Happiness is based on external circumstances. When you get a raise, buy a new couch, or find a terrific outfit, you are happy. But joy is different. Joy comes from a place deep within. It exists regardless of external circumstances. Joy can co-exist with pain, suffering and times of difficulty. And self-esteem is essential to our ability to experience joy.
Once achieved, it grows from the inside out. But it is stunted from the outside in. A woman with low self-esteem does not feel good about herself because she has absorbed negative messages from the culture, media and poisonous relationships.
The propaganda of youth, beauty, and thinness in our society attempts to doom every woman to eventual failure. Women’s magazines, starting with the teenage market, program them to focus all their efforts on their appearance.
Many girls learn, by age 12, to give up formerly enjoyable activities in favor of the beauty treadmill leading to nowhere. They become fanatical about diets. They munch, like rabbits, on leaves without salad dressing, jog in ice storms, and swear they love it! Ads abound for cosmetic surgery, encouraging us to “repair” our aging bodies, as if the natural process of aging were a disease. Yet with all this ceaseless effort, they still never feel like they are good enough.
Yet, feeling good enough and worthy of love starts with accepting and loving yourself. And loving yourself starts with caring for yourself. Make a plan to do one thing that will help you excel physically, intellectually, emotionally, even spiritually. Making just one change for the better will boost your attitude from the inside out. You can actually choose what you want to change or improve. Things you do most are the ones you may choose to focus on. A simple task doesn’t take that long. Little things add up. It’s amazing, really.
The seemingly meaningless things you do for yourself may not have immediate results, but after just a short while, they’ll have you looking and feeling better. So add those bubbles to your bath, make sure you eat your vegetables, get enough sleep, think of doing something good for yourself when you have nothing to do, and the results will be worth it.
In the meantime, remember that the journey is just as important, maybe more, as the destination. To get that attitude going the right direction, you need to appreciate your face and body for what it is. It may be unrealistic to tell yourself to love it, but you certainly shouldn’t hate it, either.
If you take a look at any success story and grasp the one element of similarity between them, you’ll notice that virtually every self-made, successful person has this one super-important object of success in their mind- a burning desire to succeed. What counts is your mindset. Age, location, ethnic origin, gender, or any other perceived disadvantage have no part in your attitude to become what you desire. As a matter of fact, there are so many real life “underdog” stories out there. There are people who have been under-educated, considered too old, too fat, too ugly, discriminated against, abused, had little or no support, and left for dead that have found riches, fame and tremendous success. But most importantly, they found a deep inner joy that no one could steal from them.
To start you journey today, consider this: conduct a research project and find someone who has had similar struggles as you, has them in a big way, and make them your new role model. Find out everything you can about them, put their picture on your bathroom mirror, print a quote of theirs that inspires you and put it on the frig, read their biography or blog, flood your mind with where they’ve and where they are now and what you perceive it took to get there. Lastly, fill yourself with faith that if they can do it, so can you!
Shan White, a certified life coach, helps women heals themselves from the trauma of divorce by putting their lives back together piece by piece.
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