This morning, I worked on three related entries in Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary, which were very much aligned with my goal of finding new sources of self-esteem.
The first was a reflection on the time I have lost to my obsession over my appearance in the mirror, which is even more absurd given my distorted perception of how I looked in the mirror. It makes me sad to think that instead of focusing on the views of the world around me (the trees, architecture, clouds, other people), I used to chase my reflection in mirrors/windows/buildings/my shadow. And, all that time I spent looking at and critiquing myself negatively affected my self-esteem and personal enjoyment so it was ineffective on many levels.
In the second entry, I was asked to reflect on what I pay attention to. By paying so much attention to my physical appearance and worrying about how others would judge my external self, it became a self-fulling prophecy. My physical appearance was the primary identity through which I interacted with the world around me, and it was what I spent the most time trying to fix. In the last couple months, I finally started focusing on building my internal identity. Even when I previously had such a high value on trying to be thin, I always admired the people who could be larger than me and still carry themselves with so much confidence, ease, and happiness. I now understand that the beauty I saw in the way that calm, confident, happy people carry themselves comes from that inner-glow of a grounded internal identity. That inner-glow is what I’m working on now.
In the third entry, I was encouraged to engage in self-esteem building activities and think about the admirable activities that I already do. While I have been spending a lot of time recently working on what I can do to change, it was nice to reflect on what I already do (big and small) that increases my self-esteem. For example, I’m a teaching assistant in anatomy this fall for my third year in a row and I really enjoy helping the new medical students learn how to dissect and identify structures. I am confident in my skills as a teacher and enjoy seeing the growth in my students that I facilitate.
What is something you do that increases your self-esteem? What would you like to try as a new source of self-esteem?