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How’s your self esteem - and, whether it’s high or low, would you mind feeling just a little bit better about yourself?

You can’t be totally happy without adequate self esteem, but are you doing what you need to to keep it high - does the way you think and act serve to enhance or diminish your sense of self worth?

Self esteem issues are especially relevant for anyone in recovery as few emerge from addiction without a few dings and scratches to a coat of self esteem, and unfortunately, low self worth can contribute to emotional reactivity, an increased risk of mental illness and relapse back to substance use.

Fortunately, no matter where we stand today on the self esteem continuum we can always improve ourselves, and a great way to begin is by modeling our own beliefs and practices on those who already boast abundant self worth.

According to self esteem expert Dr Nathaniel Branden, people with high self esteem tend to live in certain ways and by adopting certain practices you too can raise your self esteem. Here are the practices which nurture and sustain healthy self esteem.

The 6 Practices Which Build Self Esteem...

Living a Conscious Life

Striving to be present in the moment and seeking to gain information and truth about how things really are (not running away from yourself or plunking your head in the sand!)

Having an open curiosity about yourself and about why you act and feel as you do and striving to be your best by gaining true understanding about your external world and also your internal true self, so that you act with your eyes open to the reality of things.

Being Responsible

Believing that you are responsible for your own behaviors and choices and ultimately for your own happiness. Believing that no one owes you anything and that when we need other people in our lives to help us achieve our goals we must offer them something of value in return for what they give. 

As a part of claiming responsibility for your own behaviors and happiness you think less about who is at fault for any present difficulties and more about what needs to be done now to improve the situation.

Accepting Yourself

You are who you are, and by accepting yourself for who you are you look straight at your actions, thoughts and feelings and take ownership of them, without avoidance or evasion.

This is sort of a matter of fact step, you do not try to self justify or condemn, you just accept who and what you are and how you feel and think and act, and accept that though you have room for improvement, like anyone, you are better off supporting yourself as you work on this process of betterment.

Being Assertive

Assertiveness means believing that you are equally important and deserving of equal respect and rights as anyone else – not more and not less.

We practice assertiveness when we stand up for who we are and what we believe in, even when this brings social disapproval, and by being our authentic selves when we interact with others around us.

Living with Purpose

Deciding what you want, in the short and long term, and working toward achieving these goals.

Living with Integrity

When we live with integrity we say to others what we know/feel to be true and right and we behave in ways that match what we say and feel. 12

References
  • 1. 12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone, Alan Berger Ph.D. Hazelden Publishers
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Page last updated Jun 27, 2012

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