By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
My self esteem is increasing. I think it’s the homemade lima beans. I’m doing something really difficult right now. But it’s getting easier. For the past week and a half I have been doing a two week seasonal food cleanse, which means eating absolutely no wheat, potatoes, corn, coffee, beef, sugar or dairy. This diet, recommended by my naturopathic friend, is supposed to help flush out the toxins that accumulate from stress, environmental pollution, convenience foods, and the like.
I have learned a lot from this experience. For instance, that I have a strong pain tolerance. For the first three days I had a headache like someone was drilling a pilot hole into my brain. But I got through it. I learned that gluten free buns taste like cardboard holding a grudge against humanity. But I ate it anyway. I discovered the joy of blending raw cashews with dates and fresh mint and ice cubes and almond milk which tastes—honest—as good as ice cream.
I also felt my self esteem rise. After all I was doing something really hard that was good for me. I broke free of my addiction to morning coffee. I felt clear headed and optimistic. If I can do this difficult thing, what else can I do?
Just like me on my cleanse, when clients enter therapy, they are doing something really hard. When they open up, tell their stories, and revisit painful emotions from their past, they are doing something really hard.
Self esteem is one of the few positive emotions that do not come from our relationships with others. It doesn’t come from being loved. It comes from doing difficult things that are good, for us and/or for others. Self esteem comes from esteem-able acts. Esteem-able acts vary, depending on our values and abilities.
Conquering a physical challenge, submitting for treatment to conquer an addiction, learning something new, entering therapy, exiting an unhealthy relationship or job, volunteering, being friendly (if you’re an introvert) or spending time in solitude (if you’re an extrovert) are all self esteem building acts.
I encourage you to think about one difficult thing you can do this week!
- How to Boost Your Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
- How to Battle Low Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
- Building positive self-esteem in our children (tina7serrano.wordpress.com)
- Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
- 8 reasons why you should have high self-esteem (angelashella.net)