The truth is that we all have to earn our own self-worth. We can't just force ourselves to love ourselves just because our parents told us we are perfect. Instead, we have to go out into the world and behave in such a way that we live up to our own standards and earn our self-respect.
Self-esteem and confidence are not things that can be handed out at awards banquets. They are not shifts we can make to our mindset without something to back them up. Self-confidence and self-worth must be earned.
How do we earn them? We stop living by other people’s standards and instead define our own set of standards for what makes someone worthy and lovable. And then we start living up to those standards by acting accordingly. We spend time using our strengths, and we live in alignment with our values.
When we spend time using our strengths, we naturally feel good about ourselves, and we feel empowered. Using our strengths feels good and ignites our sense of self-confidence. And when we live...
The stories you tell about yourself become self-fulfilling prophecies. They drive your behavior, influence how others respond to you, and either empower you to achieve your dreams or place unnecessary limits on your potential.
Let's look at an example. Imagine that you are a high school student and you tell yourself this story: "I am not very good at school."
This belief would make you feel insecure and anxious in the classroom, which would likely make you reluctant to participate, as well. This would cause your teachers to judge you poorly and give you lower grades, which would corroborate your belief in your academic ineptitude.
All this would probably make you less likely to try very hard at your schoolwork, which would further perpetuate the cycle.
On the other hand, if you told even a slightly more empowering story, the cycle would perpetuate on a more positive track. Imagine if this were the story instead: "It sometimes takes me longer, but I always figure it out."
Helping someone we care about feels good. We feel useful and connected when we support people we love.
Why, then, are we so reluctant to let others help us?
Often, we believe that if we ask for help, or even allow others to volunteer support, we will be a burden. We think we should be able to handle our problems on our own. We believe that putting our own needs ahead of someone else’s makes us selfish. We might even think we do not deserve to be taken care of.
However, if we dig a little deeper, we might realize that these beliefs do not serve us.
Why would we push someone away when we could take the opportunity to feel more connected by allowing someone to witness our vulnerability?
Why would we choose to go it alone when we could take an opportunity to be loved by someone?
Why would we choose to feel unworthy when we could take an opportunity to feel deserving?
If you have ever taken care of a loved one when they needed it, you know that it feels good to demonstrate how much...
Daydreaming offers a chance to believe that your desires are possible.
When we first have desires, they can feel out of reach—too big to even hope for. Daydreaming allows you to expand what is possible and explore those kernels of passion you have stowed away in the deep recesses of your heart.
Every great athlete imagined standing on the podium receiving a gold medal. Every great musician imagined playing in sold-out concert halls or sports arenas. Every great actor imagined giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars.
There is power in imagining that a dream could possibly come true. Daydreaming is a building block of believing, and when we believe, we take steps toward making our dreams come true.
We live in a time when we are attached to devices that ensure we never have to be bored, but this means we never daydream. This means we cannot hear our Inner Wisdom or tap into our inner sense of creativity.
There is a...
We all hope that our children confide in us. But sometimes, they might feel afraid to tell us what is really going on.
Or, they might feel embarrassed.
Here's a great way to keep the lines of communication open ...
Let your kids pick out a journal they love. Tell them that if they ever feel afraid to tell you something, they can write it in the journal and leave it under your pillow.
Promise them that you will do your best to write your response on the next page of the journal and leave it under your child's pillow.
Of course, there may be times when your children disclose something that requires a one-on-one, in-person conversation.
But often, you can save your children a little embarrassment or anxiety by simply letting the conversations occur in a journal. It will help your children open up and continue to confide in you as their lives become more and more complex.
Truth be told, most of us have a few pet peeves around the house. And, chances are, your family members have a few pet peeves of their own. Some of them are big. Some are small. Regardless, your home should be a place for relaxing, for feeling loved, and for giving love.
Why not take some time to address these pet peeves in a way that is funny, engaging, and easy to resolve? Here is an activity sheet to help guide your conversations with your family members to resolve these irritations and make your home culture more joy-filled.
People used to say things to Bode like, “It’s so easy for you to make friends!”
But when he went away to college, he felt shy and insecure. Inside, he felt like he was struggling to find a social group. He thought that maybe he was a fraud—that he didn’t really have this great friend-making attribute that everyone had assigned to him.
When you tell your children that they are something—whether that is a positive or negative thing—you risk simultaneously and inadvertently telling them that they cannot be something else.
This comes at a risk. A child who is told that she is smart will freak out a little bit (or a lot) on the inside when she cannot tackle a problem or when she makes an error.
I hope no one finds out my secret, she will think, and it will shut down the lines of communication. After all, no one wants to be found out as an imposter.
It’s hard, if not impossible, to resist the urge to label a...
What is the extent to which your child can take feedback and use it to grow better, stronger, and happier?
A lot of people (grownups included) get offended and defensive when they get feedback. They shut down. They interpret the feedback as an attack on their character or as an indication that they are failing.
But resilient people use feedback as an opportunity to discover ways to live up to their potential. Though hearing criticisms is never easy, and everyone gets defensive every now and then, resilient people learn to evaluate feedback, asking such questions as:
Resilient people know that being imperfect and/or failing is a part of life—at least for those who are willing to get in the game. Instead of wallowing in their failures and imperfections, they learn from them and turn them into...
Some activities make us feel empowered, strong, and happy. Others drain us. And it might seem obvious which activities are which, but sometimes, you will find that you are surprisingly disempowered or drained by activities you initially engaged in to feel relaxed.
Here are two examples: Watching television and spending time on social media.
If you watch television to relax, make sure that you haven't started watching shows that make you feel anxious. For example, I stopped watching the nightly news years ago because I found it depressing and anxiety-producing. Now I get my news from other sources that do not make me feel so disempowered.
If you spend time on social media to feel connected, make sure you aren’t engaging in arguments that leave you feeling disconnected or angry. Some people thrive on political discourse, for example, and there is nothing wrong with that. But pay attention to whether your time on social media leaves you feeling empowered or disempowered. If you...
Forgive people. Even if they do not deserve your forgiveness, you deserve to be free of resentment, sadness, and anger.
These negative emotions feel bad—to you. They are appropriate, at times, but carrying them around forever will degrade your life. Your negative feelings might have no effect on the person with whom you are upset, but they will certainly enslave you to the harm that was done to you in the past.
Each time you think of your anger, sadness, or resentment, you inflict that painful emotion on yourself. Someone else might have inflicted that pain upon you initially, but you are one who continues to inflict it on yourself.
Why keep punishing yourself for what someone else did to you?
Choose a more powerful path. Feel your negative emotions. Acknowledge them. Accept them.
Then, when you are ready, allow them to be a voice of your needs by asking yourself: “What do I need to feel better, and what can I do to get that need met?”
Another good question is:...