Self-Esteem: Who Do You Want to Be?By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 15, 2008
It is not enough to think about who you would like to be. To enhance your self-esteem, you need to also create and hold on to images of your ideal self.
"We lift ourselves by our thought. If you want to enlarge your life, you must first enlarge your thought of it and of yourself. Hold the ideal of yourself as you long to be, always everywhere."
--Orison Sweet Marden, 1850-1924, Author and Founder of Success Magazine
How do you see yourself in your mind's eye? When you think about yourself or get an image of yourself, do you value what you see?
Image Who You Want to Be
One powerful way of becoming who you want to be is to begin to image yourself as you want to be in many different life situations. For example:
• Who do you want to be when someone is attacking you or criticizing you? How do you want to respond?
• Who do you want to be when challenging events occur in your life? How do you want to respond?
• Who do you want to be regarding honesty and integrity?
• Who do you want to be regarding your management of time?
• Who do you want to be regarding the organization of your living and work environment?
• Who do you want to be regarding the health of your physical body - how you eat, how much you exercise, how much sleep you get?
• Who do you want to be regarding the way you treat other people, especially loved ones?
• Who do you want to be regarding how you think and feel in your everyday life?
• Who do you want to be regarding your spiritual life?
Holding an image of "the ideal of yourself as you long to be," as Marden states in the above quote, is an important way of moving yourself toward your ideal. It is not enough to think of yourself in these ways - you need to actually image yourself as you want to be. Create little videos in your mind's eye of these different situations in your life, seeing yourself as you want to be.
Look for Role Models
Think about the people in your life, or people you know about, or even film characters, whom you admire. It is important, in creating your inner images, that you find role models of people behaving in the ways you admire. Then put yourself into those images, seeing yourself behaving in these admirable ways. Thoughts and images are very powerful in changing feelings and behavior.
All of us have been programmed to respond to the challenging situations in our lives by our experiences as we were growing up. You will continue to respond with your automatic programmed responses unless you consciously decide to reprogram yourself. Consciously creating thoughts and images about who you want to be is a form of reprogramming. Since you have practiced your old programming your whole life, it takes an ongoing conscious effort to create new responses. This is why Marden, in the above quote, states that you must "Hold the ideal of yourself as you long to be, always everywhere."
We each have the free will and the power to become who we long to be, but it will not happen without conscious and continuous effort. This kind of change does not just happen, nor does it happen quickly. If you decided to learn to play a musical instrument, you would know that you would need to practice, practice, practice in order to become proficient at it. Becoming who you want to be takes just as much, if not more, practice. Begin today creating an image of the loving, kind, creative, productive, and personally powerful person that I hope you want to be, and start practicing!
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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Today, focus on your physical health. Are you conscious of what you eat? Are you getting enough exercise and sleep? Are you noticing the thoughts that cause stress? Today, practice becoming conscious of your physical wellbeing.
By Dr. Margaret Paul