Every once in a while I think it’s a good idea to revisit the question:  How Am I Feeling About Myself?  Don’t go too over board with a daily question that might make you anxious…just ask once in a while.  It’s a little like taking your temperature.  However, I’m thinking about the “check up” because of numerous conversations in the past week or so.  I’ve recently made a few presentations, and daily I work with clients, and although the general themes alter I’ve been hearing far too many people be hard on themselves — questioning how they are doing in the eyes of others — as well as how they are evaluating themselves.

    And those are the two pillars of our self esteem — the feedback we take in from others; and the feedback we give ourselves.

    Imagine you have a softball that sets right in your solar plexus that represents your self esteem.  If you cut it in half, one half represents the affirmation you give yourself; the other the affirmation you take in/accept from others.  When our self esteem is “off” that softball shrinks — sometimes to the size of a raisin!  When you have that unexplained compulsion to cross your arms over your midsection in a somewhat protective manner, it is sometimes because your self esteem is “off.”

    Take a minute and rate your sense of your self esteem this week.  On a scale of 1 to 10.  1 represents the lowest bad feeling possible…and 10 the best.

    Now assess how many “strokes” (or compliments or affirmations) you have given yourself over the past week. How often have you said either in your mind, quietly in your office, or out loud looking in the mirror:  “I did a great job!” —-in that meeting, in that conversation, on that project, WHEREVER….Or simply “I feel good about myself today.”  Those are examples of simple self-affirmation….filling up/replenishing that half of the softball that is dependent on “YOU TO YOU.”

    Now assess how many “strokes” (or compliments or affirmations) you have received from others….AND, extremely important, that you have accepted, “taken in” with a simple and basic thank you! In other words, you accepted the affirmation from the other person.  This is where some of us do a less than amazing job.  We actually discount or push away a compliment/affirmation with things like: “Oh, it was nothing”  “really? I am a little disappointed in my ____” or “thanks, but I really think I could have _____”  The discount means the affirmation does NOT make it into your core of self esteem.

    So, if you don’t affirm yourself, and do so frequently; and if you don’t accept compliments easily and fully, that softball shrinks and you feel yourself slide downward on that 1 to 10 scale.

    Self esteem, feeling truly good about yourself, is dependent on keeping that softball in place….not allowing the shrinkage! And the importance of both halves of the softball needs digesting….we short change ourselves if either aspect of self esteem is over looked…

    So examine yourself periodically.  How am I truly feeling about myself? What was the last good thing I said to myself? When was the last compliment I truly allowed in?  And I think this kind of check up is simply good for mental health.

    There’s plenty of information on affirmations in my book RELEASE FROM POWERLESSNESS: TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE  and in one of my favorite books, I DESERVE LOVE by Sandra Ray.  Read and check in with yourself and be good to yourself. You do deserve it.  And always remember you can ask questions.