It was the year 2000, I was dying to be perfect, and I didn’t even realize what I was doing, how I wanted to be a teacher, I was so ashamed to have low esteem.
One of my artist friends stopped me, she said, “You need to meet yourself!” When she said that to me something shifted in me. She held up a mirror in front of me and told me to look in the mirror. She said, “Pari You should be jealous of yourself. You are so gutsy, you’re hardworking and you’re resilient. If you could meet yourself you might really like her.” But as quickly as she painted the image of me, it was gone as quickly. I was totally confused. I see myself embarrassed, unlovable, and awkward. I loved the image that she had created.
I wanted it back, so I set out this journey to find myself and try to become that person. So eventually I landed myself a job in summer camp working with teenagers.
My job was to create a program for teenagers to help them develop their personality. Which of course was ironic because I myself was trying to develop a better version of myself.
I started to wonder how we could create our own self-esteem. Could we build it ourselves? I did a little research and learned that self-esteem is based on how we think of ourselves and not what others think of us. We shouldn’t let other people’s negative comments bring us down. They do not know how capable you are.
I knew that we had the ability to control our thoughts, so I thought that YES, maybe I could actually start to develop my own self-esteem and at the same time, help these teenagers. I wanted to begin this process in the first session I had with these girls and boys. I had no idea what to do. I haven’t done this before or had this responsibility, so I was totally making it up as I go. But that’s how you learn sometimes in life, so I decided I was going to ask each girl and boy to say one thing that they were proud about or liked about themselves.
We were going to test out these ideas to start building positive thoughts about ourselves.
- Practice Awareness of thoughts - When you have positive thoughts turn up the volume and when negative thoughts come out just press delete in your brain. Let it magically disappear and it works. The idea of stepping outside of ourselves so we could see ourselves better.
- Write a few things about what are you proud about?
- I am gutsy.
- I am proud to work with these children
- I am smart.
- I take a wise decision.
- I like that I am different.
- I am resilient.
- I am unique.
- I am talented.
- I am calm
- I am amazing
- I am a good artist.
- The practice of living consciously- You should actively evaluate your action, words, decision. And deliberately making choices of your values and your truth.
- The practice of self-acceptance--- Improve what you can change and learn to accept what you can’t.
- The practice Self Responsibility- To take responsibility of your choices and behavior of positive and negative outcome rather than blaming yourself or others.
- The practice Self-assertiveness- being Self- assured and confident, being unapologetic about giving your opinion and being 100 percent authentic about yourself.
- The practice of living purposeful- Like an entrepreneur is having high self-esteem as a modern day warrior. Just like a warrior who has strong sense of purpose and lives to conquer, so does the entrepreneur. He has higher self-esteem because he lives with a purpose.
- The practice of personal integrity- My inner voice that matters the most.
Things started to change after two months of walking taller, they were kinder to themselves they were kinder to each other. I started to change too. It was like they showed me I could rewrite my story. It’s not about being safer, but to be important. Important to our selves.
Always spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. Turn up the volume of positive thoughts and delete the negative ones.
Tell people around you what you like about them. Make them feel good about themselves. Show your gratitude when you receive a compliment and say “thank you”.
And that would be the beginning of your story.