Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Yes you are. Yes you can.

Number one on my developing resilience list is self-esteem. And it's probably the one that is the hardest for me.

I've always had pretty low self-esteem, which (and this may come across as vain) is odd considering I grew up in a happy, supportive household, am in a pretty happy (now - we've had our moments!) relationship, did well in school and work and have always been pretty successful at the things I've tried. I have been overweight pretty much my entire life, which I guess probably has something to do with it. But sometimes I think my low self-esteem is odd.

For example, when I went to uni (the first time, in my late 20s), almost every assignment I handed in was definitely a fail. Or so I thought. But most of the time I got distinctions and high distinctions. And now, when my friends do something nice for me, I'm always surprised. Not because I think they're assholes, but because I never think they like me as much as they probably do. What's with that?!

So, when it's come to building my resilience, I've had to work on self-esteem more than most things. This article outlines 10 steps for developing self-esteem, and it's good advice!

Being the kind of weirdo that I am, a lot of my self-esteem has come through giving myself huge challenges. Like becoming a Sh'Bam instructor for example.
My dancing shoes!

I've written about Sh'Bam before. Funnily enough, that post was also related to well-being.
Sh'Bam for me is enormously challenging but also enormously rewarding. Challenging, because I have absolutely no training in dance (just a good sense of rhythm and good muscle memory), and also because all the other instructors are at least 20 kilos lighter than me (I must not compare myself to others!).
But rewarding, because it makes me feel so good to do it (another tick in the improving self-esteem box), it keeps me active and pretty fit (and another tick), and I get amazing feedback from people, which helps me develop my positive self-talk. I'm one of those people that thrives on external feedback (both positive and constructive).
People that do my classes tell me: "The other instructors are great [[and they totally are], but you make it accessible. You make me feel like I can do it." And they tell me how funny I am. Because I love to clown around in my classes.
How wonderful this is for my self-esteem! Now that I'm finally listening to it all! For a while I was too focused on what was different about me. Now I try and focus on my strengths.

Oliver and I colour-runified!
There are other wonderful things about getting into Sh'Bam. I've made some wonderful friends, my confidence has increased, and I'm also branching out and trying other things I never would have before. Like fun runs and other fitness challenges. I really feel like I'm starting to get a handle on that side of things.

Self-esteem, whether it's poor or excellent, can have such an impact on our well-being. How's yours? And what do you do to improve it?

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