1. Why self-esteem and what is it exactly?
Self esteem is the extent to which we like, respect and accept ourselves. It reflects our overall evaluation or appraisal of our self worth. It encompasses our beliefs, emotions and behavior. However, many people operate from the perspective of what others think of them and it fuels a cycle of dissatisfaction and discontentment. Instead of finding peace within themselves and being the unique and distinct person God created them to be, they live a life based on who they think others want them to be. As a result then of achieving high self esteem they find their self esteem constantly under attack.
It has been said that 2 out of 3 people at any given time suffers from low self esteem, and low self esteem can negatively affect every part of our lives. If the negativity goes unaddressed, it can completely ruin our lives. If at the core of it all is low self esteem, we must address this issue if we want to live joyous, productive, and purposeful lives as God intended. From my experience it all starts with changing the way we think. The way we think is essential to winning over negativity and boosting self esteem.
2. Why is self-esteem important to you?
Self esteem is important to me because after dealing with a difficult separation and divorce, I found myself struggling to rebuild my self esteem. That whole experience had taken me down a road of despair and depression like I had never experienced before. High self esteem had never been a problem for me so when life became difficult and it challenged me to question myself, I was completely thrown for a loop. It caused me to question my self- worth and value, and in the end I really struggled with accepting myself. I started thinking something must be wrong with me.
Now, based on the Word of God I knew this wasn’t true but I still struggled. Once I was able to regain my confidence and repair the damage to my self esteem, I begin to see that I had gotten lost in my emotions when it really was about what was going on in my head. High self esteem starts with what we think! Of course, sometimes we suffer from ‘thinking stinking’ and that can present a different set of issues; overall, I learned that to develop high self esteem we must examine what we think because that is what shapes our perspective and allows us to accept ourselves along with the challenges of life from a more positive perspective than negative one. That’s why I focused my book on positive affirmations for accepting me.
3. What can a person do to build high self-esteem?
I would recommend starting with what I call my ACCEPT Principles:
A – Learn to accept your strengths and weaknesses. As humans we are a work in progress. Everyone has an up side to who they are and a down side. It is our down side that continues to remind us of our humanity and keeps us seeking to be better and do better. Often our weaknesses are just unguarded strengths that we must continue to manage them if it is something we can’t change but our weaknesses DO NOT make us a bad person.
C – Concentrate on the positives. It is real easy to focus on the negative and our world is full of them. However, to focus on the positives it starts with making a choice to do so. From there you make a commitment to release any and all negativity; negative thoughts, negative emotions and negative relations. The Bible says ‘think on these things …whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is of good report.’
C – Connect to your passion and you’ll connect to your purpose. Find the things in life that you are really passionate about and involve yourself in them. That will do more to help you have the confidence that you need to succeed and win over any adversity life presents. Also you will notice how much happier your life will be because of it.
P – Persevere. It has been said when the going gets tough the tough gets going. In this life we will have trouble, as the Bible tells us so we must hold fast to the faithfulness of God and His promises to never leave us alone. When tough times now come my way, I often affirm and encourage myself with the scripture that says ‘this too shall pass.’
T – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your understanding. We may not see the hand of God at work but we must trust that He is at work on our behalf. That is called the providence of God.
4. If the ACCEPT Principles helps us build high self-esteem, what helps us maintain it?
Here are seven simple steps that we all can do every day. Building or rebuilding self esteem is the most difficult. Maintaining high self esteem is a lot easier if we implement these steps.
1. Smile often to yourself and to others. Greet others when you see them and ask how they are and how their day is going. This helps build positive relationships with others.
2. Eliminate the negative. When a negative thought enters your mind, stop and immediately counter it with a positive thought about the same subject.
3. Be nice to others and be nice to yourself. Conversely, don’t degrade others and don’t degrade yourself.
4. Face your fears and forget your failures (after learning from them). Focus on your achievements and successes. Reward yourself when you succeed.
5. Quit thinking about trying to be perfect. No one is, so just accept that as it is. Don’t be too competitive and don’t compare yourself with others.
6. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Just be the best you that you can be.
7. Hang out with positive and optimistic people who also have high self esteem and self confidence. But when you are around negative people, try to direct your positive and optimistic thoughts in their direction. Don’t let them pull down your level of self confidence or self esteem.
5. Can you be a good person, a successful person, and still struggle with
maintaining good self esteem?
Absolutely! Life happens to us all. Having high self esteem or good self esteem doesn’t exempt us from the trails and challenges of life. It does, however, puts us in a better situation to deal with them when they come.
Maintaining our esteem is easy but it is work. Sometimes our struggle comes because we are not putting in the work of being true to ourselves and what brings us satisfaction, joy and contentment. Remember, self esteem is not about our successes or failures but how we feel, see and accept ourselves. Living in a such a competitive and negative world that is constantly trying to get us to be something other than want we are can present be exhausting.
6. Does the focus on building and maintaining high esteem cause people to develop a
false sense of security based on feelings that may not match reality?
I don’t think so. Self-esteem is a very powerful thing to have. When you have healthy self-esteem you are a more confident person, you are better at dealing with life disappointments, you build friendship with others more easily, you perform better in school and overall experience a more fulfilling life. It is an individual’s perspective on how they see themselves. No one can take that away or define that for the individual.
I guess any one of us could have a warped sense of ourselves but that would be an indication of low self esteem.
7. Tell us about the creative process of writing this book?
Initially, I started writing a book on leadership but as I started the process, I kept coming back to this issue of self esteem. How can we lead others if we are struggling to lead ourselves? The more I reflected on that I started to reflect on my own personal experiences not only in the area of leadership but self esteem in general. That lead me to start writing down what had helped me get to the path I’m on today. What things did I have to do to overcome my fears, deal with the challenges life had presented to me and manage my emotions. These are all essential elements of being a good leader as well as having good self esteem.
In the end, I ended up writing over hundred affirmations that has been broken down into two volumes under the title of “When I Accepted Me.” We’ve just release volume 1 and volume 2 will be released in 2010. I divided them up into two volumes because I wanted to give people an opportunity to really reflect and internalize each affirmation to boost their self esteem. I’ve suggested to people to just take one a week (that’s why there are 52 of them) and internalize that one. Pray on it, see how it reflects in your life; maybe use it as a guide to write your own for that week.
I’ve encouraged some people to take on the 52 day challenge of reading one every day for 52 days straight and see if their perspective isn’t changed for the good at the end of it. Again, it is all about what is going on in our heads and when we receive positive information inwardly, we respond with positive behavior outwardly that leads to success in life …however, you may define success.
8. How can people get the book and what is some of the feedback you’ve received so
My book can be ordered from my website at www.sonjasamuel.com. It would be a great way to start the year and to recharge for the coming year. We are extending it at our special introduction offer of $14.95 because we want to get the book out into as many hands as possible. For me it is a tool for empowering others which is my personal mission in life.
It makes a great gift book for your friends, family and coworkers. I just gave them out as stocking stuffers and will be sending many out for Valentine’s Day as a way of saying I love and affirm you.
I have really enjoyed the feedback from people on how it has been such a pick me up for them when their emotions started to get the best of them and send them into a downward spiral.
One lady said she carries it around in her purse and when her day starts going south and she is ready to stick it to someone, she whips out her book, reads a few affirmation and it gets her back on track.
A lady told me about her husband that lost his mother this year and has been struggling emotionally. She said about once or twice a week she sees him reading through each page. She said she knows he’s gone through the whole book at least four or five times and she can see the difference it has made in his emotional health in dealing with the lost of his mother.