Friday, April 5, 2013

Building Your Self-Esteem: Part 2

Building Your Self-Esteem to Take the First Steps to Changing Your Life
Part II: Overusing Your Positive Traits
What’s holding you back from being all that you can be? 

Maybe it’s low self-esteem.

Healthy self-esteem is the foundation of your life. Whether or not you succeed in reaching your goals depends on the level of your self-esteem. Feelings of low self-worth and low self-confidence can hold you back from having all success that you desire because unconsciously you feel that you don’t deserve it.

This is because the hallmark of healthy self-esteem is feeling deserving of having the good things in life. Feeling deserving means you have an expectation that what you need and ask for will be provided. If you suspect that you don’t think you deserve that good job, promotion, or raise that you desire, then perhaps you’re not considering everything that you have going for you.

Last month, we looked at self-esteem in terms of your positive traits. You looked over the box of positive traits listed below and selected five which you felt described you best.

These five traits are your “anchors” and you’ll find that you take great pride in being recognized for these traits by people who are important to you. For example, you might be the oldest in your family and, growing up, you were praised for being responsible. Now when your employer recognizes that same trait, you experience that same sense of pride.

Active, adaptable, adventurous, affectionate, analytical, artistic, assertive, attentive, brave, calm, caring, charitable, cheerful, compassionate, collaborative, competent, concerned, confident, congenial, considerate, creative, curious, daring, decisive, dedicated, determined, devoted, diplomatic, discreet , dynamic, eager, easygoing, effective, empathic, energetic, enthusiastic, extroverted, faithful, fearless, firm, flexible, forgiving, friendly, fun-loving, generous, giving, happy, healthy, hopeful, honest, humble, humorous, idealistic, important, impulsive, inquisitive, intellectual, involved, jolly, just, kind, knowledgeable, logical, lonely, lovable, loving, lucky, magnanimous, motivated, neglected, nervous, open-minded, organized, outgoing, pampered, passionate, patient, perceptive, persistent, persuasive, playful, positive, practical, rational, realistic, reluctant, respectful, responsible, sensible, serious, sociable, spontaneous, spunky, strong, talented, talkative, tenacious, tender, thoughtful, tolerant, trustworthy, truthful, understanding, witty.


Now, this month, I’d like you to look at the same five traits, your anchors, and consider whether you could be overusing these anchors and limiting your self-expression.

·         First, using the example of “responsible,” are you sometimes too responsible which causes you to be taken advantage of? Check out each of the five anchors you identified and consider whether you might over use them at home, at work, or socially with your friends. Overusing a good thing can limit you. Strive for balance.

·         Next, consider how you might modify these anchors and expand on your self-expression. Instead of being the rational friend who everyone counts on to be grounded and reasonable, could you allow yourself to be whimsical and imaginative at times? Where could you express yourself in this way?

In keeping with our April theme of volunteering, discover a place you could volunteer and explore this new aspect of your personality.

·         Also, if you are the dependable employee who always can be counted on, no matter how many things you are juggling, can you sometimes say “No” and allow someone else to be dependable?

If you are less committed at work, this leaves more time for you to explore other opportunities such as volunteering in the community. Find ways to feel good about your life that are new and different.

Finally, allow yourself to be the opposite of your anchors or to modify your anchors so that you expand on the range of your self-expression. Every trait has a place.

Be all that you can be!
Ellen Diana is a psychologist, author of the Lucky Dreamer Tip Series, and co-author of the Charge up Your Life series of self-help books. She has 30 years’ experience working with children, adults, couples, and families in schools and in private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. Helping women to evolve into their best selves through personal growth and self-awareness is a passion of hers. Ellen raised three successful children as a single parent and so has special interests in mentoring other women in transition and helping parents to raise resilient children. Contact Ellen at or through her website

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