Lesson #5: Rebuild Your Self-Esteem

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Heartbreak can take a toll on self-esteem if you’re not paying attention. If you’ve experienced it, you know that on your worst days, heartbreak can cause you to question your own worth and agonize over how a person you loved so dearly could so suddenly be out of your life. In order to move forward and let go, these thoughts must be combatted by strengthening the self-esteem. When you’re working on building up self-esteem, make sure you are as progressive as possible. You want to continue to advance and move forward in life rather than slide backwards. Engaging in activities that don’t honor your strengths and primarily highlight your weaknesses can stifle your progress. Simply put, try to spend less time on the things that you suck horribly at, and spend more time doing what makes you feel competent, strong, beautiful, and energized.

Take in Positive Reinforcement

Taking in positive reinforcement is like taking medication. It supports the immune system by helping to fight off whatever is attacking the body. In the same way, positive reinforcement supports the self-esteem by helping to fight off negative messages and experiences that can attack us from day to day. Positive reinforcement can strengthen a weakened self-esteem. And just like medicine, positive reinforcement is also available in many forms. It can come through supportive friends, the words you speak to yourself, or activities that simply make you feel great about yourself. All forms of positive reinforcement help to combat negative feelings and beliefs that can weaken and break down the self-esteem.

For starters, it’s absolutely essential that you are careful about the words you speak to yourself. This is not the time to call yourself stupid, lazy, pitiful, pathetic, or whatever other negative words you may be tempted to speak. This is a time when you have to be intentional about speaking positively about yourself. “I am awesome.” “I rocked in that meeting today.” “My life is on an upswing.” “I am on the verge of greatness.” Don’t wait for other people to tell you these things, say them to yourself. Work them into your conversations. It won’t be long before the people who love and respect you begin to echo these affirmations for you.

Avoid Negative Energy 

I assume that you’d never go mountain climbing in the snow while fighting the flu, because that certainly wouldn’t build up your immune system. It would make you feel worse. The same applies to building up your self-esteem. This is not the time to pursue projects or initiatives that bring more stress and frustration than peace and satisfaction. If at all possible, avoid activities or situations that bring you down until your self-esteem is stronger. Of course, this is easier said than done, as these tasks can’t always be avoided, especially if they are a part of how you make a living. If you can’t avoid doing the grunt work, do the best you can to go heavy on the feel-good stuff while keeping the feel-bad stuff to a minimum. Rebuilding your self-esteem should be a priority. Do whatever you can to protect and support it.

Just as it is important to avoid activities that are draining and highlight your weaknesses, it’s also important to avoid activities that compromise your dignity. For many of us, going through a breakup can be a very vulnerable and unstable time. Some people respond with anger and are tempted to take revenge by keying cars, slashing tires, or using the kids against the ex. I’ve seen situations in which men and women alike become consumed with jealousy and expend a great deal of energy investigating what the ex is doing, who the ex is seeing, and in some cases, attempt to sabotage the ex’s future relationships. Some people even turn on themselves and become involved in self-destructive behaviors such as excessive substance abuse or sexual carelessness.

All such responses to a breakup, no matter how liberating or justified they may feel at the moment, compromise your dignity. This only causes more to harm to your self-esteem because if you’re on the road to living a more empowered and productive life, you’ll eventually feel like crap for causing a scene or sleeping with all of those guys or becoming obsessed over finding out about the new person in your ex’s life. Your dignity comes from knowing that you are the bigger person, that you are growing each day (rather than regressing), that you are stronger than the voice that tempts you to do something that is just flat out stupid. It’s simply not worth risking your self-esteem over. Hold on to your dignity with both hands and both feet if you have to. Do nothing – nothing at all – that will compromise it.

Your self-esteem is priceless. It is the single most important aspect of yourself that makes letting go and moving forward possible. A strong self-esteem will tell you that you are beautiful enough to attract someone who sees your beauty, that you are intelligent enough to create an amazing life for yourself, that you are secure enough to enjoy that life to its fullest, that you are strong enough to thrive during difficult times, and that you are irresistible enough to surround yourself with equally irresistible people. When you believe in yourself and feel good about yourself, your whole world view changes, and in turn, your whole world changes.

The idea is to build up your self-esteem so that you can live out your life purpose and be a positive influence in the lives of others. Be proactive about it. Because until you get on board, there is absolutely nothing that anyone outside of you can do to build you up. If you take medication for a fever and your immune system refuses to get on board, that medication is totally useless. In the same sense, you could be the finest chick in the room, getting compliments left and right. You could have friends that wish they were as funny or intelligent or professional as you are. You could have the greatest therapist ever. But if you are not on board – if you are not proactive about rebuilding your own self-esteem – none of those outside forces will matter. It’s up to you to make it happen. Build yourself up, so that you can let go and move forward!

Pamela Antoinette
This Hopeful Romantic

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