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Understanding Self-Esteem

I am providing some information about self-esteem that I found to be useful when working with clients, from The Self-Esteem Workbook, by Glenn R. Schiraldi.
I hope you find it useful as well. I’ll be breaking it up in sections and posting, but here is understanding self-esteem:

What is self-esteem? It is a realistic, appreciative opinion of oneself.

Some concepts that relate to self-esteem include:
1. Identity: Who am I? What defines me?
2. Appreciate: to think well of, to value and to enjoy; recognizing the quality of worth of someone or something.
3. Accept: to receive, believe in, and to respond favorably. One may acknowledge one’s weaknesses, be determined to improve, and still accept oneself.
4. Self Confidence: is a belief in one’s ability; to one’s competence and self-efficacy. Self-confident people might say to themselves, “Because anyone can do just about anything, why can’t I? I may not do it as quickly or completely as others, but the end result will be desirable.”
5. Pride: there are two sides to pride in self-esteem: self-defeating and healthy. Self-defeating pride is the attitude that one is superior, more valuable or more important than others. Self-defeating pride includes attitudes such as: arrogance, conceit, pretentiousness, vanity or narcissism (selfish and grandiose sense of self). Healthy pride is a realistic sense of one’s own dignity or worth. Self-respect, gratitude and happiness in one’s achievements.
6. Humility: There are two sides of humility: self-defeating humility and healthy humility. Self-defeating humility is a lack of self-respect. Healthy humility involves recognizing one’s imperfections and weaknesses; being conscious on one’s own shortcomings and ignorance.
7. Selfishness: the purpose of self-esteem is to transcend the self. The person with self-esteem loves by choice from a secure base; thus building self-esteem warrants our best efforts.

Some people don’t build on self-esteem because they don’t know how. But others resist building self-esteem for various reasons. So let’s do a cost/ benefits analysis before discussing ways to build self-esteem…..

List all the advantages of self-dislike. Then list all the disadvantages of it, as shown below. I’ve provided some examples.

Your Personal Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros/ Advantages
(The good thing about self-dislike is…)
-there is no risk
-no expectation of myself
-I understand why people don’t accept me because I can’t accept myself
-I can get pity and attention sometimes

Cons/ Disadvantages
(The bad thing about self-dislike is…)
-it is painful
-it creates a vicious cycle: because I have a low opinion of myself, I don’t try and then people treat me poorly, their poor treatment confirms my low opinion of myself…
-life is no fun
-it leads to psychosomatic symptoms and disease

Review your list and ask yourself, what would be the positive consequences of my having a realistic and appreciative opinion of myself?

Some of your responses may include:
I’d be more motivated by personal satisfaction
I’d be happier
I’d try more
I’d be less selfish and self-protecting
I’d worry less
I’d be less questioning of myself when things go wrong

Write some of your own responses here:


Qualities That You Love About Your Partner

Qualities That You Love About Your Partner
When was the last time you told your partner how much you appreciated them? We sometimes forget to focus on the positive things that our partners do and tend to linger on to what didn’t happen. I’m guilty of this too!
One exercise I like to do in couple’s counselling is to help them focus on things that they love/ admire about each other. This can be a fun activity. Give it a try! Share your thoughts with one another. Listed below are some ideas……….
There are four categories:
1. General
• Beautiful inside and out
• Thoughtful

2. Personality
• Intelligent
• Hilarious

3. Caring Behaviours
• Helpful
• Knows when I’m tired

4. Physical Attributes
• Great smile
• Beautiful eyes


“Tears, Tantrums and Turmoil”

I attended a workshop presented by Deborah MacNamara, called, “ Tears, Tantrums and Turmoil.” She discussed the basic idea of being with your child when they are sad or frustrated and allowing the child to register why they are feeling this emotion. For example, as parents, we say the word “no,” which children do not always agree with. “No, you cannot have a cookie right before dinner.” They ask questions such as, “Why can’t I?” We need to help the child move forward from this emotion and register why the parent is saying no. The child will be upset and feel angry or sad. Deborah MacNamara states that “a child should be moved to sadness by the experience of futility,” meaning that the child should be able to cry and move on, but register that the parent has said “no” for a reason.
She stated that children need to have tears because:
• there is so much that children need to learn to adapt to, especially when circumstances are less than ideal
• to find true rest from trying to change circumstances/ situations that cannot/ should not be changed
• to prevent becoming spoiled
• to develop resilience from things that are out of their control
• to be as adaptive as needed in school and other situations
• to learn from consequences
She also mentioned a few common childhood futilities, which include:
• holding on to good experiences
• making something work that doesn’t
• possessing mommy (or anyone else)
• sending the sibling back from where they came from
• being smarter than one is
• avoiding failure/ being perfect
• controlling circumstances
• turning back time or undoing what’s been done
• winning all the time
• being bigger than one is
• being best at everything
• being wanted where one isn’t
• getting one’s way all the time
• knowing what’s going to happen
• avoiding upset

I can relate to dealing with many of these futilities with my two boys, especially at winning and trying to be the best / first at everything! There are some battles that they clearly can handle on their own, and some situations in which they need help to move forward from their futilities for sure.
Children need at least one strong attachment to help them move through these futilities, according to Deborah. A really good example she used was when a child is not invited to a classmate’s birthday party. All the children know about it, but not everyone can be invited. Moving a child through those emotions can be difficult, but extremely necessary. Let your child know that they may not have been invited to the party, but they are always welcomed in their home. Accepting that is key…..
I just wanted to share some of the things discussed.
I’d love to hear any of your thoughts or comments…….


Advice on keeping yourself organized with back to school routine

Did you and your children survive the first week back to school? How was routine setting? Getting children to bed on time and up early enough to have a good breakfast before they headed off to school? Scheduling reading and homework time? Making lunches and prepping dinner for the next day?
I was also off my routine as I stayed home with my children for the month of August. It was really tough to get my frame of mind back to all the structure that is needed with school aged children. But we survived it!!!! It almost felt as though we were never off on break- and that’s after a short week back.
I hope your children have settled and know who their teachers are by now. It’s an exciting time!
These are some things that I do that help me with setting structure for my children and keep myself organized:
-set an age appropriate bed time (children need their sleep in order to function)
-make sure they have a good breakfast in the morning
-set a time and place that kids can complete their homework
– make myself available to assist with homework/ reading
-make lunches the night before
-have my children pick out their clothes and set it out the night before
-set a menu for the week
I’d love to hear some of the things that you do that would be helpful for the rest of us……….

Advice on keeping yourself organized with back to school routine by Angela Pallan


How would you define stress?

Let me offer you this example: Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. When you feel stress, your body responds as though you are in danger, your heart rate goes up, you breathe faster and you even get a burst of energy. This is what we call the fight or flight response.
Some stress can be normal and effective. For example, when you can get that adrenaline rush if you need to work hard or react quickly, like if you need to get an important job done on time or if you are running a race.
Stress can also have adverse effects if it lasts too long or happens to often. Stress can cause headaches, back aches, or upset stomach. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to overcome an illness. It can make you moody, irritable tense or depressed.

What are some causes of stress?

-any type of change/ transition (new school, new job, new home)
-relationship problems
-job satisfaction
-financial strain
-parenting differences

How do you reduce stress?

You may never be able to get rid of stress, but there are ways you can lower stress in your life. What are some things that you do? Here are a few things that may help:-learn better ways to manage your time (make a schedule)
-take care of your self. Get plenty of rest, eat well, limit alcohol intake
-exercise (walking can help clear your mind)
-write things down that are bothering you
-let your feeling out: talk, laugh cry- express your emotions
-ask for help; having a strong network of family and friends is extremely useful
-learn ways to relax your body (yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, breathing exercises)



Finding Balance in Your Life

Finding Balance in Your Life

Download Pie of Life family game.

This is a fun little exercise that I present in my positive parenting class. This activity will offer you a visual glance of where your current life style is and where you would like it to be.
On the handout called Your Pie of Life; graph what your life style is like as of today.
On the second handout called Your Balanced Pie of Life, graph out what you would consider your balanced life to be like.
I have attached a sample copy of one that you can refer to.
Just remember you are the only one that can make this balance happen. I advise you to hang up your Balance of Life graph somewhere where you can refer to in order to strategize this gap.
Have fun!

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