month; a manager works 70 hours a week but finds out later that his
efforts and the programs developed were not really appreciated; the
athlete who is a star in high school or college discovers he has no
career skills and few are impressed with his previous stardom. Perhaps
all of us need several ways to feel good about ourselves, ways to
further build our self-esteem and to prepare for the future. Make sure
your life goals are ethical and an expression of your true self.
STEP SIX: Write a list of your more important positive traits.
Repeat them frequently with feeling.
Many of us are afraid to brag, even to ourselves. But we need to
know our strengths. Make a list of your good traits, using the list of
positive and negative characteristics from step 3 (also include the
strengths you added to your list of weaknesses). Make the list as
complete as possible. What good traits do your friends, your parents,
your teachers, your idols have? Do you have some of those traits too?
If so, add them to your list. No one needs to see your list, put down
everything you like about yourself, everything that is good. If you
have difficulty thinking of positive traits, this may mean you have an
overwhelmingly severe critic. Ask your friends for suggestions.
Write several simple positive statements about yourself. Examples:
"I care for my family and friends; I'm loving and giving" or "I'm fun to
be with, people enjoy me" or "I'm a serious student preparing for life."
Repeat statements like these, which are true of you, several times a
day, perhaps followed by a reward. Put your positive traits on cards
and stick them up where you will see them often. When relaxing,
spend 10 minutes thinking about specific incidences in which you were
good in the past and fantasize about situations in which you could use
your good traits again in the future. All of these methods accentuate
your positive features. What is most important is that you remember
the positive when the internal critic attacks you.
Think of what you have rather than of what you lack. Of the things you have, select the best and then reflect
how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them.
-Marcus Aurelius, 30 B.C.
STEP SEVEN: Self-help books, support or growth groups, and
insight techniques offer a variety of esteem building methods.