By Silver Rose
The Thrill of Mastery
I’d like to continue the discussion about self-esteem and talk about mastery and its impact on self-esteem.
Most of us don’t think of ourselves as masters and that is a shame because every single one of us has areas in which we are masters.
There are masterful data entry clerks, janitors, doctors, retail clerks, entertainers, telemarketers (I’m serious!), social workers, students, parents, secretaries, scientists, managers – pick any profession and there are people who have achieved mastery in that field.
We seem only to respect mastery when it is something very public. We admire Pavarotti and his magnificent voice or Diane Keaton and her brilliant acting. Yet all of us are masters of something and we are robbing ourselves of self esteem when we don’t acknowledge it.
There are few more pleasant experiences than being waited on in a restaurant by a server who is at the top of his game. I don’t care whether it’s Denny’s or The Ritz Carlton, the pleasure is exquisite. And yet, I wonder if the server at Denny’s enjoys or even acknowledges his mastery as much as the waiter at the Ritz Carlton who is well paid for his. Does the server at Denny’s know his own mastery?
Once you are willing to acknowledge your mastery you begin to grow your self-esteem. It is not conceited. It is not self-centered. It is simply an acknowledgement that you have a gift. And gifts are to be enjoyed.
Therein is what I see as a great source of low self-esteem. Those who suffer from it do not acknowledge their own gifts. Truthfully, they don’t even see them. They are invisible. Until we are able to acknowledge and enjoy our gifts, we remain in a cycle of low self-esteem.
How do you find out what your gift is? Ask yourself the following question: What is something I can do effortlessly and well every time?” I promise you, it is something that hordes of other people would find difficult and maybe even impossible. For many of you, there will be more than one thing.
Most of us discount our gifts. I first noticed this when I was raising my teenage foster daughters. They were troubled teens and I noticed early on that if they were good at something, they were convinced that everyone else in the world could do it and that it had no value. I have artwork from both girls that is incredible. Myself,
I cannot draw a stick figure accurately. Yet these two talented artists had difficulty understanding that their art work represented a gift they had been given and developed.
I’m going to tell you a secret. There is no greater thrill than fully experiencing your own mastery. It is delicious. When you are able to say to yourself, “I’m REALLY good at this,” and experience that understanding at a cellular level, it is as close to heaven on earth as it gets. It’s the same feeling you get when you notice the gifts of your loved ones. And shouldn’t you be one of your own loved ones?
It doesn’t matter what “this” is. It only matters that you acknowledge and celebrate that you are good at it.
When I was in High School, I suffered from low self-esteem. Like many teens, (I found out years later) I thought I was stupid, clumsy and hopeless. I can still vividly remember the THRILL I received my first semester of typing when I discovered I had talent in this area. Finally! Something I could excel at! I loved every second of it. Today, I type 100 WPM and am still enjoying it. My point is, that THRILL I experienced was the acknowledgement that I had a gift
A gift is thrilling by itself but it takes (1) acknowledgement and (2) celebration for it to be so.
By Silver Rose
On February 1st, I set a goal for myself to lose 25 pounds. There were a number of very good reasons for me to want to achieve this goal and to date, I’m well on my way having lost sixteen.
Here is what I’ve noticed. My self-esteem has risen considerably and not for the reasons I expected. Sure, I’m happy to look better but honestly, I was so good at hiding my excess weight that most people don’t even notice I’ve slimmed down. And sure, I’m glad to feel better now that I’m eating well and working out. But those are not the reasons for my rise in self-esteem.
I wish I could tell you this is an epiphany for me but alas, it is not. I have known for some time that setting goals and sticking with them until they are achieved raises one’s self-esteem. However, like so many of us, I carry the keys to improving my life and still try to open that door by crossing my arms, blinking my eyes, and hoping it will work like it does for magical genies. That’s why so many fad solutions sell so many books – we all hope for that one plan that will allow us to do whatever we want and still achieve our goals.
So what if we went on a living plan (similar to a food plan) that will build our self-esteem? What might that look like? What if all it takes to lead a happier life and attract self-esteem is to set and achieve small goals all day long such as:
· Getting up early enough to do what we want to in the morning such as exercise, eat a good breakfast, spend time with loved ones, etc.
· Planning enough time for our commute that we get to work on time, without stress.
· Identifying at the start of each day the top 3 things we need to accomplish in order to feel we’ve had a productive day, and then doing them.
· Setting and achieving a goal to take our morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks without guilt.
· Setting a goal to get home at a certain time and getting there. (You know you’ve been bad at this if your family says, “You’re home early. What’s wrong?” )
· Setting a goal to be at work when you’re at work and at home when you are home and not the opposite, and sticking to it.
The point is, in addition to striving toward and achieving new goals, you want to also take emotional credit for the goals you set and achieve each day as a matter of course. And celebrate the achievement! Too often, our focus is on what we haven’t done versus what we have. That would be fine if it weren’t for The Law of Attraction which says, “You attract what you focus on.” The longer you stay focused on what you haven’t done, the more things to be done you are attracting!
Now, maybe you think your self-esteem needs no improvement. That’s a little bit like humility – if you think you’ve got it, you don’t. It’s the same with strong self-esteem. Those who have it work to keep it and would never say, “This is good enough.”
If you’re looking for a reason to build your self-esteem, try this one: most stress is a self-esteem issue. The majority of stress comes from feeling out of control and like we have no say in what is impacting our lives. In other words, although most of us would never admit it, when we are stressed, we feel as if “the world is doing it to us.”
But if we are “doing it” to ourselves, if we lack the self-esteem and self-respect to achieve the goals we have set, how can we demand respect from the rest of the world? The Law of Attraction deems that impossible.
Set small goals. Achieve them. Celebrate. Attract more self-esteem. Set additional small goals (they’ll be a bit bigger than the last ones). Achieve them. Celebrate. Attract even more self-esteem. You’ll cast a wide net within which you will attract all the self-esteem you deserve.
By Silver Rose
Kindness as a Gateway
Attracting What You Want
I watched Dr. Wayne Dyer on PBS last night conducting his new workshop on the topic of intention. By the way, his work parallels mine completely and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of any opportunity to see him or read his books.
Wayne gave some information that will probably not surprise you but which you may find intriguing, as I did. He said that studies have shown that when a person receives a kindness, their serotonin levels go up. Seratonin is a hormone that acts as a natural tranquilizer and gives us a feeling of well being. According to Dr. Daniel Amen in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, “Depression, according to the simple bio-chemical model, is due to a lack of serotonin.”
Not only does the serotonin increase for the person receiving the kindness but it also increases for the person extending the kindness. It gets even better. If you witness a kindness, your serotonin level goes up, as well. It seems the old adage, “A good deed is a reward unto itself,” is true.
When you combine this information with the universal Law of Attraction which says, “You attract what you focus on,” it becomes very powerful to both extend kindness and to look for it in the world.
I started to think about this in the context of my own life. One of the phenomena I’ve been wrestling with since the death of an elderly relative two years ago is just how much I miss the act of caring for her and also for my two foster daughters who were with me at the time. It was hard work. There were many sleepless nights. There was economic deprivation. And yet, when I look back on that time, I was happier than I’ve ever been. I’ve often questioned why and certainly I had some ideas. I knew it had something to do with being of service. I understood that I was too busy to indulge in feeling sorry for myself. And I felt proud of what I was doing.
When I heard Dyer explain about the link between kindness and serotonin, it all made sense to me. Not only was I increasing my own serotonin by being kind to my loved ones but I was increasing theirs, as well. In turn, they were kind to me, creating a reciprocal effect. Additionally, I witnessed many people outside the immediate family who were kind to us all and it often brought tears of gratitude to my eyes.
I now see kindness as a gateway to attracting what you want. You see, the only reason we want what we want is because we think it will make us feel good to have it. Because of the way the Law of Attraction works, you cannot attract something that will make you feel good if you are feeling bad. There is simply no match; opposites do NOT attract, no matter how you try. Therefore, in order to attract whatever you want, it is imperative that you stay in a good mood as much as possible. It seems one of the easier ways to do that is to practice kindness and to look for kindness in the world. Your serotonin will naturally increase, you’ll feel good and you will begin attracting even more of what will make you feel good.
Indeed, when I was taking care of others, more of the things I wanted were coming my way. Now that I have all the time in the world to think about ME and MY needs, less of what I want is showing up. I knew it was the Law of Attraction at work but I was struggling for how to turn it around. Now I see the simple answer.
By the way, I want to ensure that kind acts include being kind to yourself. No matter how kindly you are to others, if you are internally “beating yourself up,” it won’t work. You must also practice random acts of kindness when practicing self-care. In fact, it is much easier to be kind to others when you are kind to yourself as a regular practice.
This week, make it your job to practice kindnesses. And watch the magic happen.
By Silver Rose
The Top 10 Ways to Prevent
Stress, Burnout & Chaos
I’ve been leading a teleclass (a workshop delivered over the telephone) entitled, How to Get More Done With Less. As always, we teach what we most need to learn. I’ve gotten just as much from leading the class as participants have received – maybe more.
During last week’s session, I presented the Top 10 Ways to Prevent Stress, Burnout & Chaos and the feedback was tremendous. People seemed to really like these reminders. And so, I want to share them with you. With a tip of the hat to David Letterman who invented this top 10 list format, here they are:
#10 Schedule leisure time & commit to it. There’s a reason it’s called “a break.” Use it to relax. Take a walk. Read a chapter of a book. Call a friend. But don’t use it to work. If you actually take some leisure time during the day – on your break and at lunch – you will find you are significantly more productive during the rest of your day.
#9 Look for reasons to laugh. Laughter is one of the greatest stress reducers of all time. I’m always intrigued by the statement, “A year from now, we’ll laugh about this.” I say, “Why not laugh about it NOW?!?” If nothing else, laugh at how dramatic you are being. In fact, when you’re having a fit because the copy machine is jammed, I want you to put the back of your hand against your forehead and, with a chuckle, give the martyr’s salute.
#8 Give yourself permission to enjoy what you are doing. It is truly okay to like your work, even if everyone around you is moaning and groaning. Often, we go along with the crowd to our detriment. You don’t have to be vocal about how much you’re enjoying your work. It can be your little secret. The more you enjoy your work, the less stress you will experience.
#7 Consciously slow down and breathe. I added this one to the list several months ago when I experienced the following: I was preparing for a trip. I was already packed and had plenty of time to spare. As I showered, I found myself frantically shampooing my hair as if I were in a rush. It was the Indy 500 of hair-washing. Suddenly, I became aware of it and said out loud, “WHAT are you DOING?!? Slow the heck down!” As I thought about it, I realized I do that about a lot of things. Do you? Do you automatically assume you have to rush? Has rush turned into the only speed you have? If so, slow down – and BREATHE!!!
#6 Relax your jaw. I learned this from Richard Strozzi-Heckler when he delivered a keynote address at a conference I attended. He was leading us through a body awareness exercise and, when he got to the jaw he told us that there is never any reason for your upper teeth to hit your lower teeth. I was astonished by this. It seemed wrong somehow but, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I have since practiced keeping my own jaw loose and I teach others to do the same. During a one-hour class I once delivered, a woman raised her hand at the end and said, “I came in here with a massive headache. When you told us about the jaw, I consciously started to relax mine. The headache is gone.”
Remember, the Law of Attraction says, “You attract more of what you focus on.” If the focus of your entire body, consciously or subconsciously, results in your being tense, what do you think you are attracting? That’s right – more things to make you even more tense!
It’s all about focus. Where do you want yours to be?
Next week: You will learn the final five ways to prevent stress, burnout and chaos and yes, the #1 way will be unveiled (so start practicing hearing a drum roll in your head.)
By Silver Rose
Where is your focus?
Sometimes we just forget. We revert back to old habits. I’m not sure why. I just know that, to my mind, one of the great mysteries of life is why, when we know what works and what to do, we just do not do it.
Take focus, for example. If you accept the premise of the Law of Attraction, that says, “You attract more of what you focus on,” then why would you focus on anything other than what pleases you? And yet, we do. I do. You do. Even Pollyanna had her bad days.
Today I am inviting you to take a long, hard look at where your focus has been lately. Hint: if you’re not sure, look at what is in your life. That will tell you where your focus has been.
If you are aware, on a daily basis, of how fortunate you are, then I suspect you’re living a good life. If, on the other hand, you’ve been preoccupied with all the things you do not have, then I suspect, you’re missing a good many of those things.
One of the wonderful benefits of writing this column each week is that it forces me to take a look at what’s going on in my own life. Lately, I’ve noticed that my focus has not been something that…well, shall we say, I wouldn’t be proud to tell you what it has been.
I found I had slipped back into looking at what’s NOT working instead of what is. And you know what? I noticed that a whole lot more than usual is not working. (As my kids would say, “d-uh!”)
So again, I invite you to take a look at where you are focused and read just. If your television was wavy and had poor picture quality, would you just sit there and suffer? Or would you adjust the antenna until it was coming in clearly? (Or, these days, call your cable company to do so.)
Life is like that television picture. You can either put up with what you are getting or you can decide to adjust your own antenna until you are receiving what pleases you versus what you can get.
Here are some things I have started to focus on. You have my permission to “steal” any of them and make them your own:
· Mornings: I celebrate the quality of the foundational things in my life such as: the shower I get to take every morning that feels wonderful, the fluffy towel I get to use to dry off, the toothpaste that tastes so wonderful as it cleans my mouth, the clothing I get to wear, and the breakfast that I eat.
· Work: How great it is to have work, a purpose for each day and a reason to get up.
I’m grateful for the transportation that gets me there. I love the tools at my disposal such as the telephone and the computer. I’m glad to have the talent to do the work. I’m delighted to have people to do the work with. My motto: “Adults made up work as an excuse to play together.” I am playing more.
· Evenings: I have a home to go to. I have entertainment there in the form of books, games, a stereo and a television. I have 2 cats waiting patiently for me (okay, they’re cats – they wait IMpatiently – or really could care less as far as I can tell!) There is food for me to eat. And it is warm. I get to retire to a cozy bed and I am safe.
· My life in general: Hey! No parents to tell me what to do! If I want to eat ice cream for breakfast, I can do it! Remember when you couldn’t wait for THAT to happen?
Mostly, I am grateful for the awareness to BE grateful. I know lots of people with many blessings who don’t know it. And I know many people with limited blessings who think they’ve got it all.
It’s all about focus. Where do you want yours to be?