Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Boost Your Self Esteem: Stop the Storytelling

By Amy Phillips-Gary

When I was in high school, I had the honor of being in many plays and musicals*. It was wonderfully creative and fun to be up on stage singing, dancing and acting with friends.

And it was also a gut-wrenching experience.

Before and after each show I usually assessed my performance. Almost every time, I honed in on the mistakes I made (or expected to make)-- lines out of order, missteps or voice slightly off-key.

One of my grandmothers attended as many of my plays, musicals and concerts as she could. After every single performance, she would gush and shower me with praise about how talented I am, how much I shone on that stage and other delightful compliments.

So, who's assessment of my performance was accurate?

Of course, she was my grandmother and, given who she was, she was going to see only the best in me. As a self-conscious teen who tended to also be self-critical, my propensity was to mainly see the flaws.

Neither of our stories were completely true. At the same time, neither of our stories were completely false. Up on that stage I undoubtedly made mistakes and I undoubtedly also shined.

We all tell stories. We tell ourselves stories about why a person said particular words to us. We tell ourselves stories about why our government is the the way it is. We also tell ourselves stories about who we are and what we can and cannot be.

Low self esteem is almost always founded upon a person repeating to him or herself story after story about inadequacy, failure and limitation.

If you live with low self esteem, start to pay closer attention to the stories you tell yourself. Notice your stories and be aware of how they probably tie in with past events in your life.

Our stories are usually rooted in the past. It might be helpful for you to acknowledge how tied to the past your present story about yourself may be.

Ask if the story you are telling yourself is a fit for where you are at this moment. If it isn't, why not let it go?

Sometimes an old story you've been repeating over and over again appears to be somewhat true. If so, recognize this as a story about one aspect of how you are right now. This is not necessarily how you will be tomorrow.

Take responsibility for the stories you tell yourself. After all, you are the master storyteller of your own life.

Even if you initially heard these criticisms or negative declarations from a parent, sibling, peer or another adult, you get to decide which stories to keep telling yourself and which to release.

In other words, you can stop telling yourself the stories that continue to fuel your low self esteem. Instead, you can begin to create and affirm different stories about yourself that will boost your sense of self worth.

This isn't about fantasy. Your new, self-affirming stories can focus in on those aspects about yourself and your life that you are okay with. They might also include intentions that will help you make the changes you'd like to make.

Your new stories can start out small and build into the epic adventures of success, love, abundance, worthiness and joy that you desire.

*The image above is NOT of me on stage as a teenager. It is thanks to dmblue444

Personal Growth Planet blog is taking part in National Blog Posting Month (http://www.nablopomo.com/). Every weekday in November, you'll find shorter daily blogs linked by weekly themes.

No comments:

Post a Comment