Ten Steps To Help You Set Up A Repository
for affirming, loving words from the important people in your life
I. Try to identify 10 positive strengths --10 positive qualities -- and write them down on a piece of paper.
This first step, trying to recognize your own assets, and to begin, ever so slightly, to believe in yourself again, is the most important. And the most difficult.
Think hard about what people have told you in the past: things that you do especially well, or personality traits they admire. Think about your job. Why are you good at it? Or about your hobby. What makes you enjoy it? What is something special about you?
You might also go through old birthday cards, or report cards, or annual. reviews (excerpting ONLY the positive), think back to past conversations with friends, page through photo albums and scrapbooks -- anything to recall those times when people recognized your talents and assets and expressed appreciation for them.
II. Come up with four people to list your strengths.
If you were unable to come up with 10 positive traits about yourself, it's understandable. Now, you may be thinking: if I had four people in my life who would tell me why I am wonderful, then I wouldn't have low self-esteem, right? Of course, it's not that simple. Think about people who have complimented you in the past. Go there.
III. Make four friends.
How? Join a book club. Volunteer. Go online. Seek out a support group. Take a night class. Get a dog (they are people magnets). Attend a conference. Carpool to work. Talk to strangers.
If you put yourself out there, you become available to friendship.
Every day life if full of potential friendship moments. So get out there.
IV. Ask your friends to make the list.
This may not be easy. Because it is admitting that you are in a bit of a rut. Which is why you can make something up like: "For a project I'm doing with an online group, I need to assign four people with the task of listing 10 positive traits about me. I thought of you since you're such a positive and complimentary person. Would you consider doing that for me?"
V. Buy a Folder and a Label.
This is one of the easier steps: simply drive or walk to the drugstore or an office-supply shop and buy a folder. Any color. Any style. Write the words "Self-Esteem File" on the front. Make it so obvious that you would be embarrassed if anyone found it.
VI. Start collecting letters.
One by one, as you collect your letters of affirmation, place them in the self-esteem file. If two weeks go by and you haven't received anything, check in with your four people and remind them.
VII. Find more friends.
Most of the time, one, two, three, or four of your friends wont follow through on their promise, which is why you need a list of four additional people to serve as alternatives in case your friends bale on this task. So, review step 3 on the different ways you can meet friends, and say to your additional friends that you need affirmations. Explain to them your self-esteem file.
VIII. Propose and affirmation exchange.
If asking friends for a list of 10 positive traits still has you a bit freaked out, because it asking something of someone, here's an idea: propose an exchange of affirmations.
IX. Continue to collect affirmations.
Become an affirmation hoarder. Whenever anyone says anything positive, record it: on a Post-it, legal pad, receipt, anything you can shove into your self-esteem file. Put into your file all those letters, cards, notes, emails that are complimentary in any way. Look for "proof" in the past that you are worthy and lovable. Because you are.
X. Read it!
As you watch your self-esteem file widen, fatten, thicken, and grow, a curious thing might happen...you might not depend on it so much. You'll graduate to unconditional self-esteem. You'll realize that self-esteem is a gift that you and all human beings receive at birth. Your worthwhileness is already there and you don't have to earn it.