When we don’t like ourselves, we settle for seconds in jobs and relationships. Outwardly we say “I matter, I’m important,” yet when we look at our lives we see ourselves stuck in jobs we hate and relationships that are abusive. And abuse is not just physical. Often it’s easy to become accustomed to emotional and mental abuse, because we don’t see the lingering physical scars, but the effects of emotional and mental abuse are just as damaging in the long run.
Mental, emotional, and physical abuse eats away at your self-esteem. And if you’re living a lie, not only is there abuse, but there is guilt and shame, too. Allowing people to speak to you in a way that is inappropriate (whether in public or at home), turning the other cheek when your spouse or companion has an affair, or allowing someone to take advantage of your in business because you’re afraid to speak up are all forms of abuse.
How can you love yourself when you tolerate such behavior? There are always excuses for staying in unhealthy relationships and jobs, but after a while the excuses stop working and you’re challenged to take action on your own behalf. It’s an esteemable act to walk away from unhealthy jobs and relationships.
So what can you start to do today to turn things around? Take out a journal and make a list of the jobs you’ve had over the last five years. What did you like about each one? What did you not like? What about your present job? Do you enjoy what you do? Why? If not, why not? Why do you stay in a job you hate, what’s the payoff? How does staying in a job you don’t like move you further away from self-love?
Now turn your attention to you relationship and make a list of the most important ones in your life today – for instance, your list might include your spouse, mother, father, teacher, manager, and sibling. Answer the following questions: Describe the kind of relationship you have with each of them. Want do you like most about them? What annoys you the most? How does each relationship make you feel good about yourself? How does each relationship make you feel bad about yourself?
Self-esteem is contingent on what you are willing to do to nurture it. How are you demonstrating self-love in your life?
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