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Cheryl Saban Ph.D. Headshot

Believe in Yourself! A Self-Care Strategy

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Are you one of your biggest fans? Do you think you're capable and worthy? Would you pick yourself to be on your team? If you answered 'no' to any of the above questions, you could use an attitude change and a healthful infusion of personal esteem.

Self-esteem is described as confidence in one's own worth or abilities, and pertains to a personal appraisal of ourselves. Yet, unfortunately, we often make this evaluation based on cues we receive from society. In other words, we look to others to establish who we are, how we should behave, and how we're valued, even though this societal reflection won't be an accurate indicator of what we're made of.

Trying to measure up to a dominant mindset, antiquated cultural rules, or stigmatizing stereotypes that don't serve you well isn't the best plan. Using such subjective measuring devices may also explain why you don't always feel like a good fit. Bottom line, try not to rely totally on the outside world to validate you. A better option is to equalize the playing field by believing in, and validating yourself.

By the way, if you're concerned about spending too much time and effort on numero uno, try remembering that you can't be of great help to others if you don't care much about yourself. Believing in yourself doesn't mean you're conceited, overly self-centered, or narcissistic. It's simply part of an overall self-care strategy for wellness and contentment. It means that you recognize the true who of you - your core being, the special present of your presence -- in other words, your innate worth.

Belief in yourself isn't just a good thing to do; it's a survival skill. And giving yourself a pat on the back for being a sentient being with ability, heart, potential, and immeasurable possibilities, is directly related to your quality of life. You need to feel worthwhile. You need to believe that you can affect circumstances and situations in your life in order to have the confidence and courage you'll need to meet the many challenges you face.

But, okay, that said, how do you start believing in yourself when you're so used to being a non-believer? How do you begin to care about being you, if you've become habituated to feeling so hopeless, or helpless that you project the message that you don't care at all? The short answer is, by taking personal responsibility for doing so. Class dismissed.

Okay, so perhaps it's not that easy. And it would be truly disingenuous of me to trivialize the difficulties many people face -- and that is not my goal. Still, those who study happiness state that the only way to be truly happy, is to decide to be happy. It starts with you -- your own perceptions of you, your abilities, and your potential. Actually, nobody else can truly devalue you, but you. This power is entirely yours, and is manifested by an attitude you come up with in your own mind.

You can thank Victor Frankl, among others, for proving this. Dr. Frankl was a holocaust survivor who realized during his captivity in Auschwitz that the only thing his captors couldn't take from him was his mental life -- his spiritual life. He was able to find meaning even in the most painful of situations. Though this is perhaps an extreme example, you can try to follow his lead. Choose your thoughts -- change your attitude, and decide to believe in yourself. You'll soon attract a happier experience into your personal universe and feel energized with a sense of freedom and independence.

Belief in yourself may begin as a small light at the end of a tunnel -- a glow, a feeling of hoping, and then knowing. It's an awareness that though you can't change any of the facts of your life, you can change the way you think about those facts.

Once you have the attitude that you're worth the effort, you'll find it easier to start taking care of you. Eat responsibly, treat your mind and body to regular exercise and take time to enjoy nature, and breathe fresh air. Listen to soothing music, read interesting books, take warm baths, listen to the sounds of nature, and laugh belly laughs. Cuddle up with someone you care about, get and give plenty of hugs, compassion and empathy, and honor and treasure your family members. These are all important activities for wellness.

Remember that your body is a temple, and you are a treasure. You are unique, precious, and one-of-a-kind. Believe that you have a right to be here; that you are worth the effort of saving, educating, healing, playing with, working with, loving, and sharing a lifetime with.
Say the following words like a mantra. "I believe I am worth believing in." Say these words every day. You'll be amazed how the universe will contrive to make it so.

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