First, it is for you to be appreciated for your contributions. And yes it does count if you ask for it. Secondly, it is to train others to show appreciation. Many of us don't know how to demonstrate our appreciation because we haven't received much for ourselves. Let the person know what you are looking for and how they can show their appreciation. It might be as simple as telling your children you want them to tell you how good dinner was, to asking your boss to say thank you when you have accomplished a project. This will feel awkward at first, but the feeling that the recognition will bring will be worth it.

Happy National Self Esteem Month

Here's to taking action,

Rachelle

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