Are feelings of embarrassment, regret, or shame driving you to give up on yourself? Do these feelings keep you from living your life right now? Just yesterday a client came into my office, she is a beautiful, loving, caring person. She shared that she feels confident about herself as a teacher but needs to lose weight so other areas of her life can get better. I asked her “what is it about losing weight that’s important to you?” She replied, “People will respect me more, and I will find a partner.” From my experience, most people want to reduce their weight to feel better about themselves. They think their outside appearance will help them with their self-esteem. Self-esteem is feeling good about your accomplishments and your abilities. Often it is believed if we improve our looks, we will glean more respect, love, or even a job promotion. Here’s the deal: If you are looking in the mirror and all you see are your flaws, your paradigm is skewed. You are overlooking your strengths and positive attributes. You are overlooking your ability for understanding, love, and compassion, which is at the core of what it means to be human. Tapping into these qualities, which you have, provides insight into how you should treat yourself.
Our personal power drives our ability to make choices, our self-image drives our perception of our worth or self-esteem. A positive self-image begins with self-respect. Self-respect starts with accepting yourself as you are and liking who you are as a person. When we practice self-respect we reduce the tendency to self-blame, self-deprecate, and shame ourselves. Self-respect is not dependent on whether you’ve been successful or failed at something. We all succeed sometimes and fail sometimes. When we have self-respect we can positively evaluate our self-worth which is at the core of self-esteem. A positive self-image is critical to our survival. It’s time to stop playing a self-defeating script and start playing a self-respect script.