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Top 5 Tips to Build a Healthy Self-esteem

Building a Healthy Self-esteem

A couple of things close to my heart. I absolutely love writing, reflecting and reading on the subject of self esteem and worthiness.

Here is what I want to say on the subject. Belief is one of the most powerful and creative forces we have at our disposal and it is greatly misunderstood.

Recently I was asked, 'why is it so difficult for people to believe in themselves'?

The question came from one of the men in a group I was facilitating; we were working on how to improve their mindsets and relationships. The question sparked a lively and engaging discussion on what self-confidence feels like and how each person saw themselves in the world.

The most important thing to understand about our self-worth is that our perception is deeply rooted in our history, habitual thinking and a lifetime of experiences.

Most of the men were successful in their careers, relationships and family lives or at least they would agree it would appear that way to the outside world. The all too common reality is that for many, there was a different story beneath the surface..

One of the men explained that he felt his low self-esteem was going to drive away his wife as he continued to say, "I just want to get back to feeling like me again." It's a very familiar statement to hear and for many it is a massive goal when they feel like they have lost themselves.

I am going to make a very obvious statement. There is power in the way we see ourselves. The real trick is learning how to live on the side of truly believing in yourself.

The even more obvious statement is that for most people living with low self-esteem will feel as those they are not worthy, experience depression, anxiety and stress.

So there is a great deal of motivation to have a healthy mindset and thriving self esteem to counter the swings that most people feel in our day to day lives.

The path to a healthy foundation begins with belief. Believing that change is even possible is the first thing I want you to reflect on.

Do you believe that positive change is something that exists for you in your future?

Do you believe that mindset will stay for the long run?

If the answer is an honest no, you need to consider building a tool belt of healthy self esteem practices.

The men in my group all had their unique strengths and yet every single one had of low self-esteem and challenges with worthiness.

We could all benefit from peeling back the onion and the layers of our past. We could all definitely be better off if we start undoing any of the negative beliefs and unhealed wounds from our past.

If I can make this invitational, we you make a decision to improve your self esteem you begin the inner work.

Give yourself the gift of having a powerful tool belt of healthy self esteem practices.

Five Tips to Build a Healthy Self-esteem

Tip #1 Make a commitment to feel better

Set the intention that you're committed to feeling better about yourself. We cannot choose everything that happens to us, but we can choose how we respond. Making a commitment to feel better about yourself is the first step to changing the pattern.

Tip #2 Believe your worth it

Shifting from low to high self-esteem takes time and should be approached with the same expectations as building any new skill. Most people don't change their thinking and feelings over night, but you can start to remind yourself of your strengths and unique qualities by taking a moment to be grateful for smaller and simpler pleasures.

Tip #3 Break the pattern of destructive thinking

Through mindfulness and building your self-awareness you can begin to observe your thoughts and inner chatter with greater detail. When you notice yourself engaged in a negative thinking pattern its best practice to break that thought and create a new experience. Self-worth can only be defined by you, ask yourself if your thoughts are contributing to building your self-confidence or are they working against you.

Tip #4 Don't compare yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is natural, but it can often become a toxic pattern when you become judgmental, jealous or envious of others. There is a good chance if you're judgmental and comparing yourself to others you're probably just as hard on yourself. My advice is stay simple and stop comparing yourself to others, re-focus your attention on authentic experiences that bring you happiness.

Tip #5 Self-love is acceptance

When you start to feel your self-esteem shift to a more positive quality you will notice that you give yourself more permission to be just you. To get to a place where you have genuine confidence with 'who' you are you need to embody a feeling of acceptance. Start with small steps; focus your attention on your strengths, positive relationships and qualities that are distinctively yours.

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How you define yourself….Will greatly influence how others will define you!

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How to Ask Your Partner to go to Therapy


Making the invitation for change

"If we go to therapy they are just going to tell us what is wrong with us. We just need to make more of an effort and commit to change ourselves. We don't need a therapist."

I have a confession to make.

That was me speaking many years ago in my own relationship and like a typical guy, I believed that we just needed to make more of an effort and we would get back to being us, the good us.

I was resistant to seeing a professional. I felt shame about being in the counselling and personal development field and needing help in my own relationship.

Why couldn't we figure it out on our own, I thought.

The truth is that a lot people who talk about getting help don't and it is often because one partner is just too resistant to getting help from a professional.

Seeing a professional can be intimating and telling a stranger your problems feels even more daunting.

One day I know this will be different and with more people being open and honest about their lives this will certainly change.

I truly imagine that one day we will be at a stage in our culture where going to a therapist for relationship strategies and therapy will be just as normal as going to the gym, something that is considered good for your health and well-being.

So what does the resistant partner need in order to agree to go to counselling?

The answer is a mixture of encouragement, security and a gentle nudge to at least give it a try.

I suggest framing counselling as learning skills to build up your relationship muscle and ability to communicate more effectively.

I remember my teacher shaking her head at me with a gentle smile saying, "Ken nobody teaches us this stuff. It is not in the school systems, most of us did not have parents that modeled great communication and so how would you know how to recover (repair) and break these patterns"?

She was right and I knew it.

Since then my humility for the practice of creating good relationships has dramatically shifted.

First I needed to let go of pride, let go of the denial that things were going to change without new skills and see that could I really grow from the right help.

I had a sophisticated mind that had a great ability to rationalize, bargain and distance myself from the change I needed.

This is why I promote so much humility in the work I do with couples.

I share my own stories because I know we all get messy in relationships and I want to walk beside my clients as I teach this work and practice.

I do this so that my clients feel deeply aligned against what they do (behaviors) and not confuse that with who (self-worth) they are.

Seeing a professional feels like a really big deal and for many people it is. Often there is one partner that is leading the couple towards seeing the therapist and the other person is reluctant to go for professional help.

I believe that people's resistance to seeing a professional is because of shame and pride (sometimes control). People do not want to face the parts of themselves that show up when they are hurt, when they are angry and so on.

We need a paradigm shift in the therapy world that looks at couples therapy as something that is empowering and healing. Instead most people see couples counselling as a relationship failure.

Humility, in my mind, equals freedom and if both partners do this at the same time it can be quite liberating. What I mean by this is speaking the truth and speaking from your heart is a powerful catalyst for deeper connection and intimacy.

If you are having trouble starting the conversation try these tips. Remember this an invitation.

7 Tips for Inviting Your Partner to Therapy

1. Take a good inventory

Get a journal. Write down all your main points that you want to share with your partner. Remember to include what is positive and what your main points of desired change are and focus on those points.

Clarity is power. The clearer you are on where you stand, what challenges you face and your vision of the future, the greater the chance of you communicating that to your partner.

Remember this about capturing all your thoughts and ideas to help you get clear. Do not worry about the delivery yet.

2. Plant your feet and get grounded

Most of us lose our words and good senses when we are triggered or emotional. To get grounded take time to breathe deeply and know that you're choosing a different path today when you speak.

Tell yourself you are going to speak with love, compassion and understanding.

Plan ahead and tell yourself what you are going to do. For example "I am going to remain calm even if my partner gets triggered."

3. Timing is everything

Support yourself by giving your partner the right amount of space and time to consider all of the options. When you are ready to address your relationship with your partner always ask them when is a good time (co-creating) for you both to talk with one another.

Avoid ambushing your partner, that will always be a win/lose scenario.

4. Make your request an "Us Thing"

You want to communicate to your partner that this is not about blaming them for what is happening. Rather you want them to firmly understand that you are on their team, you want both of you to learn new tools and strategies to access the best of both you.

Approach with 'we created this dynamic together' and seek to understand their perspective once you are in the conversation.

5. Try not to get offended

If you hear your partner say "no way" or something that resembles defensiveness, try your best not to join in that energy of resistance. It is easy to get triggered if your partner first rejects your first attempt to request counselling.

One of the hardest practices in any relationship is not joining your partner when they are upset or resistant.

6. Remember you are always communicating

If you want your partner to sense that you are on the same team, then you will need to remind yourself who your partner is to you before you talk to them.If we are being judged, we feel it. If we are being blamed, we feel it.

Exercise: Before having this conversation try taking a photo out from a time when you were deeply in love and remind yourself that your partner is someone of significance to you.

7. Don't hold a gun to your partners head

Try to approach softly and detach from outcome. Give them a chance to join you. If they do not share your truth about what you perceive will happen if things do not change in the relationship.

If you do this properly, this will be perceived as an honest statement (goal is as an invitation) rather than a threat. The goal is have your partner receive this as an invitation for positive change.

I cannot tell you how often I hear "I wish we started this a long time ago".

Share with your partner that therapy is about learning new positive tools and skills to communicate better.

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Meet Ken

Ken is a certified psychotherapist that specializes in a powerful approach called Gestalt Therapy that focuses on building a person's awareness, self-esteem and mind-body connection.

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My offices are located in Calgary and Alberta.