Need a Boost? Holidays & Empowerment

twinsI‘ve just returned from a family holiday to Portugal that was over far too quickly.

Whilst we were away my twin daughters hit the magic
age of 18. As with any parent, there are times you wish you could do things without your children. But I’m still glad all three of my
children (the eldest is 21) still wanted to come on holiday with us.

If  left to me to organize we probably wouldn’t go anywhere. I enjoy having a break from everyday routine, focussing on enjoyable activities and the increased company of family or friends. But having not travelled greatly when younger, I’ve always viewed the organization and “getting there” with trepidation.

For example I’ve never hired a car when overseas and would be the first to admit that the main reason is a lack of confidence. Its only recently I’ve ever hired a car in the UK, never previously having reason to. But its amazing how easily we can create invisible barriers around us through a lack of confidence in trying something new.

And whilst my children are happy to go on a family holiday, all three have organized overseas trips for the summer – with friends rather than parents!

6 Pillars of Self Esteem

Before going on holiday I started working through the book  6 Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. Here is an overview of the principles he calls pillars:-

Self-acceptance: Being willing to experience whatever we truly think, feel, or do, even if we don’t always like it. Facing our mistakes and learning from them.

Self-responsibility: Establishing a sense of control over our lives by realizing that we are responsible for our choices and actions at every level – the achievement of our goals, our happiness, our values.

Self-assertiveness: The willingness to express appropriately our thoughts, values, and feelings – to stand up for ourselves. To speak and act from our deepest convictions.

Living consciously: Paying attention to information and feedback about needs and goals. Facing facts that may be uncomfortable or threatening. Refusing to wander through life in a self-induced fog.

Living purposefully: Setting realistic goals (given an honest awareness of our strengths and weaknesses) and working to achieve them, rather than living at the mercy of chance and outside forces. Developing self-discipline.

Integrity: The integration of our behavior with our ideals, convictions, standards and beliefs – acting in congruence with what we truly believe is right.

As I have said before, its frustrating that any book that is written to help people make changes is presented as a “book” rather than manual – you tend to read it  like a novel rather than stop to do the exercises.  That said,  I have only got as far as the first pillar,  Living Consciously, as I have been trying to follow Nathaniel’s  directions to the letter.

Expanding on living consciously, he says  it’s:-

to seek to be aware of everything that bears on our actions, purposes, values and goals and to behave in accordance with that which we see and know… monitoring our actions relative to our goals..   the art of self noticing

The technique he encourages you to use to increase your self consciousness, is sentence completion. At the beginning of the day complete sentences such as:-

If I bring 5% more awareness to my activities today….

then at the end of the day:-

When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5% more awareness to my activities….

Just setting aside time to do these exercises (there are 6 sentences to complete) is difficult. I will give more detailed review in a future post (committing myself to finishing the book!), but I cannot say I have found it easy – or as yet productive.

Describe Your Empowerment Stance

empowerRather than dashing out to buy 6 Pillars of Self Esteem, you may be better served by trying to find your Empowerment Stance.  This article, written by Jeanie Marshall, is a good example of how to organize information to enable people to do things – rather than just read and pass on.

Within the article Jeanie has placed a 3 minute audio – listen to this first as it gives a great perspective on how creating an Empowerment Stance Description can help pull you back into a position of feeling self confident. As Jeanie puts it:-

This self development technique will help you to remember, or perhaps more accurately, will provide you with a path to lead you back to the feeling of empowerment and self confidence, or any other feeling you want to feel.

As is made clear in the audio, describe yourself when you are feeling truly empowered, full of self confidence and enthusiasm. WRITE THIS DOWN. The article goes into questions to ask yourself to help describe and pin down how you are feeling and what dynamics are happening within you.

Jeanie finishes the article looking at how particular words can reinforce the Empowerment Stance Statement. Don’t be put off by the word “empowerment” – as a technique to build self confidence its quite simple. It comes down to being able to recall feeing confident at moments when that confidence has evaporated. And at the moment it does seem a lot simpler than Dr Brandens sentence completion technique!

Lower photo by taubuch on Flickr

Evan April 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm

I wonder about the empowerment stance for those feeling depressed and that they don’t ever feel empowered. For others though it sounds like a great thing to do.

David April 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm

I agree Evan, if anyone is clinically depressed a technique like this won’t have any positive impact, may even exacerbate a low mood by reinforcing how bad they feel. Thanks for your comment.

Reima April 7, 2012 at 12:32 am

Link to 6 Pillars of Self Esteem doesn’t work… anyway, thanks for sharing article by Jeanie Marshall, it is really awesome and seems she is real proffesional, maybe not like Steave Pavlina but I will try to reade her other articles, once again – thanks for sharing! 8)

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