How do you build resiliency when circumstances always remain the same? Why do they remain the same??? Because you set it into motion to keep it that way subconsciously!! I want to make you think deeply and go to the root cause of the problem. I can give you all the information and tools in the world, but until YOU make a decision, you will be stuck on the same wheel of life that you have been rotating on. It’s easy to say “I’m tough! I am stronger than my problems.” and that may be true. What I want to show here is how over time low self-esteem will drag you down and break down any resiliency you may have had. You get to a point where stop believing in yourself and your level of tolerance rises as problems come along.
I never once considered myself to be resilient; to be honest, I actually didn’t know what the word meant until I was in recovery. Resiliency? What is that? Boundaries/Codependency? What does that mean?? I had put on this helmet (actually body armor is more like it…) in order to survive. It was the only way I knew how to live; with a protective shield pretending that I could handle anything that came my way. Well one day, that shield broke and life was able to penetrate that thick protective skin.
What happens to people who don’t believe in themselves? People who suffer from chronic low self-esteem? How we view ourselves and confidence in our strengths and abilities ultimately affects our choices and life experiences.
I want you to really think about where you stand with your self-esteem. You need to be able to tap into your deepest negative core beliefs before you can get into feeling good so you can get an idea of what you need to address.
Where are you with your self-esteem on a scale of 1-10? 1 being the lowest and 10 being super hero. Be honest. Do you feel like crap fairly regularly but put on a mask for your job, spouse and kids? Think about your actions due to your low self-esteem. What does it do to your behaviour? Do you feel obligated to do things to gain approval from family? Your boss? Friends? Spouse? Meet others expectations? What do you do to protect yourself from being hurt more or feeling even worse? What engrained behaviour do you have which pushes you to respond to stressful situations? Really think about it.
Negative self-esteem exercise:
Close your eyes and remove all identity attachments such as degrees and education. Now remove any roles you play such as mother, father, wife, sister, brother etc…Recognize you are alone with yourself now as Soul. Go back to when you were young and what major event that has been imprinted on you to start carrying around this negative core belief. Something you have never told anyone before. A deep, dark feeling about yourself that you believe to be true. Now write one sentence on that piece of paper and fold it up tightly. Hard isn’t it? Taking a look at one’s deepest, darkest thoughts about how we REALLY feel about ourselves is difficult. I want you to recognize the amount of pain and hurt that is in your life at the moment. Pain/shame and undeserving guilt that we carry around with us like excess baggage can be overwhelming for some of us. We bury it so deep that we fool ourselves into believing it doesn’t exist or that it never happened. Now that you know one thing you are carrying around with you, finding a solution to get rid of it is the next step. Taking these first steps into recognizing the root problem will help you with all future steps you take. I want you to take that piece of paper, go outside and burn it. You can also rip it up into tiny pieces or shred it, but the burning of it releases it into the Universe. The fact that you figured it out, wrote it down and now will burn it, this will release you and begin to free you. It’s a painful process, but a necessary one if you really are searching for change in your life. How can you build a better tomorrow if you are carrying around yesterday’s baggage?
You cannot build a new house on a cracked foundation and expect it to remain solid. You have to rip it apart and completely build a new one so it sits strong. You are the Master & Commander of your ship, so if you want change, you have to set yourself up with the necessary tools for success to put you in the right direction through the stormy waters. How can you possibly sail through those stormy waters unscathed if you are carrying around so much extra luggage from the past? It will weigh you down and barely keep you afloat. You might be able to tread water for a while, but eventually your arms will tire and your strength will decrease. That negative core belief you have about yourself is an anchor that will keep your boat in one spot unable to go anywhere. I am talking True Spiritual Growth in every sense of the word.
Now that you have released your negative core belief, you have to replace that giant hole in your heart with something positive. It’s not a good idea to walk around exposing your vulnerability as there a thousand different vultures out there who will feel it and prey on you. Take a minute now to write a list with every positive things that define you. Simple things like “I have nice features or I have a great sense of humor, I like my eyes etc…” Write down every single thing about yourself that you like. Write out all your accomplishments, especially the minor ones such as, “I got out of bed this morning.” For some people that act alone is a major accomplishment. We are so focused on all the negative things that we do or have happened to us, that we forget the good things. What seems like a simple list can actually be difficult to write. Keep this list as a reminder of who you really are, and not the mistakes you have made in life. We all make mistakes; we have to in order to grow and learn. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mistakes, the more you make the better, because it is developing you into one heck of great human being because now you know of 100 different ways of NOT doing something. Society has it all backwards.
You will be the only person to help yourself through changes in life. Become a co-creator of change rather than go with the flow. Make those changes in life work for you. You ultimately decide and make all choices in your life, so work it in your favor. This goes with everything listed above. If you focus solely on the mistakes you have made in life, how do you expect to move forward? You have be able to look at it, study it, then change your behaviours, thought patterns and habits to begin the process of building resiliency through healthy self-esteem.
Here are a few ways to help you build resiliency:
- Make new connections: Accepting help and support from those around you whether it’s family or friends; assisting others in their time of need also can benefit you and get you out of your own headspace.
- Crises in life are not insurmountable problems: Life will happen and the ups and downs as well. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events will come into your life, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Your perception of it will determine the outcome. See the positive out of it as opposed to the negative. Find a solution to it.
- Accept that change is a part of living:Sometimes when change occurs, certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of the situation. Learning to accept circumstances that cannot be changed will help you focus on the ones you can change. This will give you your power back and you now have become a “Co-creator” of change rather than a victim of circumstances.
- Take a step toward your goals:Develop some realistic goals that are easy to achieve. Do something regularly that enables you to move toward your goals such as changing or creating new habits. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem like mountain to climb and demand lots of effort, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?
- Take decisive actions: The hardest thing in life is to tackle a problem that seems insurmountable. I am asking you to act on tough situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and choosing not to deal with it or pretend it never happened. Make a committed decision to change.
- Self-discovery is critical if you want change: People often find that they have grown as a result of their struggle with problems as they arise. Everybody experiences tragedies and hardships, but it is the way your perceive it that will ultimately decide your future. Learning about who you really are; your likes and dislikes (not those of your family, friends and spouse) YOUR likes and dislikes!!!
- Nurture a positive view of yourself/learn to love yourself: It’s up to you to focus on the positive and not the negative in your life. Create new habits that will help you feel better and this will also develop confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
- Keep things in perspective and don’t blow it out of proportion:Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a different light. Imagine your life looking from above at a chess game below. Rearrange the pieces of your life to better suit your needs. Remove the toxic people from your life and keep the context real and you will see a change.
- Don’t give up on Hope: Expect that good things will happen in your life. You are what you think about so try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. It will come to you if you keep visualizing it and working towards it.
- Take care of yourself.Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Do activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly and eat good foods that will strengthen you will help to keep your mind and body ready to deal with situations that require resilience.
Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful:
- Journaling is a great way to express their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life.
- Being creative with arts & crafts is a healthy way to express your feelings.
- Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.
I hope this article will have helped you in some way. Remember that it’s not who you think you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you are NOT!