A powerful exercise to build your self-esteem
Self-esteem and confidence are simply states of mind. That means we have the power to improve our esteem by changing our state of mind. I’ll share several techniques with you in this and the following blog posts. Let’s start with one of my favorites. I’m including it in our discussion of self-esteem but really, this will help you in many areas of your life.
This exercise can help you gain a new perspective on your situation and generate the emotional state you need, whether that’s self-esteem, confidence, bravery or courage--anything!
Imagine you have three mentors. (Some prefer the term ‘guardian angels’, but either is fine; whichever feels best to you.) These can be people you know and respect, or fictional characters who embody certain traits you want to develop, or they can be people you admire but may never have met, such as Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa. Choose people who you imagine would know what to do in your situation. For example, if you were having problems in your business and needed to be confident, you might select Sir Richard Branson as a mentor, as he knows a thing or two about self-confidence. If you need to deal with a health issue, choose a mentor who is a shining example of health and vitality--Marie Curie, for example--or someone who you believe knows a lot about your condition.
I often use my dad for this exercise. Although he passed away over 15 years ago I still “consult” him on various things where I need his advice. This may seem strange, but when you know someone as well as I knew Dad, or know the ‘myth’ around a certain personality, it’s amazing how easy the advice arrives from that person.
Napoleon Hill, author of the famous self-help book Think and Grow Rich, relates his idea of consulting ‘invisible counsellors’. Toward the book’s end he talks about the sixth sense and how we can access ‘infinite intelligence’ through this technique. He even states, ‘On scores of occasions when I have faced emergencies, some of them so grave that my life was in jeopardy, I have been miraculously guided past these difficulties through the influence of my “invisible counsellors”’.
Whether you believe in this idea doesn’t really matter, just try the technique if you are struggling to muster the self-esteem and confidence you need. Choose mentors who might be famous for their confidence, or who you trust implicitly, and ask them for their advice. It doesn’t matter if they are real or fictional--just do whatever works for you.
Let’s get started.
- Get yourself in a calm, relaxing place.
- Think of a challenging situation or a change that you want to make in your life. Imagine a circle on the floor, just in front of you.
- Now think of three people, animals, or imaginary beings (guardian angels, etc.) that love you or you’ve called upon to support you in your endeavours.
- Have them all stand next to you so you leave the circle in front of you empty.
- Imagine yourself stepping ‘into’ the first mentor and view yourself. What words of support would the mentor say to you? What resources does that mentor have that they could share with you to help you?
- Now step into the circle and bring your mentor with you, along with their words of wisdom and resources.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 with your other two mentors.
- Once you’ve finished the process, your circle will be full of messages of support and internal resources such as self-esteem and confidence you are ‘channelling’ from your mentors. If it helps, you can imagine them placing their hands on your shoulders as an expression of unity and strength.
- Now think about your challenge or the thing you want to change. Feel the strength and the resources you now have in facing this challenge. You’re more robust and ready to go!
The great thing about this exercise is that you can use it whenever you need to. You don’t have to go through all the steps, but you can imagine and call in your mentor or mentors when you need them to help you grow your own resources!
Using your imagination in this way forces you to shift your perspective, and you may just come up with some useful insights. There doesn’t have to be anything mystical or ‘woo-woo’ about it. At its simplest all this technique does is allow you to stand in someone else’s shoes for a moment, and from that vantage point you may see a way forward that you couldn’t see before. It can be a very powerful and easy way to get past negativity and fear.
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