Self-esteem

The Transformative Power of Reading

Transformative Power of Reading

(Photo Credit: Black Christian News Network)

One of the most powerful ways to awaken, develop, strengthen, and renew your inner intellectual is through reading substantive pieces each day. When you read substantive works, your knowledge grows, your imagination becomes broader, and your capacity to dream elevates. Reading permits you to not only discover many or most of the answers you seek, but also it enables you to formulate the right questions, questions that will lead you to a better, more interesting, and more successful life. This intentional focus on your inner intellectual will pay true dividends in enhancing your self-concept and naturally and ultimately your self-esteem.

When you read quality material, material that relates to your interests, aspirations, and search for answers, your purposeful reading will serve as a strong defense against negative factors affecting and influencing your self-concept and self-esteem.

Reading substantive literature, such as slave narratives, allows for you to place the challenges, barriers, and problems you face in their proper context. When you read slave narratives, you will learn about individuals who persevered and triumphed in impossible conditions—conditions much more difficult than you will ever be able to imagine. These stories about how American heroes and heroines endured these impossible conditions will inspire you to continue to strive for success—even when success falsely appears unlikely and barriers seem like they will never be conquered. Look for the strategies, values, principles, and thinking that led to those individuals’ success. Find ways to incorporate what contributed to their success into your own life.

Use your school library, public library, and the internet to find books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals. One of the greatest investments you can make in yourself each day is to read something that is going to support your interests and place you further on the path to achieving your goals. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t waste a moment in self-doubt. Expand your knowledge, expand your horizons, expand your imagination through a commitment to reading meaningful books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals.

A commitment to purposeful reading every day is one of the most powerful ways of strengthening your self-concept and self-esteem. With this commitment, your mind becomes occupied with self-advancement, pursuing your interests, and meeting your goals.

Let books and articles occupy your mind, limiting the amount of time for condemnation, peer pressure, and self-doubt to discourage you and halt your progress.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

10 Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem

Man Crying

(Photo Credit: The Telegraph)

Numerous people can benefit from a significant improvement in their self-esteem. When you have low self-esteem or unsatisfactory self-esteem, don’t be ashamed; take steps to boost it. You possess the authority necessary to take control of your life. A healthy self-esteem is essential for a healthy life to materialize. Recognizing how important a strong self-esteem is to a productive and fulfilling life, this piece offers ten tips to aid you in strengthening your self-esteem.

1. Take Charge of Your Own Life. This is your life—choose what you want it to do for you. Make life submit to you; don’t allow it to dominate you.

2. Accept the Notion that You Are Responsible for You. When you claim responsibility for your life and are able to own your failures and celebrate your successes, you place yourself on the path to a healthier self-esteem.

3. Reject Those Committed to Destroying You. Surround yourself with people committed to building you up and advancing you. Disconnect from those who consistently attempt to undermine and attack you. Refuse to allow your friends and family to destroy you with their words and actions. If necessary, separate yourself from them.

4. Speak Positive Words to Yourself. People with an unproductive self-esteem constantly speak negative words to themselves. Their thought-life is consumed with self-defeating thoughts and images.

5. Take Calculated Risks. If you’re going to reach your full potential, comfort zones must be eradicated. Comfort zones kill dreams; comfort zones extinguish passions; comfort zones limit possibilities. Never permit the fear of failure to prevent you from tackling a challenge.

6. Discontinue Comparing Yourself to Others. Focus on yourself. Become the best version of yourself possible.

7. Love Yourself. You will never experience true happiness and joy when you fail to love yourself.

8. Be Trustworthy and Loyal. Let your words and actions prove you to be trustworthy and loyal.

9. Win with Grace, Lose with Class. Be a great winner and lose honorably.

10. Be a Giver. Being an authentic giver fills you with joy and dismantles the elements that compose low self-esteem.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison    

Truth Should Never Hurt

Truth

(Photo Credit: Match Stic)

We live a world where far too many people do not embrace truth. Many people love to run from truth and make excuses about it.  When you fail to face truth candidly, directly and willingly, you will find yourself living a life saturated with problems. Most of those problems are self-imposed. One of the fundamental reasons why people feel that truth hurts is it does not change. You should not let it hurt you, however. When you present someone with truth, it will not change simply because he or she is your friend or family member; truth is truth—no matter who does not like or agree with it.

If people would invest more time in working to ameliorate the phenomena truth exposes that are wrong in their lives, then they would have a significantly less antagonistic relationship with truth. Instead of getting angry with someone who provided you with a substantive critique full of truth, accept the revelations of truth to place you on a path to experiencing dramatic progress.  Don’t hate truth-tellers—hate the fact that you’re not a lover of truth.

Those who have serious self-esteem problems or low self-esteem are often individuals who have the most challenging time confronting truth. As a means of avoiding truth, they will engender false identities and realities to attempt to palliate the often unsettling realities of truth.

Learn to accept the things you cannot possibly change and work passionately to change those you can. You have to realize complaining each day is not going to enhance your life.

Too many people love to laud themselves as being “real” and champions of truth. When you are an authentic person and lover of truth, you never have to say this yourself―others will do it. Most of the folks I’ve witnessed presenting themselves as “real” and champions of truth are complete phonies. They use multifarious deceptive characterizations of themselves to try to avert attention from the true toxicity of their facades.

Again, truth should never hurt. If you ever feel that truth hurts, then this indicates that you need to change your relation to truth. A misguided and unhealthy relationship with truth can be destructive. You can live a more liberated and victorious life when you allow truth to reign.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Keep Squares Out of Your Circle

You’re responsible for the people you allow to be in your circle.  When you’re constantly frustrated about the people you choose to accept in your circle, then you deserve to be frustrated—you have no one to blame but yourself.  Keep people around you who are going to help you to progress.  Don’t attempt to disassociate with individuals who are going to hold you accountable to high standards and who offer you substantive critiques you need to hear.  Too many people cast away those who they should retain in their circle and discard those they need to keep.

The people you have in your circle are going to play an instrumental role in your success and continued success.  If you’re a truly mature adult, you will deal with those in your circle in a straightforward way.  When you’re a mature adult, you will not communicate with them in third person and send indirect messages to them using various social media platforms.

Although it’s vital to surround yourself with positive people, this does not mean you should have a bunch of head nodding yes men around you.  You shouldn’t want the majority of the people in your circle to sit around in awe of you; you should want people around you who merit awe too.  Many people maintain a circle of friends and associates who aren’t going to threaten their weak self-esteem, but the truth is you need people around you who are candidly willing to tell you that you need to do something to ameliorate your low self-esteem.  While you don’t want someone who is persistently trying to maliciously attack you to stay around you, you should want people in your circle who aren’t afraid to offer you constructive criticism even when you don’t solicit it.

Arguing

Too often people are so concerned about associating with “rubber stamp” people that they don’t give much focus to the tangible signs revealing those individuals aren’t really their supporters.  The reality is when “rubber stamp” people hang around one another, especially all the time, it becomes nothing more than a futile competition between themselves.

While some people like to boast about having an extensive circle of close friends, the truth is you really don’t have but a few true close friends, and when you recognize this, you free yourself from a certain incapacitating ignorance.

Make an honest assessment of the individuals you consider to be in your circle.  If those individuals add no value to your life, then you may want to consider removing them for your circle—just make sure you’re not eliminating someone from you circle who refuses to accept mediocrity from you.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

The Spotlight

Spotlight

For many people, they have a great desire to be in the spotlight.  When many of these individuals get their chance to be in the spotlight they fail.  Many people are going to have to learn that they are simply not ready to have the spotlight turned on them.  Each time you have your opportunity to be in the spotlight and you keep failing while in it means it’s not your time to be in the spotlight.  Learn how to sit back and learn from others who are successful in the spotlight more before you try to claim the spotlight.  Some people will have to face the harsh reality that the spotlight is simply not for them.

You also have to understand that having the spotlight all of the time is not necessarily a good thing.  Some people are embarrassing themselves in the spotlight.  The only reason many people have the spotlight is people enjoy laughing at how stupid they are performing in the spotlight.  What may be even more sad than this is many of these individuals don’t know that people are laughing at them, instead of laughing with them.  Don’t become so desperate for attention that you will be willing to do anything to get it.  Unfortunately, too many people are willing to go to extremes to get attention.

If you’re really worthy of being in the spotlight, you will not have to beg or force you way into it.  Most people who authentically deserve to be in the spotlight have an opportunity to be in the spotlight.  Of course, there are many well-deserving people who should be in the spotlight but are not in it.  Many people who do thankless work and who do charitable work go without the proper recognition they deserve.  It is people like those who do thankless and charitable work who need to be in the spotlight and not people who are engaging in a whole bunch of foolishness.

A person is really vain who says that he or she deserves to be in the spotlight, especially when no one else says he or she deserves to be in the spotlight.

Many people who are in the spotlight and have been in the spotlight can tell you that it’s not all good as you think it may be to be in the spotlight.  If you’re always chasing after the spotlight, you will live a completely empty life.  Chasing the spotlight means you’re constantly looking for someone to validate who you are.  You must learn to validate yourself.  Don’t always look for someone else to let you know that you are special.

Don’t get angry when people laugh at you when you force your way into the spotlight and were not ready for it.  Learn to be patient and wait for your opportunity to shine to naturally arrive.

People are not going to think you should be in the spotlight just because you are always speaking the loudest, always feel you need to be the one who’s talking, always feel the need to make a grand entrance when you walk into a room, and/or always saying ridiculous things on your Facebook page just to get attention.

To succeed in the spotlight, you must earn the spotlight.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Value of Your Funk: Part One

Too many people attempt to bury their imperfections, disappointments, vexing past, professional and academic inadequacies, physical shortcomings, mental imbalances, low self-esteem, failures, utter unhappiness, and all of the other things unpleasing to them. Those aforementioned things are what I call “funk.” All human beings are funky because no one is perfect. We all, therefore, are funky because of our inability to be perfect. People have to face the reality that their funk will always be present—there’s no escaping it. What can I do about my funk? You should never try to mask, hide, replicate, and ignore your funk. A significant number of individuals fail to understand their funk is valuable.

When you never deal frankly, boldly, critically, and thoroughly with the things about yourself and your life that are unpleasing to you, then you’re not only missing a meaningful opportunity to capitalize on the value of those unpleasing phenomena, but also you’re preventing yourself from being truly whole and liberated. You cannot truly be a whole and liberated person when you’re carrying life’s funk with you that you refuse to deal with in such a serious way that your funk is no longer a liability but now an asset. More people are going to have to deal with their low self-esteem or the problems with their self-esteem. Self-esteem problems are at the root cause of many of the important problems people experience in America.

People who are overly sensitive about the most infinitesimal phenomena reveal the disadvantages of living a life without an appreciation of the funk. Their self-esteem quandaries cause them to see their funk in only a negative light. Many people are constantly trying to hide from who they really are because of the fear they have of what people in their environment will say about them if they elect to be themselves. You will never prosper when you run away from who you really are. Moreover, you will never know who you really are when you never give yourself a chance to be real with yourself.

People know you’re phony when you always attempt to present yourself as perfect—like there is nothing in your past and present that doesn’t stink.

Funk stinks—face it!

Too many people are overly focused on doing and saying the things pleasing to those around them. They neglect the precious time each day presents to move closer to understanding themselves more and to engage in the critical self-examination necessary to becoming the best human beings they can be. When people are doing better than you, don’t let envy and jealousy consume you. The time you’re investing in being envious and jealous can serve you better if you devote it to working on your own progression. When you’re concentrated on your own progression, you will not have time to hate on others. You might find that you will become a happier person when you’re happy for other people doing well.

For the things negative things in your life that you’re responsible for, it’s time for you to own those things. When you try to transfer your funk over to other people, it’s still your funk, although an attempt to transfer your funk may result in others having to share the burden on your funk. Please, therefore, don’t make efforts place the encumbrance of your funk on others. If you’re miserable, don’t go around attempting to make others miserable. You’re miserable because you want to be miserable. If you’re miserable, don’t deny it—do something about it! Recognize that who you really are is someone special. However, if you don’t know who you really are, or have intentionally made yourself a fusion of multiple personalities to appease society (and your family and friends), you’re not special. In order to be special, you have to be willing to be yourself.

What’s wrong with being yourself? Nothing!

Muster the courage to handle your funk and you will live a better, freer, and happier life.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Own Your Frustrations

Don’t take your frustrations out on others.  If there are specific people causing you to be frustrated, then direct your anger toward those individuals—not everyone else.  You have to learn how to take control of your emotions.  Your emotions are your emotions.  Don’t force everyone around you to have to deal with your problems.  When you’re having an unpleasant day, you shouldn’t try to make everybody else have an unpleasant day.  We can learn a significant amount about ourselves when we begin to think critically about how we handle being frustrated.  Just because you’re frustrated doesn’t give you valid justification to make drastic decisions.  When many people get frustrated, they start to acting like it’s the end of the world.

You have to understand that things are not going to go well for you every day.  If you’re an adult and claim to be mature, then you shouldn’t have to be told that everything is not always going to go well for you.

It’s okay to be frustrated from time to time—being frustrated is a normal part of the human experience.  You shouldn’t be frustrated all of the time, however.  If you’re frustrated all of the time, then you need to seek professional mental health treatment.  People should not shy away from getting mental health treatment.  One of the fundamental purposes of mental health treatment is to empower you with the ability to be in more control of yourself.

Don’t allow a frustrating day to become a serious crisis.  You have to understand that some things will happen and you will need to move on from those things.  Sitting around having a pity party is not going to change anything about your frustrations—it will only make things worse.  It’s very unattractive for you to resort to the most extreme measures when you’re going through frustrating moments.  People will begin to think that it’s best for them to not be around you.  You don’t want people to isolate themselves from you simply because you fly off the handle every time you’re frustrated.

Learn how to handle your problems responsibly.  If you need assistance with conflict resolution, please seek professional assistance.  You may even find it useful to speak with mature and successful people around you who can give you counseling about how to better deal with conflicts in your life.  If you’re always overreacting to problems you have in your life, then there’s something truly wrong with you mentally.  It’s okay to admit that you have mental problems.  By admitting that you have mental problems, you can get the help you need to address those problems.

Again, we all have been frustrated before.  Of course, we all would love to never experience frustration.  However, we know that we can never eliminate experiencing frustration.  How we respond to frustration is much more important than being frustrated.  Acting responsibly and maturely when you’re frustrated can help you to develop into a better person and allow you to discover things about yourself you didn’t even know.

Make every effort to stay in control of your emotions. Stop overacting.  Live responsibly.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison