Whether you are affected by abuse, narcissism or just want to improve your life, self esteem means finding and developing your purpose, your reason for living. Climbing out of abuse requires building your confidence. You can start with developing and understanding your positive qualities. Knowing your purpose for living gives meaning and excitement to life. This is why you were born, living the life you are meant to live, reaching your full potential.
You begin by looking at yourself. The more you understand who you are, the easier it is to recognize why you are alive. Living your purpose will make you happy and energized. When you are not moving in the direction of a more complete, healthier you, you can become depressed and wonder if life is worth living. That is because you are not living up to your full potential. You may wonder if it is worth getting out of bed in the morning.
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” -- M. Scott Peck
CONSIDER YOUR PERSONALITY. You are different from others. Your personality decides how you behave and how you see life. see DISC Personalities Overview. Look carefully at your personality traits. Most people have two personality traits. One is usually more dominate than the other, but each one will take over given the situation. Understanding your personality will tell you more about your purpose in life, who you really are, than any other clue. Example: I am an I – Influential person. I enjoy excitement, parties and meetings, change and people who are energizing. I am uncomfortable with negative thinking and being embarrassed, especially in public is devastating to me.
However, if you are trying to please someone who does not appreciate you, you may behave any way you need to just to keep the peace, just to protect yourself. If you are constantly being hurt and discouraged when you try to "just be yourself," you will shut down.
CONSIDER YOUR VALUES. Values are your personal philosophy; what you believe in, feel and think about yourself and your life. Think about things that are rewarding to you. These may differ from needs. A need is a necessity. A value is something that completes you. When you go against your values, you diminish yourself. You damage your integrity, your inner strength. Every time you allow someone else to damage your integrity, it take a little piece of you away. Eventually, you are an empty shell, dying inside.
Make a list of the things you value most. A partial list might include: Peace of mind, security, fun, flexibility, a close relationship with your family, respect from others, power, or a close relationship with God. Personal possessions - a car or house are more in the area of needs. You want them and strive for them, but you can live without them. Example: I value a loving relationship with my family, appreciation and attention from others.
CONSIDER YOUR NEEDS. See Life is a Banquet. Example: I need my husband to listen to me and I need a job I enjoy.
CONSIDER YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. Example: I am good at understanding and training horses. I am bad at saying, “No,” to people.
In time I will discuss more about working on your weaknesses. These are the buttons an abuser uses to get a reaction from you. Whatever you react to controls you.
CONSIDER WHETHER YOU ARE EXTERNALLY OR INTERNALLY MOTIVATED. If you are externally motivated, you expect others to take care of you. You are also more vulnerable to abuse from another person. You feel you have no control over your life. Things happen because of other people or circumstances. Example: I know that life is predetermined and I can't change it. Besides, if something bad can happen, it will.
If you are internally motivated you take responsibility for yourself and your actions. You are not a victim. You do not wait for something to happen. You make things happen. Example: I don’t expect others to take care of me. I take care of myself.
In an abusive situation, you may find that you are only survival motivated.
"Every person is the creation of himself, the image of his own thinking and believing. As individuals think and believe, so they are." -- Claude M. Bristol
CONSIDER WHAT COMES NATURALLY TO YOU.
I am ________________. I do this by__________________.
Example: I am a coach. I do this by using my skills to listen, solve problems, understand and protect.
Look at all the information you have collected about yourself. What patterns do you see? What areas are most exciting to you? This is the direction to pursue.
Example: You realize that you enjoy teaching. This doesn’t mean that you will become a fifth grade teacher. You might teach evening workshops. You could begin teaching at work. You might write articles that are instructional. Any movement forward builds confidence and improves your self esteem.
Think about why you like teaching. Do you like the interaction with others or seeing someone benefit from your knowledge? The better you answer "why" to your choice, the more options you have to look into.
Now take the information and begin to move in that direction. This is trial and error. You constantly refine your purpose until it suits you completely.
Once you have defined your purpose, see yourself doing what you desire. Start collecting pictures of people doing what you want to do, being who you want to be. You don't have to spend a lot of time with these pictures, but once you have a visual interpretation of them, it's easier to recognize your purpose when you see it in real life. Create a scrapbook of your pictures.
Find a mentor, someone who has succeed in what you want to do and build a relationship with him. It may mean following him on the internet or actually spending time, picking his brain.
“Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are really after.” -- Henry David Thoreau
© LifeSkills International 2014
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