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By Karen Katafiasz, R. W. Alley
Abbey PressCopyright © 1995 Karen Katafiasz
All rights reserved.
Know the reality of your worth as a wondrous, one-of-a-kind, loved, and lovable child of God. You make a dent in creation that cannot be duplicated. That is the basis of self- esteem. No one and nothing can take that reality from you.
Self-esteem is more than an air of self-confidence, a superior attitude, positive messages playing on your inner tape, or a jaunty strut through the world. It's being truly at ease and at peace with yourself. It's the knowledge deep within that you matter and you're acceptable just as you are.
Self-esteem is a solidness at the core of your being. Without sufficient self-esteem, you have a painful emptiness, a "hole in the soul" aching to be filled. Recognize that hollowness; only you can fill it up.
Shame destroys and displaces self-esteem. It erodes your spirit, carving out an emptiness inside. It produces a heaviness at the bottom of your being, even as it makes you feel hollow. Be alert to shame lurking within you.
"Healthy" shame tells you that you've done something terribly wrong. "Toxic" shame tells you that you are terribly wrong. You need to deal with both kinds of shame.
You generate and strengthen self-esteem when you live with integrity, in harmony with your values. Consciously and thoughtfully choose meaningful principles in which to ground your life. Commit yourself to them with all your heart.
When your actions violate your values, you feel "healthy" shame. To remove that feeling, admit what you've done, accept responsibility for the consequences, and make amends to anyone you've hurt. Then forgive yourself.
Sometimes when you find yourself doing what you don't like, you'll have to probe beneath the surface to discover what's driving your actions. If you're acting from unmet needs, deal with them. Seek out spiritual or psychological guidance, when that's appropriate.
Excerpted from Self-esteem Therapy by Karen Katafiasz, R. W. Alley. Copyright © 1995 Karen Katafiasz. Excerpted by permission of Abbey Press.
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