Ending Emotional Pain: Self Esteem

Today’s Music Theme: Waiting For The End Linkin Park.  Great kickboxing song.

Letting go of emotional pain requires a mature sense of self esteem in an individual – and the use of the word “mature” is deliberate.  For the context of ending emotional pain or greatly reducing it’s control over your life, the concept of self esteem must be put to the test ~ the things that you believe about yourself and for yourself must be brought out in the open, talked through and reconfirmed or discarded.  For those of us who have ever been addicted to any emotion, human, substance or food, there is a real need for this clarity.  It’s easy to confuse the feeling that you have because of a substance with the feeling that truly exists in the world.  I had to really stop and think about this the day that my good friend Derek spoke of it.  I had never considered life without emotions.  He was deeply moved by a man who felt emotions for the first time in his adult life not long after becoming sober. It’s amazing what attachment robs from your life before you are even aware that it’s slipped in and made off with the good silver and all your jewelry.

Today is a robbing day of sorts that challenges my mature level of self esteem.  In the grief process, you’ll have “tidal wave days” in which those feelings of loss, abandonment, resentment, failure ~ whatever your state ~ will rush upon you like a wave to the shore at high tide, knocking you from your feet and unto the sand….or the rocks.  That’s okay.  Not being reactive to such a day is the maturity thing.  So I ask myself today “Who are you, Alison?”  Are you willing to give up your life for a feeling? Well…..I was.  I’ve grown up a bit since then by answering the questions below.  As the year changes date and the months slide away, seconds become hours and hours turn to days my pain grows more and more dim.  I gradually have begun to feel more like a whole and healthy human being, one worthwhile and not easily broken.  Mature self esteem tells me that I am unique and gifted, the only one like me.  I am able and capable, articulate and smart.  People are helped, lives are blessed and hope is flooded like light in the darkness when I’m around – it’s what I really care about.  I love to love the world.  Love…there is my self definition.  There I find the esteem in which one can hold Alison ~ she loves with all her heart, gives her whole effort, does the best she can.  It’s not to impress or to gain anything, really…it’s just how I want to live life.  All in, no holding back.  It’s like the best zip line in the world to feel the rush of life come at you when you’re all in.  No boring here.

Mature self esteem isn’t just a process of sitting and talking to yourself.  Today was tough on me, so I got as organized as I could, then made lasagna for 65 people…and lots of other stuff.  Hosting a banquet tomorrow for the school along with members of the community council.  It’s way cool to be included, and I had the chance to pray over each of them on my way to Anderson.  I made calls and set some things in motion….then drove back home.  In that hour, I identified  how my feelings were still leading me strongly through the day, that hopeless ache that one gets in grief.

So you want to end emotional pain, and there you are in the day, still struggling with tears and feeling lost?  I can empathize.  I went to the gym as soon as I returned to my hometown.  Workout to Linkin Park’s 1000 Suns, Lady Gaga and Lee DeWyze, then on to tan.  At home, hot shower for the juber sweaty session, this posting and the wrap up of Sundays’ sermon.  Up next: girls’ night out with my baby girl in prep for her birthday party rocking our early afternoon Saturday.  Will I feel better?  Yes…and here is why.  I also stopped at the Candle store and purchased a few gifts for people who have worked so hard this year at school – staff people that we don’t often remember in our rushing about.  I wrote out cards to three pastors that I appreciate, people who need to know that they’re part of a greater community that loves them, a family.  When I ache over my loss, I give everything I can to other people who ache too, just to encouage a smile, a moment of relief.

All the nice stuff aside, I have to tell you that your gym teacher was right – getting up off your duff and  is important to your future.  Moving helps me feel better, even if it is a round of golf (I am horrible at golf, but I love it) or a walk with my daughter and her bike.  Move when you cry. Move when you hurt.  Wash your dishes, clean your house, buy into something that is productive.  Letting go is like taking your valuables and removing them from the hands of a klepto – attachment will steal your time.

I read this list somewehre (sorry, no cite for this one) and had copied it for my own use.  Maybe it will help you too.  The keys to self esteem are pretty simple – remember this though.  The quality of your life is based on the quality of your questions.  DO NOT start with the whiny “Why?”  There is no point.  It’s now about how or when you’re going to be healthy and free, not why something happened in your world.  Do not be a prisoner of your past.

So we ask….

1.  Who are you?  NOT who that person/thing made you ~ no one makes you anything.  You are you.  Who is that?

2.  What do you need in your life?  Write it down.  Be specific.

3.  Of those things that you need, what is imperative?

4.  Is your current life supporting what is imperative?  How and why?

5.  What do you have to beleive or change about yourself to make your dream state a real state?

6.  Do you believe that it is possible for you to grasp the beleif set that makes your dream state a reality state and make it your own reality?  Can you let go of doubt and insecurity?

7.  What does your current emotion tell you?  What else could it mean?  Give it a drama free label, and really investigate it.  What do you think that it means for you, not for anyone else.

8.  Smile.  Really.  For no reason at all, think of everything that you’re grateful for – and smile.  Keep smiling.  Look in the mirror and say “I love you,” into your own eyes…and smile.

Here is a list of “things to do” that I copied, as mentioned earlier.

Increase self esteem by…..

1. Learn a new skill instead of dwelling on the skills you never mastered.
2. Change your perception—see the root cause as a blessing in disguise.
3. Cry it out. According to Dr. William Frey II, PH.D., biochemist at the Ramset Medical Center in Minneapolis crying away your negative feelings releases harmful chemicals that build up in your body due to stress.
4. Channel your discontent into an immediate positive action—make some calls about new job opportunities, or walk to the community center to volunteer.
5. Use meditation or yoga to bring you into the present moment (instead of dwelling on the past of worrying about the future.)
6. Make a list of your accomplishments—even the small ones— and add to it daily. You’ll have to let go of a little discontentment to make space for this self satisfaction.
7. Visualize a box in your head labeled “Expectations.” Whenever you start dwelling on how things should be or should have been, mentally shelve the thoughts in this box.
8. Engage in a physical activity. Exercise decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, chemicals that improve your state of mind.
9. Focus all your energy on something you can actually control, instead of dwelling on things you can’t.
10. Express your feelings through a creative outlet, like blogging or painting. Add this to your to-do list and cross it off when you’re done. This gives you permission to shift your focus after the activity.

Okay, folks who are my daily readers, let me hear from you all around the world.  Feedback is gooooood.

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