“You have a choice regarding the facets of your self-image & level of self-esteem. It’s like shopping in a department store with unlimited credit. How would you like to gift yourself?”….Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht
I address the workshop about the above quote. In other words, what works for you & what doesn’t? In order to know what you want, first, you have to complete a self-evaluation or assessment.
THE ART OF SIMPLY NOTICING
We want to bring the beast out into the sunlight where we can study it in detail. We cannot change what we cannot see. Like anything else, we need to become fully aware, really getting to know this part of ourselves.
Through keen observation, you will become acutely sensitive to the fact that you are not your inner-beast, but rather his/her observer. This is KEY in order to change. If not, the self-image & esteem become like coats that can’t be unbuttoned.
As your awareness develops, you will begin to enjoy yourself more & more in your everyday life. Certain characteristics of the beast will begin to stand out. He can appear as your best friend but left to his own devices, he can make you miserable. He will promise happiness, but lead you to periods of intense anxiety, sadness, anger & eventually emptiness.
You will start to observe that the beast has a very complex scheme of rules, regulations, shoulds & ought to’s. He’ll quietly tell you that if you don’t do what he tells you, no one will love you, that you must be number one, you must strive for perfection, you should not show anger, you should be grateful for everything & anything because basically, you are undeserving. In addition, you should submerge yourself in self-doubt & worry. He will ardently keep you thinking in the past & future, as far away as possible from the real world & the present moment.
BEAST BELIEF SYSTEMS
The beast or negative self-esteem has some strange ideations that are woven into his belief systems. These are presented to you as truths. Here are a few examples.
Your true self is unlovable; fast is good & slow is bad. To show sadness is to be weak or childish or unreliable or overly dependent. Nice girls don’t enjoy sex & certainly, nice girls don’t show that they enjoy sex. Asking for what you want is selfish. Showing anger is sinful, childish, unprofessional & totally unacceptable. Something terrible is going to happen. Men are better leaders than women. Worry has value. Anxiety has value. Guilt has value.
BRINGING THE INSIGHT HOME
I ask the group to think about their own beliefs that have been presented as truths by their beast-in-residence.
Taming the beast is simple, but not easy. Becoming aware or learning to pay attention to your thoughts, thought patterns & habits is a good beginning. The art is to simply notice & not to get involved in thinking about what you are noticing.
How does one do this?
You might like to practice with inanimate objects to get a real feel for the process. Choose any object in your view. Pretend that you are a camera & carefully study the object from all angles. Pretend that you have never seen it before. Examine the shape; how does it feel; what about the texture; how does the light hit it from different angles? This is the way you want to begin to look at your thoughts & judgments.
These are focusing exercises or exercises in concentration. You may find it easier to do them in a quiet place with few distractions, but once you learn the process, they can be done anywhere & anytime. An interesting & useful side-effect of these exercises is a feeling of peace or relaxation, exactly what your beast will despise. Learn to go slowly & take your time, becoming more aware of just what is going on in your mind. The beast will attempt to distract you
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but realize once again that this is just the nature of the beast & you must persist through this if you want to win.