Monday, April 23, 2012

Building Your Self Esteem

It is April 23, and in just two and a half months I will be crowning a new Ms. United States at the national pageant in Washington, DC. I love seeing the Facebook updates of new state titleholders being crowned around the nation and look forward to meeting these women this summer. While we say "one life will change forever," the truth is that ALL of these women have the choice to change not only their lives but the lives of others serving as a state titleholder.

Like me, each of these women has overcome personal, professional or financial struggles to get where they are. Many probably doubted the decision to vie for the state title - dollars spent on training, gowns, swimwear, not to mention that ever present self-doubt and fear of rejection. And when you are blessed with the state crown, you then must challenge yourself again while heading to the national stage - which will take even more dedication, more hours and more sacrifices.

The question is, why do it? Sure, every girl likes to put on makeup, see their name in lights, hear the well wishes of others, but the truth is that by facing our own fears, we instill confidence in others. And by overcoming those fears, we are given a platform for change. What we do with that platform is truly the challenge - making the most of the opportunity of becoming a state or national titleholder.

This morning's "Motivational Monday" email from former Mrs. Tennessee Dale Smith Thomas, author of Love Your Hair, Hope You Win, really spoke to me. It reminds me of the short time I have left to make a difference as the reigning Ms. United States and there is no time for selfishness, self-doubt or self anything. This time is not for me, it is for others.


Saturday night my husband and I went out to a restaurant to hear our friend Trish and her band. We had some friends join us and they both have very young daughters. The girls are ages 6 and 9. What is so remarkable to me is the self esteem of these two very bright young ladies. During the evening they danced to the music and even got on stage and sang with the band. I didn't have that confidence at age 20 and certainly not at the age of 6 and 9. I commented to both of their parents how impressed I was that these two girls have such amazing self esteem. They took the risk of getting on stage in front of a full restaurant of people simply because they loved to sing.

I am sure many of you have children in your life that remind you daily to embrace life and live with joy. However, I see so many people that have lost their child like wonder and excitement for living!! You can tell they don't believe in themselves or their dreams. The following article has great ideas for all of us to build our self esteem on a daily basis.

Building Your Self Esteem, written by Mary Johnson

The following list consists of ten different steps to take that will help you to raise your self-esteem. For all those times you need to feel good about yourself, using these methods will help you take control of the way you feel about yourself. Your greatest victory will come in knowing that it’s not the way others perceive you, but rather it’s the way that you perceive yourself, which can make all the difference.

Step Number One: Remember that without risk, there is no progress. If you never try anything new, you will never know anything different about yourself. Learn to be a risk-taker with some aspects of your life. And by taking a class, or learning something new, you’ll discover new things about yourself.

Step Number Two: Imagine your goals are achieved. Of course, most of us rarely accomplish all the goals that we’ve set for ourselves. But if you want to own a home, start a business, have children, or travel- whatever your goal may be, you can visualize it and at some point, it helps the dream to become reality.

Step Number Three: Start a Victory Wall of accomplishments. Along the way, we all have moments in our lives that we cherish and want to remember. Whether it was a childhood blue ribbon, a photograph of a special time or place, or a memento or an award that we received, we can all use a boost from showcasing our triumphs and achievements. These can be displayed on a bulletin board or by using a wall of photos.

Step Number Four: Remember to thank people who are helpful to you. You will feel better about yourself if you give other people strokes for their accomplishments too. Whether it is your child or someone else’s, a friend who needs a boost, or someone you admire or perhaps has helped you in some way, you will learn that by boosting morale in others it is an important boost for you as well. It says good things about you if you are able to acknowledge strengths and triumphs in those around you.

Step Number Five: Make your bedtime a happy, quiet time. We all must deal with chaos around us at some or all moments of our day. But everyone should make an effort to set aside some part of the evening for him or herself. You must learn to create a haven around you, to nurture yourself, and to treat yourself well. After all, if you don’t create a sense of calm about you, then who will?

Step Number Six: Outline your personal goals. Keep your personal goals on index cards, or use a similar system to list exactly what it is you want to do with your life. This can be easily updated and changed on a frequent basis. Our lives are constantly in a state of change, so our goals will experience similar changes.

Step Number Seven: Simplify your life. When you learn to un-clutter your living space, you may sometimes find that you can prioritize other things in your life as well. You may be clinging to something that reminds you of the past. But if you learn to let go of material objects, you may find that the only thing that was holding you back!

Step Number Eight: Don’t give up! Sometimes we goof up, make mistakes, become embarrassed, or confused in front of other people. And what? Most people feel the same way. It’s a rare person who never suffers from a blooper or a social mishap. The best thing to do is to persevere when we start something. Maybe we won’t like it once we are finished, but we’ll still feel better about ourselves for having finished it and followed through on a commitment.

Step Number Nine: You may need to renegotiate some broken agreements. If the past is stopping you from doing some of the things that you would like to do, then you may need to come to terms with a problem before moving ahead. Think about a broken promise or commitment that you may need to re-work. Or perhaps there is a simple phone call that you need to make. In any case, remember to adjust your outlook. Sometimes things don’t work out as we would like, but we can learn to control our feelings and adjust our outlook accordingly. We can’t control other people or events, but by learning to change our outlook-the outcome of any situation may turn out better than we had ever imagined.

Step Number Ten: Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. You need to become your best friend and biggest fan. Everyone needs a cheerleader, and if you don’t happen to have one, then do it yourself! Talk yourself up. When someone says something negative or discouraging about you, try to look at the remark in a different light. If there is a grain of truth in the remark, take the advice that it conveys. And try to look past the criticism to understand why the person would offer it. Perhaps its completely unfounded, and in that case, you need to realize other people have hang-ups and motives that keep them from realizing their potential as well.

**CHEERS!** - 2011 Ms. United States Laura Eilers

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