How To Build Your Self Esteem And Increase Your Resiliency
Discouragement comes to us all. But some people find something deep inside of themselves helping them survive situations where others fail. They successfully navigate through trials. They find courage in their inner lion.
What is that something? If you had it would it raise your self-esteem? Would you have greater resiliency when times got hard?
In John Grisham’s novel, Bleachers, he tells the story of former high school Mal who explains how listening to his coach’s voice saved his life. “I was in Vietnam, There were six of us on this ….little patrol boat.“One day we’re half asleep, when suddenly, we are ambushed. Shots flyin’ through the air. A fuel barrel gets hit and explodes. I manage to dive into the river without getting burned.”
“You know what saved me?” “Rake. Eddie Rake. When I was hangin’ on for my life, under the boat, I thought about Rake. I remember his locker-room speeches. ‘Never quit, never quit. ’ You win because you’re tougher mentally than the other guy. If you’re winnin’, never quit. If you’re losin’ never quit. If you’re hurt, never quit.’ “I got hit in the leg. I never felt such pain, like a hot knife. I almost passed out from the pain, and I was gaspin’ for breath.
Mal kept the mantra of his old football coach in his mind and replayed it until he was rescued. Rake was his physical as well psychological coach.
Replay successful memories
Mental health experts have found that successful people with high self-esteem play old memories of themselves overcoming past difficulties as they are in the middle of challenging times. On the contrary, depressed or discouraged people play old memories of their failures in their mind during hard times. Re-playing the success memories empowers you just as re-playing failures in your brain discourages you.
Ancient people have oral traditions and customs that reinforce successful memories. Singing, dancing or chanting before a hunt or great battle were effective methods to hype up. In the movie “Forever Strong” you see the players perform Maori traditional “Haka” before each game to energize the team. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCqbJ4sAq8I
What past difficulty have you successfully navigated through? How did you do that? How could those strengths be applied to your present difficulty? Mal keeps from getting discouraged by imaging that Eddie is watching him. Who is someone who you would want to watch you? Why? Mal pictured Eddie saying to him, “If you’re winnin’, never quit. If you’re losin’ never quit. If you’re hurt, never quit.” What is a mantra you can tell yourself to keep going? Do you have a story or a saying that someone has said to you that keeps you going? Who believes in you? Do any lyrics of a song inspire you?
Personal Success Slogan
Marlo Thomas said, “Whether we know it or not, each of us carries our own unique slogan, a custom-made catchphrase that resonates throughout our lives.” To Marlo it was a memory of her dad saying, “Run your own race, Baby,” which was his special way of saying, “Wear blinders like a race horse, focus straight ahead, don’t listen to crowd, don’t compare yourself with anyone else.” His phrase lifted her spirits to push on and overcome obstacles.
Perhaps some of these questions have prompted your thoughts. Maybe you have something in the back of your mind to inspire you in a unique way when you are down. If so, it is helpful to write your successful moments, thoughts or songs on cards and review them three times a day. Soon you will have a series of successful experiences to rely on when you experience a “gut” check” moment.
You can “run your own race baby.” Likely you have overcome difficulties in the past, you just need to remember; you are stronger than you believe.
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Additionally: For a good laugh, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWOx95nje4Y
Another post on self esteem: http://www.utahmentalhealthservices.com/taming-your-self-critical-voice/
Sources: Grisham, John. (2004). Bleachers. Random House: New York.
Thomas, Marlo. (2006). The Right Words at the Right Time. Simon & Schuster, Inc.: USA.