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When a Truck backs over your Self-Esteem

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Fortunately self-esteem is not static but a living, breathing entity -- at times amazing similar to a coral reef. These beautiful structures are formed by minute coral cell secretions (events) that across time take the shape that we are familiar with -- some to wither and die, or conversely, grow to a point where they alter the very currents that make up seas and oceans.

Our reef -- self-portrait -- emerges in response to myriads of events , continues to evolve and respond to the environment to give shape and definition to that which we are. And like the Great Barrier Reef self-esteem is sensitive to the fierce storms, disasters, and toxic elements yet is resilient enough that somehow most of us manage.

This video is a short introduction to the topic with some suggestions and thoughts...

Published in: Self Improvement
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When a Truck backs over your Self-Esteem

  1. 1. When a Truck Backs over your Self Esteem By James Spruell A Series on Self Esteem
  2. 2. C. Kay Allen, a family counselor and former Bishop, summarized ‘self-esteem’ with a simple observation, “Every day, including most Sundays, I see people who want to be loved and to love themselves but who really aren’t doing very much to merit love.” “And they feel terrible—lonely, cynical, or helpless.” C. Kay Allen, (1979) "Where Self-Esteem Starts", Ensign, Feb. 1979, 60
  3. 3. The University of Texas CHMC has put together a pretty good list the elements that contribute to a child’s self- esteem. Those that contribute to a positive self-esteem include such items as: Receiving affection and attention from a care-giver; Positive affirmations that acknowledge and reward success; Being listened to and spoken to with respect; Conversely, events that contribute to low self- esteem: Physical and emotional abuse; Harsh criticism, ridiculed or teased; Language that conveys that losing a game, a poor performance, etc. doesn’t reflect the event but the person; Self-Esteem (2013). University of Texas Center for Counseling and Mental Health Center. Retrieved August 16, 2013 from http://cmhc.utexas.edu/selfestee m.html
  4. 4. Possible ! But change is External events, e.g., harsh childhood criticism Internal events, e.g., an internal voice that says “I can’t” Empathy and Love that replaces love missed as a child
  5. 5. Can love fix What the doctors couldn’t? Fortunately, the brain can un-learn the messages of a harsh childhood or poor start to life. In a Harvard study -- the Grant Study -- researchers followed the lives of 267 individuals across 75 years to determine what made the difference in those who lived successful, happy lives. The overwhelming finding is that lives can change and love is a key ingredient Vailant, (2013) In a 2013 article George Vailant uses the life of Godfrey Camille, a study participant, to illustrate their findings. Barely 10 years into the research Godfrey was described as “intractable and unhappy hypochondriac” that on a scale of A to E on future personality stability …scored an E. Vailant, (2013)) From: Creating an Extraordinary Life: Breaking Through the Abyss
  6. 6. Can love fix What the doctors couldn’t? His childhood revealed a ‘bleak’ history – bottom rung of the ladder. And although Godfrey might have appeared to be a prime candidate for total disaster he endured a defining moment – really a defining year – that changed his life forever. At age 35 he spent 14 months in a hospital with pulmonary tuberculosis, and discovered that somebody, several somebodies, cared about him. Vailant, (2013) From: Creating an Extraordinary Life: Breaking Through the Abyss Godfrey Camille demonstrated that learning to love others, and in turn be loved, could re-wire the harsh messages of his youth. The interpretive style and signature response of “intractable and unhappy hypochondriac” was transformed to productive and active adult who passed away at age 82 while mountain climbing in the Alps. Vailant, (2013)
  7. 7. Can love fix What the doctors couldn’t? Vaillant notes that Godfrey’s experience is similar to many others in the Grant study – warm intimate relationships trumped all other factors in determining who had happy lives. IQ, family histories of alcohol and depression, socio- economic status were …irrelevant. Relevant was empathy, warm caring family relationships, mothers who cared, etc. Vailant, (2013) From: Creating an Extraordinary Life: Breaking Through the Abyss George E. Vailant, (2013) What are the Secrets to a Happy Life? Greatergood.berkeley.edu Retrieved August 13, 2013 from http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_are_secre ts_to_happy_life
  8. 8. Can love fix What the doctors couldn’t? From: Creating an Extraordinary Life: Breaking Through the Abyss Godfrey Camille illustrates that the cycle of despair experienced by many can be broken! For example:  Empathy and love can replace harsh messages learned as a child to preventing or replace internal voices that say ‘I’m not good enough’;  Life skills can be learned that rewire signature responses from ineffective to successful approaches;  With a and b in place, history of experience can be built that says ‘Yes, I can do this’.
  9. 9. From: Creating an Extraordinary Life: Breaking Through the Abyss Change is possible! For example:  Personal competence  Love therapy –Growing our empathy bucket through service to family, church, and others;  Everything else  Challenge the inner voice that says “I can’t” and realign internal guidance;  Resolve to break the cycle and forgive all;  Use all the resources available including complimentary assets. Self-esteem
  10. 10. Amazon.com Learn more about self-esteem in Creating an Extraordinary Life: Breaking Through the Abyss www.JSpruell.com Available on

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