Self-Esteem: A Story of Before and After

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Self-Esteem: A Story of Before and After

Yesterday, I had one of “those days.”

You know what I am talking about!  A day when everything feels like it is going wrong, takes more effort than it usually does, keeps adding up making you feel like you can’t catch a break, and you find yourself wondering, “What is going on here?!”

I felt like my core was a little off, or frazzled, and I just couldn’t quite get centered.  You know what I mean?

Here’s the interesting part… I’ve been on my own personal self-esteem improving journey for several years now- I am lucky enough to be one of those people who’s personal and professional passion are the same; plus, how can I help people improve self-esteem if I haven’t done it myself, right? Anyway, yesterday, I saw a huge “before and after” difference in how I handled, recovered from, and felt about one of “those days” and decided to share.

“The Before”

In the past this is how it would have gone….

  1. The first 1 or 2 things that went wrong would have been enough to ruin the whole day.
  2. I would have felt like I had done something to deserve this type of day.
  3. I would have stressed and felt anxious that things were going to stay this way…forever.
  4. I would have taken it out on other people, like my husband.
  5. I would have had a yucky night, and probably done something unhealthy to “forget the day” like have too many cocktails, eat too much, or zone out to TV.

Instead or “The After”

Now, after spending time and effort developing, strengthening, and becoming aware of my core-self, and exploring, researching, and educating myself on what self-esteem actually is this is how “those days” go for me instead….

1.  It took about 9 or 10 things for me to start feeling frazzled and frustrated with my day.  AND I was able to still enjoy many aspects of my day (like lunch with friends, shopping at Staples, catching up with my mentor).   My day wasn’t black or white, good or bad, it was a mixture of both which made it more enjoyable than it would have been BCS (before core-self).

2.  I never thought once that I had done something to deserve this.  Instead, I found myself thinking about how this is a universal experience.  Everyone has “those days” and this experience will only help me better enjoy the positive days when they come around again.

3.  I didn’t doubt for a second that this day would end!  I found myself reciting some of my favorite quotes, “this too shall pass,” and “what a difference a year makes” to remind myself that this frazzled feeling would end.  Which made me curious about why this day happened, what could I learn from it, what part could I be grateful for….hence this blog post {wink}.

4.  I didn’t take my bad day out on anyone.  Not my husband, my pets, the annoying people who were power washing our garage and majorly adding to my day’s frustration, or myself.  I was able to stay centered enough to know it wasn’t anyone’s fault, no one was targeting me, and I’d only feel worse after if I was bitchy to the people in my life.

5.  I knew how to recover and heal from the day, and I did things that filled me up and let me process what had happened.  I took a shower, picturing all the junk from the day being rinsed off me and into the drain.  I shared, not vented, with my husband about my day.  I asked (nicely I might add) if he’d make dinner so I could rest a bit.  I wrote in my journal while he cooked so I could process and reflect on my progress, and outline this blog post.  Then, we settled in with the last disk of “The Big C” a show by Showtime that we have been really enjoying and stayed present and connected during the whole show and thought about how small my bad day is in the scheme of so many things, including cancer.  (The show is about cancer.)

Are you a Before or After?

If you relate to my “before” responses to one of “those days” you are not alone!  It’s how most of us feel about “those days” because most of us misinterpret self-esteem and don’t know what a core-self is, or what one looks like.

Many of us think of self-esteem as a positive way of thinking or viewing ourselves.  That if we think we are pretty, cool, nice, friendly, successful, lovable then we have a high self-esteem.

In reality, self-esteem is having a Core-Self; a strong and flexible sense of self, confidence in our coping skills, a solid grounded awareness of who we are, what we can handle and what makes us, us.

Self-Esteem is a belief, not a thought, of who we are.

This distinction matters!

A thought is just that- it’s an idea or hypothesis that has yet to be tested.  A belief on the other hand, is certainly, a trust, an acceptance of a truth.   Believing that we are cool, funny, pretty, successful, lovable comes from a much deeper, tried tested and proven, level of ourselves.  Believing comes from our core.

All the beliefs we have about ourselves, all the things we know for sure about ourselves because we tested them, combine to create our core-self.   When we have a core-self to pull strength from, we experience “those days” totally differently.   We are able to move past worrying about “those days,” and start learning from them, practicing getting through them, and witnessing our own growth through them, which in turn strengthens our core-self even more!

So I guess the self-esteem question really becomes, do you want to just think better of yourself, or do you want to believe better about yourself?


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