It Starts Within

This is a guest post by Melissa Heisler.  She is a Stress Reduction Expert.  She is also the host of the Empowerment Show weekly podcast.  You can find and follow her on her It's My Life, Inc. website or at @ItsMyLifeInc on Twitter.


A client shared a wonderful story the other day. A speaker had a crisp new $20 bill. He asked who wanted it. Every hand in the room was raised. The speaker then crumpled the bill in his hand and again asked who wanted it. Hands were raised. The speaker took the crumpled bill threw it to the floor and ground it into the dirt and grime again asking who would want this now dirty crumpled bill. Hands went up. The speaker asked why anyone would want a dirty thing. An attendee said, “It still has value.”


Image courtesy of Gualberto107 /

Have you ever received a great review, but you feel hallow? Have you ever received a compliment but have brushed it off and instead brought up your short-comings? Have you ever received a promotion but feel like you did not deserve it? How often do you judge your value by the outside? How often do you judge yourself by how crisp and clean or crumpled and dirty you are? It is time to realize your value is like that $20 bill. Your worth is immoveable and eternal.

When individuals have low self-esteem, it is because they are looking to others to define who they are, or they are looking at their actions to define their worth.  We look for recognition from others, awards, praise, achievements, and accomplishments to show us our value. We expect these things to make us feel complete.  The only way to feel complete is for us to believe we are whole and valuable. 



There is one source for self-esteem, inside you through internal self-validation. It is called self-esteem because we define it. No one or nothing else tells us what our value is. Even if you have that boss or family member who puts you down, YOU are the one to decide to accept their judgment or not.  It is up to you to determine your worth.  Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” To regain your sense of self-esteem stop giving others the power to define your worth.

The first step to self-esteem is to become aware of your self talk. Are you constantly judging yourself and your abilities? Are you ignoring your achievements because they are not “enough”? We talk to ourselves throughout the day. Are you painting a picture of positivity or attack? Are you forgiving and accepting yourself or putting yourself down? Catch when you are devaluing yourself then try to find a statement that is at least a little more supportive. 

Next, become aware of how you are defining yourself. When you make a mistake did you do something stupid or do you label yourself as stupid? We are all human and tend to mess things up now and again. The key is to understand the action is not perfect, but we still are. The situation is not a reflection upon your worth only upon what could or couldn’t have been done better. I always like to think of children and our expectations of them. We do not expect the same thing out of a two year old as we do a nineteen year old, yet both have the same amount of worth. We do not judge and diminish the two year old because they can not complete a calculus problem or pump gas.  We need to cut ourselves the same slack. There are things we will excel at and things we will not, but these things do not determine our worth.

You hold the key to improving your self-esteem.  You are the one who can increase your worth right now, right in this moment. Start to see your true value outside of your actions or others reactions, and you will begin to see your self-esteem blossom. 


Question:  Do you ever struggle with self-esteem issues?

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