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Rebuilding Your Self Esteem

Most people going through the divorce process feel weighed down by negatives...an extreme sense of failure, sadness over lost dreams, and a paralyzing case of "If only I would have..." Those thoughts are pointless, depressing and probably wrong. It happened. Now it's time to begin rebuilding your tattered self esteem.

Try these six easy steps, giving you positive stepping stones to help you climb slowly but steadily out of the Pits of Divorce.

  • Set one realistic goal for yourself each week. In high stress periods this may be nothing more than eating three fairly nutritious meals a day. In more moderate periods it may involve signing up for an enjoyable evening class or joining a divorce support group.

  • Keep a "Thumbs Up" journal. Every day write down something positive about yourself. On good days that might include the completion of a successful ad campaign at work. In more challenging times it may simply be that you have nice eyebrows! These notations can be things you're good at, have accomplished, or that are simply part of you. Set a specific time of the day to write in your journal, and don't skip a day!

  • Compliment someone else. Make it a sincere compliment - not a phony one. How often have you thought: nice dress, or good work, or you've got a great smile, or you're such a good dad? Well, don't just think it, say it. Making someone else feel good always has a boomerang effect!

  • Honor the Positives. List the reasons you're a great human being. (If that phrase made you wince, you may need help with your list!) Include things you do well, like gardening, auto repair, software development, writing, child care, weaving, and so forth. Use the following qualities as a springboard and add your own:

    Athletic

    Cheerful

    Compassionate

    Courteous

    Dependable

    Empathetic

    Encouraging to Others

    Energetic

    Ethical

    Firm Friend

    Free-spirited

    Funny

    Generous

    Gentle

    Giving

    Helpful

    Honorable

    Intelligent

    Inventive

    Kind

    Loving

    Musical

    Nurturing

    Optimistic

    Peacekeeper

    Physically Fit

    Practical

    Reliable

    Resourceful

    Thoughtful

    Wise

    Anything Else?

  • Develop and repeat affirmation several times a day. Use the following and go on to make up others that apply specifically to you.

    I am a deeply good and loving person.

    I'm as important as everybody else. (Sometimes it's very hard to convince yourself of that!)

    I am capable of handling my own life.

    I am a loveable person.

    I am strong enough to ask for help when I need it.

  • Accept that you are NOT the mother or father of the world. It's not your responsibility to make everyone else happy all the time. In the first place, you can't make anyone else content. In the second, nobody appointed you God. (I'll bet you never thought of it that way, did you?)

If other people look to you to smooth out every wrinkle in their lives, they're the ones who have the problem. Let them know as diplomatically as possible that you'll support their efforts, but the outcome isn't in your hands. It's in theirs.

In time you'll come to value yourself more and to put your needs on a par with other's. And as you cope better each day with starting over, you'll increase your self-esteem immeasurably. Just remember to apply frequent pats on your own back!

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