The word Self Esteem I use to dodge this word. I actually hated this word because of how it made me feel. I must have been about 8 years old when I first heard the word and it was from my teacher Mr. Hansen. During one of those parent-teacher conferences, I recall hearing him say to my parents that I seem to be struggling with mine. When I was drawing I flourished and he witnessed a shift in how I felt about myself. He suggested to my parents to get me involved in art... thank God for that intuition!
Now at my current age, I would have never thought I would be such an expert on the subject. I study it daily in my personal life and in my work. I have witnessed for years that no matter the success we have all at some point struggled with it. You see to have an average self-esteem is to fluctuate between feeling appropriate and inappropriate. To manifest these inconsistencies in behavior is reinforcing the uncertainty about who one is.
These leads me to the one thing I see so many of us what to change... And we must become what we want to teach! I was asked once to look at myself in the mirror. Really look at me in a full-length mirror. To pay attention to what I was feeling, not saying but feeling. It made me uncomfortable. I liked somethings and other details I didn't. As I locked in on my eyes I noticed something I really liked. I felt guilty at first for smiling at myself. Then I said the words out loud 'hey, I like you! I like your smile and the color of your eyes. The light grey with a touch of green and gold in the center. It's cool!'
I now do this weekly. I look for what I like. I still see the parts that are not my fav... but I don't focus on them. Like the legends, of our history focus on the good and you see will see more good!
I want others to build the relationship with self-esteem and to stop protesting it! In learning self-esteem, unwanted emotions will surface. We are quick to want to conquer them or disown them. In the intimacy of this, I could feel my breathing increase and then my mind races quickly to find a distraction. Then I tell my self in a convincing inner voice move along... like a dark alleyway... GET OUT!
The abyss... See esteem doesn't have to be this abyss feeling. Starting small by looking in the mirror and saying one thing nice to yourself out loud. You need to hear it. Own it. Feel it. To increase your self-esteem is not easy but it can be done. One small glance in the mirror becomes a minute then 2 then 3 and in those 3 minutes find all that is great about you. Increase the list daily.
Today I will be photographing woman fighting cancer and they will get the same message on the door as all do. 'Leave any unkind words here at the door'. See the words placed in luggage. Leave them here. You don't need to carry this luggage into your photo shoot. We talk only kindness, love and joy past this door. After your session when you leave, YOU decide, if you want to pick that old heavy bag of luggage. All bags left will be tossed in the incinerator to never be carried again!
I challenge you today to spend 60 seconds looking at yourself in the mirror. Look and SEE the beautiful being you are. You are perfectly made and you are BEAUTIFUL. Be kind to your heart, your mind, your soul. You are a miracle! Marvel at your beauty and welcome the extraordinary you to the surface every single day!