The Story So Far: We've covered that you know you have a problem...er, opportunity, which is what we used to call a problem when I worked for one of Canada's largest financial institutions. That is, an opportunity to improve your self-esteem, to learn how to love yourself. That's half the battle--if you don't recognize you have an opportunity to improve, you'll never change. But what now?
Step #2: Live Consciously
Imagine yourself driving to work one morning. You arrive and suddenly realize you remember nothing about the trip. You have little to no recollection of the time between leaving your apartment or house and walking in the door of your workplace. But there you are, saying good morning to everyone. You must have known what you were doing because you got there safely, after all, but that doesn't stop a shiver from running down your spine. What if you'd been in an accident and had injured or even killed yourself or someone else?
This is the opposite of living consciously, and it happens to all of us. So used to our daily routines are we, whether driving to work or preparing a meal in the kitchen or whatever the case may be, that we could do them in our sleep, which is literally what we do. Somehow, our bodies are trained to move through our myriad of routines, while our minds are somewhere else altogether. It's a miracle more of us aren't the victims of serious accidents, on the road, at home, wherever.
If you're going to do anything constructive around improving your self-esteem, or learning to love yourself, you'll have to get engaged in your life again, or, at the very least, with the parts related to the negative feelings you have about yourself, and the steps you take to improve that. Because, the second your mind wonders and you're not one hundred percent in the moment, routine thoughts of self-loathing will move in, taking up their familiar place in your psyche, shifting your spirit in the wrong direction, and compromising the actions you take.
What I'm saying is, as you work through the five steps I've identified in raising self-esteem (based on my own experience), more than anything else, you need to be conscious of what's going on in your mind, because your mind controls everything. You need to assume the position of your own champion, you need to be focused on the long-term goal (while not losing sight of the short-term ones), and, frankly, to use the driving-to-work metaphor again, you need to keep your eyes on the road.
This is especially true in the beginning, while you try to deconstruct the old routine while building the new one, comprised of turning negative notions about yourself into positive ones, and of manoeuvring your actions in the direction of your new and improved thoughts. It's all about breaking bad habits, and you can't do that if you live unconsciously, allowing everything to happen to you rather than taking a firm grip on the wheel of your life and going the places where you really want to be.
So commit to yourself here and now that, during the process of improving your self-esteem and learning to love yourself, you'll be present in the moment one hundred percent. You'll be in tune with your thoughts, which can be your greatest enemy or your greatest ally, depending on how conscious you are, and you'll be in control of your actions. This commitment to yourself is the only way you'll achieve your goal. When the negativity starts all over again, as it will, you'll need to recognize it's happening, and you'll need to actively divert yourself back on the right track to respecting and loving yourself.
Stay tuned for Step #3: Turn Intention into Action