This was first published on ksl.com
We all have faults, flaws, bad habits or features we don't like, and these make us feel we have less value than other people. We might put ourselves down, use self-deprecating humor, or often comment about how overweight, stupid or unsuccessful we are.
Many of us learned as children that we might not be good enough, and this belief has stuck with us. Even if we become successful, fit or more attractive, we always battle this same deep subconscious belief that we aren't quite enough. I believe every person on the planet battles this belief to some degree every day, but some people experience negative thoughts about themselves to the extreme and even suffer from self-hate.
After 20-plus years as a master life coach working with people to improve self-worth, I have found three things you can do that will make a significant difference in your ability to love yourself. They are:
Change how you determine human value
Many people have a subconscious belief that human value can change. Think about this. Do you believe if you could look better, perform better, or make more money, your personal value would go up? Do you also believe that if you make mistakes, gain weight, or lose money, your personal value goes down? If so, this is why your self-esteem changes from day to day: you subconsciously believe human value must be earned and therefore can change.
But this is not true.
Many of us subconsciously accepted this belief as a child because the world promotes it. Still, it's not a fact — and it's often what is making us feel like we aren't good enough all the time. If you find yourself in this belief system, the good news is you have the power to change this belief any time you want.
Instead, you can choose a belief that all human beings have the same infinite, absolute, intrinsic value that cannot change. No matter what we do or how we look, we still have the same value as every other human because that's how this system works. Of course, this is also a belief, not a fact — but it's a belief that will improve your life, so I recommend choosing it.
To internalize this belief, you must do two things
Choose to see life as a classroom
Because of a subconscious belief that human value can change, many of us have also, subconsciously, seen life as a test or place where you can fail. But again, this is just a belief. It's not a fact.
You have the option to choose a new belief here, too. You could choose to believe that life is a classroom. The difference is that in a test your mistakes diminish your value (or your grade). In a classroom, the focus is on learning not earning a good grade. If you choose to view your life as a classroom, you get to see every experience as a learning opportunity that allows you to experience something and learn from it without affecting your value.
You can start doing this today. Choose to trust the universe that it knows what it's doing and that your classroom journey is serving you. The more you trust the universe that it's on your side and conspiring to grow you, the less stress you'll experience and safer you will feel. This will greatly impact your feelings of self-worth and take failure off the table.
Commit to a forgiveness practice
Make a few lists
The trick to using forgiveness to increase your self-worth lies in forgiving three different groups of people.
They show you there are faults or dark parts that you believe make people unworthy; and as long as you see other people's faults as making them unworthy, you will also see your own faults as making you unworthy.
The way you judge others is always tied to the way you judge yourself. You must shift your mindset, which is what forgiveness really is – a change of perspective that eliminates pain and hurt — if you want to love yourself more. You must work on loving and forgiving others, seeing their life as a classroom and their value as infinite. The more you do this, the more you accept these truths for yourself, too.
Process your lists
Take some time every day to process through one of the people, faults or experiences on your lists. You can process them by writing about their darkness and why you have felt justified to dislike this person or this part of yourself. Then, write about your other options and how you could choose to see and feel about them. Write about how it would feel if you chose to see their value as unchanging and infinite, and your life and theirs as a perfect classroom. How could you choose to see them or yourself with love and compassion?
Again, this doesn't mean you are going to hang out with or trust this person, it just means you are going to change your feelings to eliminate pain, hate, guilt, shame or anger. Instead, you'll choose to live in trust, love, compassion, peace, and acceptance.
The more you choose compassion and give infinite value to others, the more compassionate you will become toward yourself. Take all the time you need and just keep working on one person, fault or experience each day. Turn them over to God and allow him to handle the justice. Remember, nothing exists God or the universe did not create for the purpose of our growth.
I believe that forgiveness makes a bigger, faster difference in a person's self-esteem than any other practice. But, it might take some time and consistent effort. There are also books, journals, resources, coaches and counselors that can help you in this process. Just make it your goal to become more compassionate, forgiving, and trusting toward yourself and others. Try to avoid judgment, criticism and speaking ill of them. This will pay off in a greater capacity to love and accept yourself.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
Many of us were taught as children things like "make others happy," "be nice," "be unselfish," and "sacrificing yourself for other people is righteous." We were taught to be afraid of what others think of us and to avoid conflict at all costs.
Were you accidentally or intentionally taught these things as a child?
See if any of the following sound like you:
The following are suggestions for what you can do to start changing yourself to become more authentic and in control of your life.
Don't commit to anything on the spot
Make it your rule that you always say, "Can I check my calendar and get back to you?" Then step back and ask yourself, "Do I really want to do this, or am I saying 'yes' out of guilt, obligation or a fear of rejection or judgment?" If you can say "yes" because you truly want to do it, say "yes." If you are saying "yes" because of fear, you must say "no."
Practice saying 'no'
Look for every opportunity to get more comfortable with saying "no." You are not selfish or a bad person if you occasionally choose your own happiness and possibly disappoint others. Watch for opportunities to show kind assertiveness. Kindly say, "No, I don't want to do that right now. Thanks, though." Practice saying "no" with no explanation about why so the other person can't try to persuade you.
Try saying 'I don't' instead of 'I can't'
When some people hear the words "I can't," they become committed to changing your mind on that. They try to solve the problem for you so you can still do the thing they want you to do. But using the words "I don't" declares a firmer boundary.
Practice saying things like, "I don't have time for that," "I don't do those things," "I don't want to talk about that right now," or "That doesn't work for me." These phrases are more assertive and powerful, yet they can be said with a kind tone.
Learn how to be both strong and loving at the same time
Somewhere in childhood, many of us got the idea that you can either be strong (mean and selfish) or loving (weak and scared), but we can't be both. You will find your power and your courage when you realize you can do both at the same time. You can disagree, but do it with fearless, loving kindness.
I find the trick to finding this place lies in trusting there is nothing to fear. At the end of this interaction, you will still have the same value as every other person and your life will still be your perfect classroom. So, you are basically bulletproof. Focus on your loving kindness for the other person and respond with strength and love.
Learn the trick to strong boundaries
Everyone tells people pleasers to have strong boundaries, but how does one do that? I wrote a previous article on this topic you might want to read. I find the key to good boundaries is knowing what your priorities and values really are so you can say "no" to things that don't match up. If you haven't defined them, you don't know how to make good choices for yourself.
Define what your core priorities and values are
What is most important in your life? Sit down and make a list. You might value things like:
Give yourself permission to be you
It's OK to be different from others and have views they won't agree with. Have a unique style or way of being and do this from a place of trust that no judgment from others can change your value. Consciously choose to not worry about what others think of you. Their ideas have no power and don't mean or do anything.
Get more comfortable with conflict and anger
You may be so afraid of anger that you avoid conflict at all costs — and the costs can be high. To change this, you need a new official policy: "Conflict happens all the time, but it is nothing to fear."
Anger doesn't mean anything except that a human is having some emotions. Those emotions don't mean you aren't good enough or are unsafe. Anger is not something you need to fear.
You can get more comfortable with anger by slowly subjecting yourself to situations where people might get angry and practicing being OK and choosing to feel safe anyway. Do some things like sending back a meal that isn't cooked right, spending a long time at the ATM when people are waiting, saying "no" to someone, asking someone to stop doing something that is annoying you, or purposely not doing something you were asked to do.
Then you get to manage the ensuing conflict or anger with strength and love at the same time. Or instead of creating conflict, just watch out for natural opportunities to practice.
Practice putting your needs first
Putting your needs first may make you feel horribly selfish, but I promise you aren't. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it's wise and healthy. You should have an equal balance between giving to others and taking care of yourself.
Understand that avoiding conflict doesn't promote growth
Most of the growth in relationships happens in times of conflict. Those are the moments when we are asked to become more aware of our behavior, our words or our thinking. We have to stretch and put ourselves in the other person's shoes.
When you avoid all conflict, you avoid the best learning opportunities you are going to get. Try to see each conflict experience as being in your life to serve your growth. Don't avoid it. Jump in and see what you and the other person can learn and how you can become better.
Stop saying 'sorry'
People pleasers apologize way too much. Sometimes they come across as feeling sorry they exist and that their breathing causes any inconvenience to others. You deserve to exist and sometimes cause inconvenience to others, as they will do the same to you.
Your relationships should have give and take, and sometimes you will be the taker. Consciously watch for the desire to say "I'm sorry" and instead say "thank you" for their patience or accommodating you this time.
When you do something that really injures someone, still don't say "sorry." Asking "Could you forgive me?" is much more powerful and means more.
Find activities that increase your courage and confidence
I find that doing adventurous things, challenging myself and accomplishing goals helps me become mentally strong. Even lifting weights and being physically being strong helps me to feel more emotionally strong — there is a correlation between the two types of strength. Become stronger all the time.
Change your belief about your value
People pleasing is a deeply ingrained tendency that comes from a fear of not being good enough. Because you don't see yourself as enough, you believe you need approval from others to give you value. The biggest thing you can do to change this behavior is to choose to see all humans — including yourself — with the same infinite, unchanging value as everyone else. The more you see your value as unchangeable the less validation you should need from others.
Changing this will take practice, effort and time. The first step is recognizing you need to work on this and committing to the work.
You can do this.
SALT LAKE CITY — A lack of confidence can make you too quiet and shy, or it can make you competitive and loud. It can make you prone to gossip about and judge others. It can also create unhealthy relationships where you are dependent on others to make you feel valued.
So what may lead someone to have low self-esteem and how could they feel better about themselves?
Low self-esteem happens when you battle a deep subconscious belief that you aren't good enough, and many people have this belief at some level. If you want to eliminate these problems and finally feel better about yourself, you first must understand the root causes of your low self-esteem.
The following are some possible reasons your self-esteem might be low:
Work on changing your belief that human value can change
The whole idea that human value can be earned and lost is belief; it's not fact. There is no universal system that determines the value of human beings. The way you see human value is just your perspective, born of subconscious beliefs and life experiences.
This means you can change your system to determine the value of human beings any time you want. You can decide to believe that all human beings have the same intrinsic worth and that value cannot change, no matter their appearance, performance, property or anything else.
There is nothing you can do to have more value than other humans and there is nothing you can do to diminish your value and have less worth than any other human soul. Commit to making this belief your truth.
Give unchanging, infinite value to everyone around you
In order to truly change your fundamental belief around how human value is determined, you must give up the judgment of others completely.
You must allow everyone around you to have the same value as you. You must allow them to make mistakes and still be good enough. You must allow them to be scared, struggling and divine students in the classroom of life with much more to learn, just like you.
The more you do this and give unchanging intrinsic value to others, the more you will feel it for yourself.
(I am not saying you must have these people in your life though. You can and should love abusive people from afar. Still extend forgiveness and compassion toward them, but maintain healthy boundaries at the same time. You will find that allowing them to be who they are and still seeing them as worthy of the same intrinsic value as the rest of us will help you to more fully love and accept yourself.)
Use the people you dislike to help you learn to love yourself
Take a minute and write down the names of the people you dislike, judge or who bother you. These people are in your life as special teachers to show you the limits of your love. You are a very loving person until it comes to these people.
An important practice you can do to improve your own self-esteem is to work on loving the people you most dislike. Work on seeing them as having the same infinite, intrinsic worth and as being worthy of love, even though they are flawed, broken, scared or behaving badly. Work on feeling God's love for them if you cannot summon any in yourself. Understand that your ability to see them as good enough reflects your ability to see yourself as good enough. (Again, this doesn't mean you have to have them in your life. You can do all this from afar.)
Choose to forgive yourself for your insecurity and other faults
We all have faults, weaknesses and fears. It's called being human. These faults don't change your value at all. You have the same intrinsic worth as every other human on the planet and you can't do anything to change that.
Completely let go of comparing human beings
There will never be two human beings who get the same genes, the same upbringing, the same experiences, the same wiring and the same life lessons. We are all on our unique classroom journey here and these journeys are incomparable. This means any comparison is going to be a waste of your time and energy. There is no better or worse in human beings, only different people having a different journey. There are better and worse appearances, behavior and performances, of course, but these don't affect your intrinsic value. They play into our extrinsic value and they create different classroom experiences, but no matter which experiences you are having, your intrinsic value is the same.
I have spent over 30 years in personal development. We have tried everything under the sun to improve self-esteem, and most of it never worked. The only thing I have seen create real change is adjusting the fundamental, subconscious belief you have about how human value is determined. Because you are changing your belief at the fundamental level, you are changing the lens you see the world through, and this changes everything.
You can teach this belief system to your children and make it the language used in your home. When someone makes a mistake, remind them that didn't change their value. When they win the soccer game (or lose it) remind them it didn't change their value. Over and over talk about how our mistakes create classroom experiences, but our intrinsic value doesn't change. Notice your dislike of some people and recognize they are teachers who can help you learn to love yourself. As you gain compassion and work on giving them infinite value, you will be giving it to yourself.
The more you work on this, the more bulletproof, confident and secure you will feel. But it's a process and will take time and commitment. Start playing with the idea today and I promise it will change how you feel about yourself.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
A coaching client recently asked me, “What does it really mean to have high self-esteem or low self-esteem? When is high self-esteem arrogance? And how do you have high or good self-esteem but make sure you aren’t arrogant?”
Self-esteem has been defined as how you generally feel about yourself and your value as a human being. In my opinion, it goes deeper than that. Your self-esteem also shows how emotionally healthy, mature and self-actualized you are.
Are you growing and thriving, or stuck and floundering? People with low self-esteem tend to function in fear and are more ego-driven, while people with high self-esteem tend to function from fearlessness and are love-driven.
Arrogance is an ego-driven judgment that sees some people as less valuable, good, or worthy than other people. I find arrogance to show up more often in people with low self-esteem. That may come as a surprise, but as I explain what low self-esteem is, you will see that only people who doubt their worth need to see others as less than themselves.
People with high self-esteem have less fear of failure and, generally, feel safer in the world. One of the hallmarks of high self-esteem is the ability to acknowledge your flaws and faults, and then take on the work to improve them. You can only do this if you have a solid sense of intrinsic worth that doesn’t change.
After almost 20 years in personal development, I have found only one thing that raises a person’s self-esteem: seeing their intrinsic value as a person (and the value of all human beings) as unchangeable, infinite and absolute.
Below, are my observations of common characteristics found in people with low, medium and high self-esteem. See if you can tell where you function most of the time.
People with low self-esteem:
People with medium self-esteem:
People with high self-esteem:
I find that when people have low self-esteem and are always scared they aren’t good enough, their ego steps in to compensate for that with all kinds of immature, self-absorbed, needy, attention-seeking behaviors. If this is you, thank your ego for trying to protect you but let it know it’s services are no longer needed.
Remember, your value can’t change and you are safe. No matter how you perform or look today, you still have the same value as everyone else. The more you practice this and choose it as your belief or rule on human value, the higher your self-esteem will go — but you won't be arrogant because you'll see everyone else as the same as you. This is the beginning of real self-worth.
You can do this.
Coach Kim Giles is a popular local executive coach and corporate people skills trainer. She is the CEO and founder of www.claritypointcoaching and www.12shapes.com
This was first published on ksl.com
I went through a horrible divorce many years ago and it made me feel unwanted and unloved. I can’t seem to get past those feelings, and because of that I am not dating or trying to meet anyone. I think it’s a combination of being afraid, thinking I am not good enough, and being afraid of rejection. Is there anything I can do to get past those fears and move on?
There are some things you can do that would help you move forward and feel more courageous about dating. But before we get to that, I want to explain how our past experiences create beliefs, mental rules or policies that dictate our behavior in the future.
This process started when you were a small child and everything you saw or experienced created ideas and beliefs about who you are and how you fit in the world. But it's possible that many of these conclusions may not have been accurate.
It sounds like the divorce also prompted you to make some new beliefs about your value and relationships. You may have drawn conclusions that the rejection meant you aren’t good enough to deserve love. This isn’t a fact, though; it’s just a belief (or a subconscious policy or rule) you may have applied to the event.
The good news is while you can’t go back and change what happened, you can go back and change what it meant. This is where "time travel" comes in. You have the ability to visualize when you went through that experience and choose a different meaning around it. You can also change the beliefs it created.
To change the meaning of some of your past experiences, find some quiet time when you won't be interrupted and follow these steps:
1. Close your eyes and go back to the situation when you created these assumptions or beliefs about your value or your life. Sit in that place for a while and really feel the feelings that show up. What are the exact conclusions you drew at this time? How did you feel because of these conclusions? After you sit with that for a little while, stop and write the conclusions or beliefs down on paper. What meaning did you apply to the event?
2. Look at those beliefs and write down the ways those beliefs have served you or protected you. You may have held onto them because they served you in some way.
3. Now, think about what these beliefs have cost you. Write down all the damage they have done and how they have negatively affected your life.
4. Ask yourself, are these beliefs worth the cost or would you like to change them?
5. If you think your life would be better if you changed these limiting beliefs, what would you like to believe instead? How would you like to feel about yourself? How would you like to feel about your life?
6. If it would serve you to change these beliefs, try applying new meaning to the event in your past and choose new beliefs to draw from it.
Here's how to do this:
8. Take some time to write down how you are going to choose to feel and process present experiences in light of the new meanings around the past that you have chosen.
You may want to repeat this process a few times, because the more you do it the more you will internalize your new chosen beliefs. According to the neuroscientist, Beau Lotto, in his book Deviate, your brain doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. So, when you use visualization and process events in a more healthy way, you actually get the same benefits you would if you had really had the experience that way.
You may also have more courage to start dating if you choose to trust that your value is the same as everyone else’s, whether someone likes you or not, and trust in the universe that the right person will like you when the time is right.
You can do this.
Coach Kim Giles is a master life coach, speaker, and author of three books. Coach Kim offers help and resources that fit any budget. Learn more at www.claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes,com
This was first published on KSL.com
I have received many questions from readers about people or behavior that is described as “ego driven”. I want to explain what ego is, how to know when it is driving, and how to tame it and become more authentic, balanced and wise..
Some people think “ego driven” just means you are arrogant or conceited, but ego is actually more encompassing than that. Imagine an apple and the real you is the fleshy white part on the inside, but the skin that you try to keep shiny and free from bruises or nicks is the ego.
Your ego is who you believe you are or the face you show to the world. It is made of what you believe your story is, your image, along with your appearance, and your performance. It is the part of you that you compare to others, seeing them as either better or worse than you. Ego tries to protect the inner you from mistreatment and it is fragile, and behaves reactively to defend you too. Your ego image is always changing and rebuilding itself, trying to be what others would want, and yet it never feels safe or good enough. Your ego sees all people and situations as a threat.
The ego is not the real you though. The part on the inside, called your consciousness, is who you really are. This part has the ability to step back and watch the ego thinking and functioning in your behalf. You can actually step back and watch your ego run your reactions, behaviors and thinking. You can also talk to your ego and tell it to “settle down now or stop being afraid.” Or you can let your ego run wild and watch the emotions, stories and behaviors it is encouraging. Because you can sit back and observe the ego, you know it isn’t you.
Your ego isn’t bad, evii, or something to get rid of. It serves you as its goal is to protect you. The trick is becoming more and more consciously aware of your ego, so you can see when it is serving you and when it’s not.
Whenever your ego is experiencing fear and reacting to a situation with drama, emotion, selfishness, negativity, anger, shame, or control, you need to step back and make sure the rest of you agrees with that response. Your higher self (the real you inside the apple) is the source of peace, truth, and love. When you learn to tune into this part of you, you discover wisdom, compassion, and connection to everyone and everything.
If you wonder, in any moment, if your ego is driving or if you are functioning from your higher self. Ask yourself these questions:
Here is a simple process to check your ego at the door:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after speaker, author and master coach, who works with people and organizations to solve people problems and improve human behavior. Take the Clarity Assessment on her website to discover your own fear triggers.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I have a constant fear of failure and never being good enough or having enough value. I am a 42 year old man with a good marriage, a good job and great kids and I think about suicide daily. I wouldn’t do it because of how it would affect my kids, but I don’t know what to do or how to make changes in how I feel? How do you get to a point where you can truly believe you don’t have to earn your value and you can’t lose value (as you said in last week’s article)? How do I move beyond the fear of failure and not being good enough?
Self-development experts, therapists, thought leaders and coaches have been trying to crack that code for decades. How do you really get rid of the fear of failure and improve feeling of self-worth? They have tried positive psychology, brain washing affirmations, encouraging accomplishments, make overs, and more, but still most of us struggle with this fear on a daily basis. Some are lucky to be fear of loss dominate, which means they fear mistreatment, worry about things going wrong more than they worry about being inadequate, but even they have some fear of failure in play too.
I offer a different kind of solution, which involves changing the core foundational belief system you use to determine the value of all human beings (including yourself) that is responsible for creating your fear of failure.
You are probably not consciously aware that you have a subconscious system that determines your value, nor are you aware what that system is. So, let’s start there. You most likely picked up a belief system from your parents and the other people around you growing up. I will explain the most common four and you see if one or all of them are happening inside you. Here are the four beliefs:
1) You may have been taught life is a test - This means you must earn your value and prove yourself worthy, maybe even to determine where you go after death. You may have fear around being found good enough for the higher power you believe in and fear his/it's judgment or rejection.
2) You may have been taught your value had to be earned through your appearance, performance, property and the opinions of other people. This means that if your appearance is less attractive than other people, you therefore have less value than them. If you earn less money, lose more games, accomplish less, make less money, get lower grades, live in a smaller house or a worse neighborhood, drive a worse car, have an older phone, wear cheaper clothing, or are less popular, you again have less value. People with lots of friends have more value than those with less. Most of us were taught this belief in some way.
3) You may have been taught your value is determined by how you compare with others. So, you constantly look at where they are, how they look, and what they do, and your self-esteem goes up and down all day, every day, because it’s based on how you compare to whoever is around you at that time.
4) You may have been taught that winning and being better than others is what matters most. You might be super competitive and your subconscious ego might look for opportunities to put down or gossip about others, because it’s all about being better than them. You might be critical and judgmental of those who are different from you, because if they are different they have to be either better or worse. Your ego feels safer, obviously, if they are worse, so you constantly look for the worse in others and focus on it, because this makes you feel safer.
All of these are just ideas, theories, beliefs and perspectives. They are not truths. They are not facts. There is no provable truth about human value and how to calculate it. It’s all just perspective you choose. Many people with strong religious beliefs will disagree and say they know their perspective is truth, but they can’t prove it. So, in the end you are always choosing a belief system and making it your truth.
The good news is, this means you can choose any belief system you want, because they are all perspective. So, I would recommend choosing a system that makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel safer in the world. Why would you consciously choose anything else
The belief system I recommend is a simple one, though making it your truth takes time and practice. It is simply the belief that all human life has the same value and that value cannot change. Here is how this new belief changes the 4 old ones:
1) Life is not a test to determine your value, it is classroom. In a classroom every experience is a lesson to educate you, but when you make mistakes you can erase and try again, without it effecting your value, like a test would. You can choose to believe repentance, apologies, starting fresh at any time is possible and you can leave the past behind you and move forward with the same value as everyone else. You can believe in a higher power that sent you here to be educated and allows you to repent and not lose your value for a mistake.
2) Your value is based on your uniqueness and your nature as a human soul, two things that never change.This means your value is not based on your appearance, performance, property, or what others think of you. This means on bad hair days you remind yourself appearance doesn’t lessen your value. When you perform badly it’s a lesson, but it doesn’t change your value. When others have nicer things than you have, that doesn’t give them more value than you. No matter what they have or how they look, they still have the same value as everyone else. It also makes you bulletproof from disapproval or criticism, because other people’s opinions can’t change your value – as long as you choose to believe this is true (which you can do if you want to!)
3) How you compare with others, is irrelevant. How they look and what they do doesn’t mean anything about you. If you start to compare yourself, you can stop and choose the truth that all humans have the same value. You have the power to do this in every moment if you want to. But the only moment you have the power of choice in, is this one right now. Fortunately, it is always this moment, so you can always choose it.
4) Giving up judgment and criticism is the path to peace. Your subconscious ego thinks criticizing and judging others and focusing on the bad in them, makes you feel better, but every time you do this you are giving power to the old belief that some humans have more value than others. If you want to feel more confident, you must absolutely give up judgment, gossip and criticism of others. This is the only way to cement the new belief, internalize it and change your self-esteem.
You asked me “How do you truly believe you don’t have to earn your value and you can’t lose value?” The answer is you change the foundational belief about the value of all humans that created the fear in the first place. You give up judgment and allow all the humans around you to have infinite, absolute value and the more you do it, you realize it counts for you too.
Then, you must practice choosing the new system every minute you are consciously aware enough to do it. You also want to teach this belief system and language to your family so everyone is on board to make the change. This should become the language in your home every time someone loses a game, drops a glass and breaks it, or comes home defeated “Well, at least it doesn’t change your value!” If anyone start judging or gossiping, remind them they are giving power to the old system and if they do that, they will always feel not good enough themselves. It takes commitment and repetition to change your foundational beliefs, but if you keep at it – it will work.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the author of the 12 Shapes Relationship System - get the app today, take the quiz, invite friends and learn about your shape at - app.12shapes.com
This article was first published on KSL.com
I had a huge fight with my husband last week because he doesn’t validate me or give me compliments enough, and I honestly don’t ever feel like I’m good enough. More of his comments are negative and about what I haven’t done, than what I have done. He says he compliments me all the time and I don’t hear them. I’m willing to admit that could be true, my whole life I remember every criticism, but maybe don’t accept the positive. I have also always needed a great deal of praise to feel like I have any value at all. How can I get him to build me up more and how can I accept it and hear it?
The truth is you are the one who is responsible for your self-esteem and no one else can fill that bucket for you. He could praise you day and night and you might remain just as needy for compliments as you are now. You are an approval addict.
Validation is your drug of choice and when you get some, it quiets your fear of failure for a minute, but that quickly wears off and you need another hit.
You have this problem because you are basing your self-esteem on the wrong things. You were taught as a small child your value is determined by these four things: your appearance, your performance (how well you do what you do), your property (clothes, car, phone etc.) and what other people think of you.
The problem with this system is, you can't win it. No matter how hard you try to be good enough in these areas and earn validation, it will never be enough. There will always be people ahead of you. This will also make you needy for praise, approval and validation, and this always backfires because the more you try to get approval from others, the less respect they have for you.
People can feel it in your energy when you don’t know your own value and they can tell when your posts on social media are all about trying to prove your worth or illicit likes or comments, and when they feel this neediness in you, it doesn’t impress them. (You shouldn't care of course, but because your self-esteem is based here, you do.)
Here is a list of things you might do (without consciously realizing it) to get validation, attention or approval. See if any of them sound familiar. Honestly, ask yourself the following questions to see if you are an approval addict.
Isn’t this more the person you really want to be?
Here are 8 steps to stop your approval addiction and improve your internal self-worth:
1. Change your foundational belief about human value and choose to see all humans as having the same infinite value all the time.
This means your value is unchangeable and the same as every other human being. It means seeing everyone as different (having their own unique classroom journey) but with the same value as you. It means you must give up the judgment of others and casting them as the bad guy or worse than you. It means choosing to see your mistakes (and others mistakes) as lessons that don’t affect value at all.
This will take some work, time and practice to consciously choose to see yourself and others this way — but you can do it and it will have a dramatic effect on your life, relationships and self-worth.
2. Choose to see life as a classroom, not a test.
As a child, you were subconsciously taught that life is a test to determine your worth and every mistake counts on your grades. You can decide today that life is a classroom, and there is no test and this would mean that every mistake is a lesson (which you can erase and try again) and no mistakes affect your intrinsic worth.
3. Choose to see all people as having the same intrinsic value.
No one is more important or better than anyone else. We are all very different and no one on the planet got signed up for the same classes here you got, so there is no level where it makes sense (or serves you) to compare yourself with others. It would eliminate most of the conflict on the planet if we could all choose to see all humans as having the same value.
4. Stop talking for a week (as much as you can).
Set a goal to say as little as possible for one week, and it will amaze you how aware you will become of your approval addiction. You will notice most of the things you want to say are about trying to get validation or managing others perceptions of you.
If you cannot say those things, it will leave you at risk of being judged and you will have to own the fact that judgment actually can’t change your value and means nothing.
Other people’s thoughts about you have no power and mean nothing, unless you decide to give them power. Don’t do it. Choose to see your value as the same as others no matter what, all the time.
5. Only post things on social media that are about building up other people.
At least for a while, see if you can let go of your need for attention and even resist the urge to post.
6. Focus on validating others everywhere you go.
If you are intently focused on giving validation and approval to others, you won’t have the time or energy to worry about what you are getting or not getting. This will be especially powerful in your marriage. There is a universal law that says "You get what you give." So, if you want more positive validation or attention from your spouse, start giving it to them. Give what you want to receive, though make sure it fits their love language too.
7. Understand opinions and thoughts are only stories.
Just because someone thinks something about you, doesn’t make it true. Opinions are only ideas that exist in a person’s head. They have no power, aren’t real, aren’t meaningful and don’t matter. They can’t change you or diminish you unless you let them.
8. Be yourself.
You are a one-of-a-kind and there will never be another you. Who you are right now is perfect and being different, being quirky and even flawed is what makes the world an interesting place. How boring would it be if we were all the same? Alan Sherman said, “A ‘normal’ person is the sort of person that might be designed by a committee. You know, each person puts in a pretty color and it comes out gray.”
Don’t be gray and don’t try to be a color that makes other people happy. Be the real, quirky, flawed, beautiful you.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com and 12shapes.com where you can find resources, assessments, coaching and classes on self improvement and better relationships.
This was first published on ksl.com
I feel inferior to almost everyone I know. If we go out with people, I spend the whole time wishing I could be more like this person or that one. I compare myself constantly, even though I know it is creating problems and I wish I could stop. I also have a tendency to be critical of others, though, too. I find myself feeling inferior to someone at first, and then looking for bad in them so I can feel better. Could you give me any advice on how to stop my mind from going there, and how to be happy with who I am and not compare so much?
We are so glad you asked this question, because the truth is, we all compare ourselves with others, and it isn’t serving any of us. If the comparing ends with you feeling you might be better than someone else in the room, though it may give your ego a temporary boost, it isn’t really a win. We believe letting the ego feel superior to others in the end means being a person you don’t really want to be, and it will hurt you in the end.
We want you to understand why human beings play these games of comparing and dividing ourselves from other people. We believe this behavior is rooted in our trying to cope with our deepest, darkest core fear — the fear of failure (not being good enough). A fear that, by the way, every one of us battles, to some degree, every day. And it is a painful fear, too. To make matters worse, there is a voice in your head that wants you to constantly compare yourself to others, which finds you lacking most of the time.
Thinking negatively about yourself is so painful that you are constantly, subconsciously, looking for ways to quiet or quell it. You will latch onto anything that works, even temporarily.
One of the techniques that most of us subconsciously use, is something we call the “Shame and Blame Game.” The way it works is the more shame (fear of failure) you experience, the more you will look for bad in others and focus on their bad qualities, temporarily making yourself feel better. Most of the time, though, you don’t consciously realize you doing this to make yourself feel better. But that is what is happening.
Another common technique to quiet your fear (that mankind has been using since the dawn of time) has to do with dividing ourselves from other people so we can see “us” as the good ones and “them” as the bad ones. We will use anything and everything to do this. We divide ourselves into groups based on race, religion, country, which sports team we cheer for (the blue or the red), which cola we drink (Coke or a Pepsi), or which sandwich spread we prefer (mayonnaise or Miracle Whip). Any difference, no matter how significant or insignificant, will do if we can justify a reason why our way is the right one and those guys are wrong or worse.
This gets worse when we do it in groups. The other people who agree with you seem to validate your feelings of superiority, hate or prejudice against “them,” and the division furthers. If you think about it, this one tendency is responsible for most of the problems on the planet. Many times a group of people thinks they are better than another group.
Do you judge others? Do you find fault in the people who intimidate you (or make you feel less than,) so you can pull them down to your level or below and feel better? Are you be prone to gossip or speaking ill of others? Is there any chance your tendency to do this is driven by your fear and insecurities?
We want to explain this tendency to you, so you can get conscious of the techniques you might use to quiet your fear.
Here are 5 ways to change your thinking, quiet your fear, and embrace who you are, so you can stop comparing yourself to others:
1. Change the way you determine the value of all human beings.
We recommend you change your subconscious belief that human value can go up or down, and that worth is based on your performance and appearance (which is your current system at the subconscious level). Instead, embrace a policy that says all human beings have the same intrinsic, unchangeable value.
We found if you change the foundational principle upon which you base the value of all human beings you will, over time, approach the point where it applies to you, too, and your fear of failure will shrink. You will start to believe you are good enough, because you can’t be less than others if we all have the same value.
2. Use the new policy as a reminder that divisions mean we are different, but still equal in value.
The reality is everyone is different. You are one-of-a-kind and there will never be another human like you again. These differences make life interesting and exciting. How boring would it be if we were all the same?
These differences also provide interesting and important lessons for us in tolerance and acceptance, and they stretch the limits of our love and compassion. They do not separate us by value. Every day, practice seeing others as different but equal.
3. Focus on your strengths.
You might not have the talents, body size or intelligence others have, but you do have something. We all do. You have something you are good at. The trick is to stop trying to be different, or have what others have, and just do you. Be the best you.
4. Claim your faults but remember they don’t change your value.
Yes, there are some things you aren’t good at. I’ve had to face the facts that I’m not a woman with talents in the area of hair and make-up. I struggle to put a stylish outfit together and am more comfortable in jeans than a fancy dress. Most of my life, I’ve looked at the beautiful women with flawless style and perfect hair and assigned myself much less value.
Now I own my faults fully, and have decided every day to do my best to get dressed and fix my hair. Then I tell myself this isn’t really my thing, so I better go out there and get them with my love instead. I’m better at that. No one is good at everything, so own your weaknesses, work on them, but don’t let them affect your value.
5. Give up judgment so you can claim infinite value for yourself, too.
There is one catch with choosing a policy that says all human beings have the same value: You must give up judgment if you want this policy change to work. You cannot keep casting other people as not good enough (gossiping or thinking bad of them) and still see your own value as infinite and absolute.
If you keep judging others, you are giving power to the old belief system that people can be not enough. If you give power to that belief, you will never buy it for yourself either, and your self-esteem will continue to suffer. If you want to feel rock solid about your own value, you must give up judgment and let everyone around you have infinite, unchangeable value too.
We have found if you work on these five things, the need to compare and critique others diminishes quickly. Once you embrace the idea that your value can’t change, you will see that much of what others do, or wear or say, has no effect on you whatsoever. You will find you can then allow them to be who they are, and focus on rocking it at being you.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are the master coaches behind claritypointcoachin.com and 12shapes com where they help families, individuals and companies improve all their relationships.
I have recently started to date a new woman, the first woman I have been serious about since my divorce, but I’m unsure if I really want this relationship. Or maybe I’m just afraid of being hurt again or feel unsure about myself and fear rejection. But I’m holding back and I feel like fear is clouding my judgment. I don’t want to ruin this relationship and run because of my fears and push her away — help.
We think what you are really asking is, "How do you know if you are holding back from something or someone for a fear reason (that you should work to overcome) versus holding back because your gut is saying it isn’t right?"
We are all faced with options and choices every day, and often fear making the wrong choice keeps us stuck. We believe if you work on getting rid of your subconscious fears first, you then gain clarity and find it easier to feel which path is right for you. So, we are going to give you some steps for doing that.
But first, understand we all participate in the world differently, according to our unique past experiences. Our past experiences, the family we came from, and the things we were taught all contribute in creating subconscious core fears and core values, which now influence our ability and enthusiasm toward taking risks.
Ask yourself, how do you show up in the world? What is your comfort level with risk within your relationships? Do you put your neck out to say, 'I love you' first or do you wait for your partner to be the first to confess their feelings? Similarly, are you a person who is comfortable with commitment, travel, responsibility and financial stretches? Or do you stay close to home and save money over spending it? Maybe your ability to commit to a relationship is not just about fear of getting hurt, but also your comfort with risk and vulnerability in general.
Many of us play small and safe in the world, we doubt our abilities, our looks, our worth, our intelligence, and our worthiness to do or have big things. We might play safe in our relationships, too. We might feel unworthy to ask out a really amazing woman or think a great guy would never be interested in us.
The fear of failure (fear of not being good enough) can cause you to compare yourself to others, feel insecure, doubt yourself and feel at risk in every relationship. It can also make you show up needy of reassurance, attention and validation, which often cause relationship problems.
People who have less fear of failure play bigger in the world. They commit faster, more forward first, take bigger leaps of faith, and feel more confident in relationships. They have a more secure sense of who they are, what they have to offer, and what they want from a relationship. They also start relationships because they want them, not because they need them — and there is a big difference.
The good news is, with awareness and conscious effort, you can shift yourself from fear of failing and losing out to trusting yourself, your value and your journey. We’ve been helping people do this for 15 years, so we know it’s possible.
If you have real regrets, pain or guilt from your past relationships, it can leave you feeling powerless and unable or afraid to move forward. Unfortunately, you can’t go back and fix the past, or erase those experiences and their effects, but there are three things you can do that will start to make you feel more confident with yourself and your choices. From this place you can accurately feel which direction your inner truth is nudging you. Here are the three tips for eliminating fear:
1. Claim your value
You get to decide how you (individually) will determine the value of all human beings. You have two options: You can see human value as something we must earn and something that constantly changes with our appearance, performance and property (and this mindset will always leave you feeling not good enough); or you can choose to believe we all have the same intrinsic worth regardless of our appearance, performance, relationship history, how many times we have been dumped, or married, how many children we have, or the amount of money we have in the bank.
And you can choose to believe we all have the same value, all the time and it cannot change ever (If you choose this belief your fear of failure will start to shrink).
The world has adopted the first option, though, and teaches us to measure our worth by our successes, our finances and our looks. However, you don’t have to adopt that system if you don’t want to. You can choose to believe we all have the same intrinsic worth as every other human being on the planet all the time, even on a bad hair day or the day you get dumped.
This belief helps us drop the comparison to the others game, and really lean into a sense of confidence and value. This mindset means our confidence does not take a hit every time we are stood up, make a mistake, or compare ourselves to the other guys and girls that our new partner has dated.
If you choose this belief for yourself, you will find your confidence grows and you will have less fear around your decisions. To live without guilt and regret, you must be able to stand firm and secure in your decisions and know you always did the best you could with what you knew at the time, and no decision affected your value.
2. Be open to seeing life as a classroom
Another core subconscious belief you may have gained along the way is the idea that life is a test (which you must pass or fail). This belief is tied to the idea that your value is in question and can change. You, again, could consciously choose a different mindset if you wanted to, that life is a classroom and the purpose of you being on the planet is growth and learning, but your value isn’t tied to any of it.
When you are open to seeing life as a journey towards growth and wisdom, you will feel the universe is working for you, not against you. You could choose to believe that every situation in your life is providing a perfect opportunity for greater growth. This means you cannot make a bad choice, because you can only, as Jason Mraz says, “win some or learn some”, and either way it’s a win in the long run. This mindset makes you feel safer in the world and braver. Challenge yourself this week to look for growth opportunities in every choice, instead of fear.
3. Trust the Journey
If you choose to see life as a classroom, it means that everything in the universe (and in your life) has purpose and meaning, and is there to serve you in some way. When we look up the stars, we see amazing order there and be don't believe we live in a world with random chaos running the show. We believe the universe is a wise teacher who knows what it's doing (We can’t prove this is true, but no one can prove it’s untrue — so we believe it is a mindset choice). This is a mindset choice you get to make every day. Will you trust the universe or fear everything?
If you choose to trust the universe, it might change the way you are looking at this possible relationship. You were attracted to this person for one reason, because there is something this relationship can teach you. What you cannot know is if it’s meant to be a short lesson or a lifelong one. But you are meant to be connected to this person for some reason.
This applies to every situation in your life, too. When you choose this level of trust in the universe, you can take more risks and embrace the journey that comes your way, and believe that no matter what happens it’s going to make you better in some way and for a greater purpose.
With hindsight, we believe you will see how all the dots were linked and why it all happened as it did, but for now, you get to embrace the uncertainty and trust the universe knows what it’s doing and there is something bigger in play. When you trust the journey you can also trust your gut to guide you to wherever you need to be.
If you will start consciously choosing to trust, your value is the same no matter what you choose, and trust the universe will only provide the perfect lessons you need (even if they are hard ones) you will feel more confident in yourself and with your level of risk in your relationships and other areas of your life.
Since learning these principles and putting them into practice in our lives, we have found huge leaps forward in progress. Choosing to trust in your value and your journey make us live bigger and it has always paid off bigger too.
Remember, life is not about having any guarantees; it is about taking the risks you feel nudged to take (which feel wise, even though they are out of your comfort zone) so you can grow, learn, progress and really claim an amazing life. Often it is in these times of growth and risk that you reap the greatest rewards.
Get in trust and then see what your gut is saying.
You can do this!
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.