Posts tagged ‘self-esteem’

April 4, 2011

Women and anger

by Dandy

The past couple of weeks I’ve received a few emails from women concerning my post on Boundary Lessons.  This has created some lively discussion on women’s issues, anger, betrayal, forgiveness, expression.  So I’ve been asked to write about this topic some more. 

There was a rough patch in my life awhile ago that caused me to have some serious anger issues.  I didn’t like experiencing  that emotion and sought out counseling and read many, many books about the subject.  I would like to share some of the tools I’ve learned. 

Know your triggers

For most women, our triggers are around issues of power, justice, and responsibility.  We  become angry when we cannot meet our own expectations, when we cannot change frustrating circumstances from work or home, and being treated unfairly or disrespectfully.

The self-esteem factor

Venting anger is even more harmful than keeping it in.  Labels like bitch, shrew, ball-buster mean to undermine self-esteem.   To enhance self-esteem people need to feel loveable, and competent, and venting anger does neither of these.  Having low-self esteem makes people more likely to be easily provoked and to express their anger in volatile ways.  When we are angered we  tend to regard innocent acts and words as personal affronts, further undermining self-esteem. 

Another counterproductive response to anger (this one was so me) is a tendency to ruminate and brood about the precipitating event, construing it as unfair and deliberately provoking said rumination only worsened angry feelings.

When we have high self-esteem we have fewer anger symptoms and are much less likely to brood about the events that provoke anger.  We also have a less propensity to become angry or to keep anger in, or to vent it. 

Rather than suppressing anger or negatively expressing it, women with high self-esteem tend to discuss their anger in a problem solving way, either with a confidante, or with the person who provoked it, or both.

Women with high self-esteem also do not have to busy themselves with protecting a fragile sense of self, but can identify the salient aspects of the anger producing situation and approach it from a problem solving stance.

Women who suppress their anger also suffer from low self-esteem, because they’d allowed themselves to be treated as doormats or punching bags.  Occasionally after prolonged suppression, their anger would erupt in a way that was out of proportion to the triggering event, making  them feel guilty and worthless, further lowering self-esteem( this was me too).

 

The difference between venting and expressing

*Analyse what makes you angry with out walking around it.  Without blaming or reaching for complaints.  Recognize it.  Validate it by writing it down. 

*Admit your anger, feel it out.  Exercise, yell into a pillow.  Go running.  Tear apart old phone books. Depending on the intensity of the emotion this may not always be necessary, some may prefer to draw, paint, or write in a journal.  Expressing anger in this way is so positive and healthy, and it is not venting out, hurting people.  Regardless of whether or not they make sense our feelings are an essential part of who we are – no longer allow repression.  With expression there is no room for it!

* Understand the deeper meaning.  Once you’ve allowed yourself to really feel it and you are aware of where or who it has been directed to.  There is almost always another feeling behind anger. 

* Set boundaries!  Plan ahead.  Say what you want.  Hold yourself responsible for your own happiness.

* Know your limits.  Recognize those triggers.  Find the roots of them.

* Value yourself and forgive.  Forgive others for not always getting it right.  Forgive yourself.

On a side note, any emails sent to me will absolutely, positively be private.  I do not share emails or names, and do not discuss private conversation with anyone, ever.  Privacy is a huge issue for me!  If there is anything you would like to discuss or comment on in private please email me at thereflectiveself@hotmail.com

November 22, 2010

Self-forgiveness

by Dandy

In our quest for peace, healing, and self-esteem finding forgiveness for ourselves is crucial.  When we do not forgive ourselves the result is guilt, shame, and inadequacy. The benefits of forgiving others lifts the burdens we carry.  Resentments, anger, and destructive behaviors are freed when we forgive our trespassers.  We free ourselves from the prison bars we never should have been behind.  Forgiveness allows us to soar out of the role of victim and be more of who we were meant to be.

But what about self-forgiveness?  Maybe you are caring onto a past mistake.  It can be small or very big.  When we carry regret that is a way we fail to forgive ourselves.  Why are we so unwilling to forgive ourselves?  We believe that we deserve happiness, peace, and acceptance, but somewhere back we started to believe that the rules and regulations of society defined who we are supposed to be.  We stopped believing in our inherent worth.  We stopped trusting ourselves.  We received the message that, “we are not good enough”.  Messages such as, “if you would only just”, or “you failed”, or “this isn’t good enough”, became such a never ending litany for us to abuse ourselves with guilt and shame.  It is abuse when it is painful and damaging to our selves, and when we do it to ourselves it is just as scarring as when others do it.  To these perceived offenses, we became judge and jury and found ourselves guilty.  When parents, teachers, and other societal influencers are unable to love and accept themselves unconditionally this “learned attitude” is passed on as shame and guilt in attempt to control behavior. 

Shame and guilt are very different even though both are harmful and soul damaging.  Guilt is about behavior.  Shame is about being.  Shame reaches down deeper in its pervasiveness.  Children who grow up thinking they are “not good enough” become care givers and influencers for the next generation.  I’m not blaming caregivers and parents, for this is how they were parented.  True maturity can only be reached by forgiving our parents and care givers for being human, damaged humans at that.

When we start to believe that we are worthy, that there are no mistakes we begin down the path to self-forgiveness.  We must stop perceiving that the opportunities to learn as mistakes.

So how do we forgive ourselves?  There are many steps.

  • Think of a certain situation in which you carry regret.  Change your perception of it.  Remember that our thoughts create behavior, and it is our perception that creates our interpretations.
  • Accept yourself – perfection is non-existent anyway.
  • When you make an error in judgement, always admit to it, apologize, and let it go.  The lessons that have contributed to our growth and made us who we are need and deserve our appreciation.
  • Think of how you would respond to someone who has made the same “mistakes”.  Would you berate that person the way you’ve berated yourself?  How would you respond if you learned that a loved one was treating themselves in the way you treat yourself?

When we don’t love ourselves we tend to treat others harshly.  When we don’t forgive ourselves we tend not to forgive others.  It is a long and rough path to walk through life on.  Ease up.  Forgive yourself.  Let go.

Dandy

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November 8, 2010

Emotional & intellectual benefits of reading

by Dandy

I have been a life long lover of books.  I’m a chain reading bookworm who knows every square inch of my public library.  When I was a teenager my parents always knew where to find me – in the library’s basement on the green sofa curled up with a book.  I never, ever got into trouble as a kid, because I didn’t have the time to get in trouble with my voracious reading schedule.  I guess you could say books were my recreational drug.    It was my love of reading various types of literature that compelled me to pursue a degree in English.  All I wanted to do with my life was read and study. 

There are so many articles everywhere about our physical health.  We all know that yoga is good for the body and soul.  We all know to eat our veggies and fruit, because it makes us feel better.  We all know that exercise is the key to a long life of good health.  We all know the vitamins we need.  But what about reading?  What are the health benefits to reading?  Read on and find out.

Stress Relief – Reading is therapeutic.  It stops us from ruminating about our own worries.  Many different studies have shown it to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and social isolation.

Rejuvenating – Being alone with a book recharges us emotionally. 

Entertaining – Reading will make you laugh, cry, blush.  It will challenge your core beliefs.

Right Brain Stimulation – Reading opens us to new possibilities.  It makes us ask, “what would I do in this situation?’  It stimulates us mentally and increases concentration and focus. 

Relaxation – We all need this.   The beauty and rhythm of language can calm and relax. 

Widens Vocabulary – Reading causes us to be alert and curious to new words.

Intellectual Curiosity – As our vocabulary increases so does the desire to read more challenging material.

Expands Reality– Reading takes us out of our geography and time line.  It expands reason and opens us to more diversity, customs, ethnicity, and lifestyle.

Builds Self Esteem – Reading makes us more knowledgeable about a certain topic hence increases our confidence.  People will look to us for answers. 

Memory Improvement – Reading requires remembering details, facts, figures, plot lines, characters, themes, and structures.  It stretches our brain.

Improves Creativity – Reading will give us exposure to new ideas and information.  It inspires and encourages innovation. 

Sometimes a single book can change our entire lives.  We are made better people because of reading.  It can take us on an unexpected course.  It shapes our personalities and beliefs.  You don’t need to read War and Peace or The Canterbury Tales to experience the health benefits of reading.  If you are not much of a reader, start with a short book.  Or read poetry if you have trouble focusing on anything too long.  Read something today that you have never thought about reading.  Challenge yourself, you will be healthier because of it.

What books have you read that had a profound effect on you?  What topics have you been wanting to read, but haven’t gotten around to it?  What is your favorite genre?

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