“I don’t think I can do that,” says Shirley.
“Does it matter what you think or does it matter what you do?” I replied.
“I never thought of it like that. I know I should do this; I guess I just don’t think I’m good enough.” Shirley confessed.
To which I replied, “Who asked you what you thought?”

Self-esteem is described as how you think about yourself. You may have been brought up to caution how you express yourself to others. You temper how you think about yourself so that you don’t ‘get out of line’ or become arrogant or ‘too big for your britches’. But the fact is that by tempering yourself, you shrink yourself. And although others may not feel insecure around you if you are not any bigger or more expansive than them, the fact is that you do not get to experience all that there is of you.

By being less than you are capable of being and doing for fear of being too big or too great, you are limiting yourself. When you limit yourself, the result is that you are left with a sense that you could be so much more and the world loses out because you are not giving all that you have – to BEING YOU! The more ‘you’ you are, the greater the impact you have on the world.

Too often people are taught to do more for others. But in focusing on others rather than on yourself, you lose yourself and you miss out on enjoying life. You were born to make manifest all that is possible for you. In doing so, you naturally do more for others around you. It has the opposite effect of making others feel insecure; by being your all, you actually liberate others to be all that is possible for them.

People don’t always know how to bring out the best in themselves. We are limited by how we think about ourselves, by how we were conditioned as children, by not knowing how to be more expansive and not knowing how to learn. We are also limited by our own ability to take risks, by our lack of courage.

Here’s the good news. It doesn’t matter what you think about yourself, your capabilities, or what other people think of you. Your job in this lifetime is to be who you are capable of being. You do not have a right to hold back for any reason.

Pretty bold, huh?

Think about it. Do you think the rose ‘thinks’, “I don’t know if I should open completely today. The other flowers get awfully jealous because I am so beautiful.” Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Well, it sounds just as silly when you do it to yourself.

What about a lion saying, “I shouldn’t hunt so well or be so brave for fear of what the others in the pack will think or do.” Even sillier. The fact is that the lion that demonstrates the most ferociousness and strength is the one the others follow.

The rose blooms beautifully and smells sweetly because it’s in its nature. It doesn’t question whether it ‘should’. And the lion is brave and courageous because that’s who he is. You are who you are. How you think about yourself is a judgment you don’t have the right to make unless you’re using that judgment as the impetus for change.

You are a child of the universe. You have a right to be here. And you have gifts and talents and strengths that are part of you. You are meant to maximize those gifts. Perhaps it’s time to stop ‘thinking’ and start ‘doing’. Focus your energies on discovering and developing yourself rather than on focusing on or trying to change how you think about yourself. As you move forward in becoming the person you were meant to be, you will learn to think differently about yourself. You will move beyond judgment and into gratitude.

If there is something you don’t like about yourself, then either come to terms with it or fix it in a way that suits you. My client Sue remarked, “I hate my thighs. They just seem too big for my body.” Sue enjoys running. So I asked her, “Do your legs work well? Are you able to run as fast and as far as you’d like?” She got the point.

If her legs were skinnier, it’s possible they would not be as effective. The point is that she was blessed with two legs that worked perfectly well at carrying her the way she enjoyed. She had no right to criticize especially when there are others who long to have both legs – even if they were thick and meaty. Don’t believe me? Ask a paraplegic or a diabetic who’s just had their leg amputated.

You are not your body. Your body is your house. You are not your roles such as mom/dad, sister/brother, spouse, employee; they are just the positions you play in this life. It’s time to shift the focus from judgment to gratitude and from thinking and intellectualizing to feeling and being.

You are not what you think of you; you are what you are and what you do. What you think about yourself and what you are doing and being are separate. There is a capacity of who you are capable of becoming; instead of worrying about what you think of yourself, focus your attention on maximizing your capacity. By doing so, you will maximize your enjoyment of life too.

Coaching Challenge:
1. Put your self-esteem aside and focus on moving forward in spite of what you think about you. Do what you are meant to do.
2. How do you think about yourself? What does your self-esteem look like? Is there an element of judgment?
3. What are your special gifts that you were put here to use? How are you using them? How can you use more of your special gifts and talents?
4. Start a gratitude list. Each day add three things to the list that you are grateful for. Consider all dimensions: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, environmental.

Author's Bio: 

Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN is a personal & career coach working with people who want to create a great life. Call now to explore how coaching would work for you (484) 530-5024. Sign up for our e-newsletter at www.nurturingyoursuccess.com or write to Julie@nurturingyoursuccess.com.