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A Working Woman's Guide to Self-Esteem

Sheryl Sanders named it. Many others have espoused it telling women everywhere to buck-up…and just “Lean In” to reach Nirvana.

But where in all that Pep-Talk does anyone address the reality that women today are the inheritors of womens’ struggle with Self Esteem? A struggle which has not been a trait long prized by most cultures the world over.

Rather, the dominant world-view throughout recorded history has been one where woman have been praised for feminine qualities of passivity – not assertiveness; compliance – not independence; dependence – not self-reliance; and self-sacrifice – not self-celebration.

The very fact that women en masse since the 60’s revolution are today competitively vying for jobs in technology, finance, science, law and other major male-dominated professions, starting their own businesses, and challenging prejudices and stereotypes is a testament to their hard-earned efforts to challenge the traditional view of womanhood.

That collectively women have strived and made serious affect towards a vision that honors a woman’s strengths, potential and success is in and of itself an act of Self-Esteem - and paramount to the subject here of how deeply a woman is willing to explore her interior world in order to reach an authentic Self-Esteem.

The question then, is not whether Self-Esteem was the essential element that has brought women this far, because it is clear that it is. What is, is how it is that a woman in the world of work today gains personal understanding and mastery of her own private reach towards achieving that vital level in Maslow’s famously quoted Hierarchy of Needs.

While the fan mail pours-in to Sheryl Sanders and others who have made famous the Lean In catch phrase, it’s as if it’s as easy to do as flipping the light switch. When the reality for many real women’s lives proves otherwise.

And the faint of heart probably already mentally noted it by saying “yeah, that’s easy for Her to say!” Because what’s under the covers for any woman wishing to follow that ethos is something that is still fundamentally difficult to fully achieve:

A solid sense of herself that is grounded in knowing she is competent to cope with life and career challenges, confident in her ability to think, feel, learn and act in her own best self-interest, all the while feeling worthy of her right to be happy, to achieve success, respect, love and life’s fulfillment.

The fact that Self Esteem is indispensable in the workplace can be witnessed in the following examples of someone with High Sense of Self. Let’s take a look to see whether we can see ourselves in these:

  1. She seeks the challenge and stimulation of goals she finds worthwhile, responding appropriately to these challenges and opportunities to excel and progress. She has a realistic confidence in her mind and her self-worth, and is motivated by a challenge.

  2. She tackles the roadblocks and issues that arise in her career and personal life, responding to set backs and down falls with resilience and renewed energy to try again. Her ego is secure, thus preventing her from feeling devastated by disappointments.

  3. She reaches ever higher to achieve not just in her career or her financial realm, but towards her experience of life on an emotional, romantic, creative, intellectual or spiritual level. She feels energized by achievement, and takes pleasure and pride in her achievements.

  4. She strives on an ongoing basis to express herself - not in an effort to prove herself, but to explore the richness of herself fully. She thrives in an environment of conscious self-awareness.

  5. She continually strives towards more open, honest and authentic communications, seeking clarity and nourishment from her relationships and interactions. She exudes vitality and expansiveness in her expression and connection with others.

  6. She knows treating herself well is essential to having good boundaries with others, and requires others to treat and respect her equally well. She feels worthy of respect, friendship and love.​​

To attain success in life without attaining the level of Self Esteem that allows you to hold the highest regard in both thoughts and feelings for yourself - is unlikely.

Those who invest themselves in what ‘others’ think and feel about them, or who think they have Self Esteem without truly finding their core strength often describe it as “feeling like an Impostor.”

So how do we reach that heavenly state? Can we do it on our own? Where do we find a guide to nurture us on the path?

The most important practices to cultivate to reach High Self Esteem include:

  1. Self-Awareness

  2. Self-Confrontation

  3. Self-Acceptance

  4. Asking Why

  5. Taking Action

  6. Making Commitment

Want to learn more about how to reach your highest level of Self-Esteem?

Give me a call.

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