self esteem

An Exercise on Self Esteem: Where Does Your Self Esteem Come From?

Of all of the groups I attended throughout my recovery, one of the most groundbreaking was on Self Esteem.

the frozen orange society

Self Esteem has always been a slippery slope, with too many questions and grey areas. Why is it that at times we are capable of balancing our self esteem? Why are there other times when, no matter how hard we try to mask it, we find it unbearable to hide our insecurities? And what does “balancing self esteem” even mean? When we project confidence, is it skin-deep? Or is it only on the surface?

Most Importantly… the question of the day…

Where Does Your Self Esteem Come From?

I had quite the awakening during my last Self Esteem group at the Walden Eating Disorders Program. After an open discussion, it dawned on me WHERE I WAS LOOKING FOR SELF ESTEEM.

Here is how I found my answer…

Exercise On Self Esteem

  • Think about the last time you truly felt good about yourself. Why did you have self esteem at this moment? What are the factors that made you actually feel confident?

    • My answer to this question was when I bumped into my ex boyfriend in Nantucket. When he saw me, he began to flourish me with COMPLIMENTS – “you look so thin” and “you look so classy.” He also portrayed a sense of jealousy. I was getting hit on by other men. All of this was flattering and boosted my confidence. Basically, my ex ,and the men who were asking me out, validated my self worth. 
  • Reflect on how much you Depend on External Validation – friends, family, strangers –  for your self esteem.

  • Reflect on how much you Depend on Yourself for your self esteem.

    • Before you answer this question, make a list of all the things YOU DO, personally, that actually builds your self esteem.
  • Finally, remember the most recent episode where you felt depressed. What was it that triggered your depression? Was it YOUR feelings? Or was it the judgments from external factors?

My eating disorder was a tool used to perfect the Image other people had of me. It wasn’t used to perfect the image I had of myself – I was never satisfied with who I was no matter how hard I worked at it. Inside, I hated me, but I didn’t want people to see that. This was a breakthrough – the time when I realized my very first lifelong “core belief” of ‘worthless incapability.”

Therefore, all the pain and obsessiveness with my exterior – my body, my clothes, my Facebook wall – was used for VALIDATION from OTHERS.

My Self Esteem Came From External Validation.

Core Beliefs are like magnets. They forcefully attract all evidence that supports the belief. Ex. “I feel worthless, therefore I will selectively digest only that.. that makes me feel worthless.” – Human beings naturally tend to seek confirmation of core beliefs, and reject contradictions of core beliefs (like when you receive a compliment and reject it).

Unfortunately, like turning the magnet around, your core believe rejects ANY EVIDENCE that contradicts the belief (like selective hearing lol). 

People tend to seek confirmation of a core belief and dismiss contradictions or challenges to their core belief. The next time someone gives you a compliment… Take note of your response. Did you accept it? Or did you reject it?

Begin your practice of awareness and mindfulness. It is possible to change these negative core beliefs. Positive affirmations WORK… Even if you don’t believe them at first. Fake it till you make it! They will soon stick. What you say becomes a belief, and what you believe becomes a reality! 

Don’t forget to post your results of the exercise in the comments! And reach out if you need any help or guidance! 



Xoxo, The Frozen Orange Society


2 thoughts on “An Exercise on Self Esteem: Where Does Your Self Esteem Come From?

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