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From the desk of Coach James

Is your lack of potato printing holding you back, leading to low self-esteem?

My blog posts have become a bit hit-and-miss of late. Partly due to the fact that other things are getting higher priority, and also my lack of focus. In my attempt to get my life in balance – because I feel off at the moment – I have joined a Facebook group of people who are in the same mindset as myself, namely we want to get more out of life but are struggling to make it happen. One of the leaders in the group happened to mention about self-esteem, and what it means. Are we holding ourselves back from getting what we truly want out of life because of low self-esteem? Our worth.

This got me thinking as to, do I have low self-esteem; is that what’s holding me back? If we have low self-esteem, how do we get high self-esteem? Self-esteem is when you feel valued and fulfilled in who you are, a feeling of appreciation for yourself. When you feel comfortable in your own skin it's not so hard to put yourself out into the world and do good work. When we feel under-valued, a lack of appreciation, dare I say those words, ‘I’m not good enough’, we have a tendency to go into our shell and disengage with the world around us.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows that esteem, which is second to the top of the pyramid, says, a sense of achievement. Tony Robbins, who’s school of coaching I have been through, also has a similar concept which he calls the Six Human Needs, one of which is, significance. How interesting I thought? We have a need to be recognised, to feel a sense of pride/value in the world – to raise esteem.

Do you remember as a child you’d go to playgroup or something similar and paint a picture of a squiggle, or a lop-sided house with stick figure family? If you went to a posh nursery you may have done potato printing, and made double the amount of mess. You’d take your creative masterpiece home to show your parents. They would praise you and say, "Well done dear, let’s stick it on the fridge." Whenever people would come to visit they'd see your artistic mastery on display, and if you were lucky you got more praise, “Well done you, that’s really fantastic. I love how the house leans to the left and the roof slopes in the other direction, that’s excellent.” And all smug you would feel, internal dialogue saying, “I did that, all by myself, I’m so amazing.” That’s how to build a child’s self-esteem.

And then we grow up and life happens. Your sense of self is tried and tested, defined by grades and report cards. Your algebraic homework is not stuck on the fridge, you're not given false praise, unless it’s with alcohol. Our sense of worth is squelched, unless we are a genius and come top of the class, or come first in the egg and spoon race on sports day. From an early age our self-esteem becomes anchored to [meaningless] achievements. Does it really matter if you come first all the time, as long as you did your best? Does my B in drama, or A* in English speaking and listening mean anything? Not really.

Wayne Dyer was right when he said, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” Who cares what other people think? Whether they think less or more of you because you have or haven’t got artwork on the fridge [metaphor], at the end of the day it means jack. If you have pride in yourself, of who you are, then that is really all that matters. Being strong and staying true to yourself, that’s what I believe is the most important thing. When we feel good about ourselves, we do our best work. That to me is how to raise your self-esteem.

Being creative, putting your time and energy into something that is meaningful to you, will give you a sense of achievement, thus raising your self-esteem.

Life is so fast-paced these days, everybody is impatient, it’s the era of instant gratification, no one has any time to themselves, and we question why [our] life has gone to pot. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, is it any wonder if we’ve anchored our esteem [things that give us value] to outside sources, which are now so influenced by the media [print] and social [media]? Create something that you can be proud of, and then show it to others, who may say yay or nay (but you don’t hang yourself on what other’s think).

Get you spuds out, dust off your easel and make a mess. Write poetry or fiction, whatever makes you feel fulfilled and alive inside.

The world doesn’t need people who feel dead inside. The world needs people who are alive and able to contribute to the betterment of human kind. Get your art box out and make yourself proud. I love you, thank you.

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