In the first two articles about self-esteem and self-worth, we covered a lot of territory on the journey to self-love and acceptance. Self-esteem is defined as a noun – a person, place or thing. While it could be considered a “thing” It could also be considered a place, such an orientation within your being, like a state of knowing and the view of certainty. To get to this place requires a lot of action, which is why we are calling this a journey. This is indeed a journey of the heart.
The path to a self-fulfilling life
The path on this journey may be wrought with self-doubt, with feelings of uncertainty and fear. The kind of fear that makes you question yourself and wonder if you made the right decision and doubt you will ever get there. Take heart…if you set your sites on your goals, and you are clear about where you are going, you are likely to get there. If however, you don’t have a goal, and you don’t know where you’re going, you’re also likely to be there too – which is considered “nowhere.”
Nowhere can be a harsh and brutal wilderness
“Nowhere” is a desolate land, a desert, with nothing to hold on to, no trees to shade you and no bodies of water to give your relief. In the desert, you don’t know which way to go, and you feel parched looking for a way out. Unfortunately, the path out of the desert requires fortitude, determination and sheer grit. But, why allow yourself to end up there, a result of not forging a path forward for your life? Taking action and control of your life is the best answer to resiliency. Recovering from any number of situations that have gone very wrong takes ongoing course correction and leads to lasting satisfaction.
So while this journey may feel hard, long, uphill, rocky, painful to walk, and uncertain, keep on going. You will get there.
To prepare for your journey, you may want to pack along these three encouraging words and their affirmations in case you lose your way:
Perseverance – I can do this!
Acceptance – This is where I am, and it only gets better.
Vision – I know what I want and where I want to be, and I will take the right steps to get there.
Now it’s time to break down your journey into individual paths and destinations. Here are some recommendations that will improve your chances of success:
Meeting and exceeding your own expectations. Goal setting for personal growth and achievement:
1) Food and health
The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is pretty true. Understanding how to eat to maximize your energy and health are very important. There are mixed reviews on what percentage of protein and carbs you need, and this is all based on your body type, weight, metabolism, needs, and any allergies you have. The best rule of thumb is – the more processed it is, the more you should avoid it. Your body will have to work overtime processing chemicals and molecularly restructured oils which clog up your liver and slow down your body’s ability to convert and process it out of your body as waste.
The best way to understand which foods are helpful or harmful – experiment with individual foods – one at a time. Eat grains, legumes, meat and dairy products by themselves and notice how they make you feel. One person who was so tired and foggy brained all the time was fed a high dairy diet her entire life. Once she saw a naturopath she discovered she was allergic to dairy. She removed it from her life for two years and felt amazing. After that, she could cheat a little with it and it didn’t have the same impact, because her body, which didn’t want dairy, wasn’t flooded with it all the time. So, if you try a piece of cheese, peanut butter or other nuts, or a banana, eat them alone, and notice how they make you feel. Keep track of these results and you may discover there are a few items your body just doesn’t like. Also:
- Read up on the impacts of antibiotics and hormones in meats. If you have to eat fewer meats to afford those without antibiotics and “added” hormones, all the better.
- Understand why organic and non-gmo (genetically modified) fruits and vegetables are better for your body. Pesticides are highly damaging to our bodies. When we buy produce out of the US, it’s likely to have pesticides.
- Find a fitness tracker app and enter your individual data to understand the amount of fat, carbs, sugar and proteins needed on a daily basis. We all usually have too many fats and sugars which are so easy to over-consume.
2) Activities that support your growth and enjoyment
We all need time away from the daily demands of life. Otherwise, everything will feel mundane and you won’t feel rejuvenated. Do you have a favorite hobby but you just don’t have the time when taking care of your family? Or, you don’t have the funds? It’s OK to be a little selfish and carve out time for the non-responsibilities in life.
Make it a goal to spend three hours per week on things you love. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but you will begin to see the value of giving back to yourself. This will benefit your family too. Just remember, watching TV is not a hobby and does little to benefit you as a person, unless of course it is educational. Entertainment and escapism have their places, but when time is precious, do something that supports your emotional and creative nature. Yes, we are all creative beings, we just have to discover how.
Is there a group of like-minded people who enjoy the same things? Try MeetUp. Musicians, artists, photographers, techies, outdoor enthusiasts, spiritual groups – you name it, there’s an interest and group for practically everything! If you like getting outdoors, set a goal to get out with your kids and/or friends at least twice per week for nature walks (where it’s safe – and even with masks.) Getting exercise, fresh air and a change of view is very rejuvenating. With a small child, you will need a stroller or baby jogger, unless you have a sitter.
If you love arts and crafts but can’t afford the initial investment – ask for it! Rooster.co – a local community website where everything is FREE, including help. Be wise and careful though. Don’t let people come to your home. If you exchange items, or pick up items like craft or art supplies, fitness equipment or other items, meet in a public place. If you can, take a friend. And, be willing to share things you no longer need too.
3) Finances and saving for the future
This can be such a challenge, especially if you have fallen on difficult times, have become a single parent, and don’t have a strong support system. Saving money for your future is important and cash gives you choices. Without reserves, your stress may remain high, because you have fewer choices if something goes financially wrong.
How much do you need to save every month? The average is 10% – 30% of your earnings. Often, that is not possible. But being creative about what you spend on, and how your needs are met, is one way to save more money. Whatever you can defer in costs, sock it away for a rainy day!
Create a list of ways you may be able to save money from the following methods, and what this could translate to in financial gains:
- Shared housing – finding like-minded people to share housing costs and living expenses. A two bedroom home in Washington state is roughly $994 per month. A four bedroom home in Washington is $1,609. If you share a four bedroom home vs. a two bedroom home, you will save $190 per month, or $2,280 per year.
- Ride sharing – Owning a car may not be in the cards at this time in your life. Ride sharing, around town commuter rentals or public transit may be a better temporary solution, depending on where you live. Auto Insurance is roughly $120 per month and the average vehicle payment is $350 per month. That’s over $5,000 per year.
- Identify living environments that include utilities in rents which could save you on average $200 per month. That’s $2,400 per year!
- Trade services instead of buying something. Offering services in exchange for something you want can make great sense. Maybe you can make clothes, or food in exchange for a clothes hamper, some pots and pans, or a bicycle. Rooster.co or a similar sharing environment where skills exchange is available is worth investing into.
- Share and share alike! Foster friendships with people who have items you can borrow – and they can borrow from you. Buying items that your friend doesn’t have and you can share can save a lot, and also keep clutter down in your home. This may offer a limited opportunity at this time due to Covid. Make sure and sterilize items your give or receive.
- Look for free financial literacy seminars. There are plenty online
- Live within your means and avoid debt. Without the ability to pay it off every month, interest can destroy you. Credit card companies and financial institutions don’t care if you default on payments or loans, the interest accrues (grows) and the fees increase. Avoid it unless it’s an emergency.
Adding up these savings noted above could save you roughly $10,000 per year. Is this a worthwhile goal? What would that look like in your bank account? How could that help you if you have unforeseen medical expenses, want to make a down payment on a small house, or want to pay cash for a vehicle?
5) Communication skills
The better you become at understanding language, the better you will be at negotiating favorable conditions for yourself. What we don’t understand can also hurt us. Words are powerful, and they have impact. One time my son, who was three years old, beat me to the door when I heard the doorbell ring. While he wasn’t supposed to answer the door, he was fast on his feet. He opened the door just as I was walking toward him. As the door swung open, a large man said ‘Well hello there young man!’, and I said, I will take it from here. Later, my son told me “That man almost knocked me over with his words!” Our ability to effectively communicate with the world around us lets people we are confident and deserve to be heard. Be heard.
Some ways to strengthen communications and imperatives of language:
- Learn a new word everyday. It may not make sense now, or you may feel the word is useless, but I assure you at some point in your life, that word will be the right word, and only the right word. People will take you seriously. Download a “Word a day” app for your phone. There are quite a few that also tell you how a word is used in a sentence. I think about the movie Titanic, where the homeless young man sits at the table with the wealthy. How could he pull it off? It was the choice of words he used and the inflection of how they were delivered which made everyone laugh.
- Read things that interest you, and grow your knowledge. If you don’t understand what something means, or the context for how a word is used, always look it up and re-read it, until it makes sense. If you still can’t make sense of it, ask someone.
- Politics and legal communication are made to confuse everyone, because they are systems with natural positions of power. Read the fine print of EVERYTHING. If you don’t understand a contract or agreement, or something someone says, never sign a document until you do understand it and understand how it impacts you. Language can be used to manipulate people, not just help people. The more you know, the better you will understand the differences and what to avoid.
- Make it a goal to use one new word a week in a conversation. See how people react to you and how these words make you feel. Notice how often you say “um” in a conversation, or
- “like”. These are distractions to clear communication. Make it a goal to be mindful, and pause and breathe before saying “um” and just describe what you need to describe, without “like”. You will sound more intelligent, and get your point across without distractions.
6) Dressing for your success
Often, people will judge you on your appearance, which is truly a reflection of how you see yourself. If you want people to take you seriously, make sure you make a positive impression with how you dress. Dressing for your work depends on the kind of work you do, whether you are on your feet all day, in a professional or casual environment. Make it a goal to understand your best look, and start the process of getting there, one piece at a time. Here are a few steps you can take to help you get there:
- Ask a new employer what’s appropriate for a work environment. Notice what others are wearing. Take notes.
- Watch some videos on appropriate work attire. Don’t wear low-hanging shirts that expose cleavage, clothes that don’t fit, or dirty or worn out shoes. It’s important to make sure your shoes are polished and clean, and your clothes fit you well. https://dressforsuccess.org/ will help women in need and make sure they find pieces that make them feel good.
- Create a Pinterest dream board of all the clothes you love. Ask yourself why you like them. Is it the color, the style? Watch videos about finding “your style”. Make sure what you buy or receive matches what you see yourself in. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable about what you are wearing, or clothes that don’t reflect who you are. Explore your style and understand what works best for your shape, height and weight.
- Hair is more important than shoes! It frames your face, and eyes – the window to your soul. Do you love your hair? If not, it may be time to visit a hair stylist and let them know you’re looking for new ideas. Have them show you some styles that would work well for your face and skin color. Hair can make you look young or old, tired or peppy, progressive or outdated. Is short hair or long best for your face, age and body type? You need to find this out.
Hair changes the way you see yourself and how you feel about yourself. This is your personal brand!
Some stylists specialize in short hair, long hair, blondes or brunette hair. Know their strengths and if those will work in your favor. Pricing is all over the place too, so get pricing details as well. Don’t feel like you have to make any commitments until you feel good about your choice and the person who you will entrust work on your hair.
Discover your best self, and don’t sell yourself short!