Category Archives: inspirational stories

Learning to build your Self Esteem

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by Barbra Williams Cosentino R.N., C.S.W.

 

Do you berate yourself for things you do or say? Are you afraid to make a mistake? Relax. Chances are you’re not a bad person, and most likely, you do at least one thing well. Perhaps it’s time for a self-esteem tune-up.

Yale University researchers recently found that a “bad hair day” can be hazardous to your mental health. If something as insignificant as an out-of-control coif can “diminish your self-esteem and inspire feelings of incompetence, self-doubt, and even self-hatred,” what might happen if you were late for work? Or had a fight with your boss?

“How we feel about ourselves crucially affects virtually every aspect of our experience…from the way we function at work, in love, in sex, to the way we operate as parents, to how high in life we are likely to rise. The dramas of our lives are the reflections of our most private visions of ourselves,” says Nathaniel Branden, a renowned psychotherapist and author, viewed by many as “the father of modern-day self-esteem psychology.”

The Foundation of Self-esteem
According to Branden, self-esteem has two components: a feeling of personal competence and a feeling of personal worth, reflecting both your implicit judgment of your ability to cope with life’s challenges and your belief that your interests, rights and needs are important. Healthy self-esteem comes from realistically appraising your capabilities, striving to enhance these capabilities, and compassionately accepting your limitations and flaws. Living consciously—thinking independently, being self-aware, being honest with yourself, having an active orientation, taking risks, and respecting reality—says Branden, is the foundation of good self-esteem.

When Self-esteem Abounds
Branden says that people with high levels of self-esteem do the following things:
Face life with greater confidence, benevolence and optimism
Are more likely to reach their emotional, creative and spiritual goals and experience fulfillment, satisfaction and joy
Are more resilient and better equipped to cope with life’s adversities
Are more likely to form nourishing, rather than destructive, relationships

When Self-esteem Is Lacking
Psychologist Carl Rogers noted that the more accepting people are of themselves, the more likely they are to accept others. Low self-esteem, on the other hand, can profoundly affect your psychological sense of well-being, causing you to feel disconnected from your own feelings and needs and limiting your ability to make healthy choices in love, work and play. People with poor self-esteem may suffer from a chronic fear of abandonment. Others become driven overachievers, perfectionists, or control freaks, believing that they deserve to be loved only for what they accomplish, rather than simply for who they are.

Many have difficulty making decisions, feeling that a wrong decision will lead to the loss of love. Some get caught in the grip of addictions such as overeating, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, or compulsive shopping as a way to avoid unpleasant feelings of alienation, insecurity or self-loathing.

Turning Off the Negative Thoughts
In his bestselling book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, psychiatrist David Burns, M.D., says “You don’t have to do anything especially worthy to create or deserve self-esteem; all you have to do is turn off that critical, haranguing inner voice, because that critical inner voice is wrong! Your internal self-abuse springs from illogical, distorted thinking.”

According to Burns, cognitive distortions such as all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization and personalization can contribute to depression and an impaired sense of self-esteem. His powerfully simple prescription for correcting a negative self-image includes techniques like:
Learning to recognize automatic, self-critical, dysfunctional thoughts that make you feel bad about yourself
Learning to substitute more rational, less upsetting thoughts for these negative ones
Talking back to your internal critic

Raising a Child With Healthy Self-esteem
“The quality of the relationships experienced in childhood appears to be vitally important, since it is at this time that the seeds of self-esteem are sown,” says British psychologist Elaine Sheehan. Child development experts believe that infants need to see “the gleam in the mother’s eye” and to be sensitively mirrored as a way of learning they are loved and loveable.

However, unlike a daily multivitamin, parents cannot give their children self-esteem, but they must provide an emotional climate in which the child’s innate sense of being worthy of love and care can flourish. Self-esteem develops as the result of firm emotional attachment to parents who are loving, nurturing and responsive to their child’s needs while providing a sense of structure and consistency.

Overdoing the Praise
Although adult approval is important, many parents and educators today indiscriminately overpraise children, believing this will foster a high self-esteem. Child psychologist Kenneth N. Condrell, Ph.D., explains: “Self-esteem doesn’t come from saying ‘You’re wonderful’ or ‘You’re number one’.” In fact, frequent exhortations about a child’s specialness may backfire, creating a child who either becomes pathologically dependent on external validation or, conversely, hears so much meaningless praise that he just tunes it out.

One young man who was praised extravagantly for every tiny achievement says, “I started to believe that my parents didn’t really expect much of me. If I took a black crayon and scribbled on a piece of paper they would call me a Picasso…it made me think that they didn’t believe I could do any better.”

A Healthy Balance
True self-esteem comes from within—from mastering new tasks (using the potty, tying one’s shoelaces), developing impulse control (sharing toys, waiting for your turn on the slide), knowing your strengths and weaknesses (“I’m good at throwing a ball but not such a good ice-skater”), learning how to solve problems, making and keeping friends, and owning and evaluating your own accomplishments (“now I know my ABC’s…”). Bumper stickers that proclaim “My child’s an honor student at Smithtown Middle School” may help to promote self-esteem, but the real sense of inner accomplishment and pride comes from the child knowing he has done a good job and worked hard to attain his full potential.

Tips for Building Self-esteem in Children
Nancy Poitou, a marriage and family therapist in Southern California, suggests that parents who want to help their children develop self-esteem follow these guidelines:
Accept your child as a separate human being with emotions that are important.
Respond to your children’s successes with small celebrations, and comfort and encourage them when they fail.
Tell your children you love them just the way they are and hug them often.
Speak to your kids with respect and loving kindness.
Teach your children developmentally appropriate decision-making skills.
When disciplining, differentiate the behavior from the child. Do not label the child with name calling, but focus on the child’s unacceptable actions.
Show interest in your child’s thoughts, feelings and daily activities.

A Rewarding Journey
Learning to feel good about who we are is a journey that takes time, patience, self-awareness and an ability to forgive ourselves for our human frailties. As difficult as that may be, the rewards—self confidence, improved relationships, a more positive self-image and a sense that all’s right with the world—make it a goal worth striving

Work from your Strengths not Weakness

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Work from your Strengths not Weakness

The following is the story of one 10-year-old boy who
decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his
left arm in a devastating car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The
boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after
three months of training, the master had taught him only one
move.

“Sensei,” the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning
more moves?”

“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move
you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the
boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first
tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first
two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult,
but after some time, his opponent became impatient and
charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match.
Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more
experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched.
Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a
time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei
intervened.

“No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.”

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical
mistake; He dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his
move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the
tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and the sensei reviewed every move
in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage
to ask what was really on his mind.

“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First,
you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in
all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that
move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

Beautiful story of giving

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Beautiful story of giving

I found this and it just touched my heart, brought a tear to my eye and reminded me that no matter how rough things are we can still effect our lives or the lives of others.

A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was “too crowded.

” “I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class.

The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus. Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings.

Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.

Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.”

For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. But the story does not end there…

A newspaper learned of the story and published It. It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.

Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00–a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300. And be sure to visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russel H. Conwell, author of the book, “Acres of Diamonds”. This is a true story, which goes to show WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH 57 CENTS.