By Bill Hodges

©2000 Hodges Seminars International

Oscar Wilde wrote, "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." It would be great if we all had sufficient self-esteem to really love ourselves—not in an egotistical manner—but rather have a quiet confidence in our own judgment. We should not only be pleased with who we are but have a good notion of who we can become. Keep in mind that simply my satisfaction with who I am is not a reason for me not to strive to grow and become better.

Building self-esteem in yourself or someone else is not a project that will be completed in two weeks, two months or two years. It is a project, once started, that will take a lifetime to complete. It is, however, a project well worth the time. During a luncheon recently, Jim, a young father who had been in one of my seminars, related the following story to me.

Jim told me that his six-year-old daughter, Jan, was devastated by his divorce from her mother. As children often do, she felt the divorce was caused by something she did. To make matters worse, his wife had moved and had little contact with Jan. Jim said that he thought of his daughter during his time in my seminar, especially when I talked of self-esteem and how important it is for us to make a special effort to nurture it in the young. That night, he decided to try one of our self-esteem building techniques to help Jan. I believe very strongly in the effects of self-talk—if you tell yourself good things about yourself, your mind will strive to become those things. Jim picked one of my favorite affirmations (self-talk) to share with Jan. He asked her to say the following words out loud to herself 12 times every morning while she looked at herself in the mirror. "I am a good and worthwhile person. All those who meet me today will be better off for having met me." He also asked her to use a slightly revised version of the affirmation 12 times just before she went to bed, again while looking at herself in the mirror,. This time she would say, "I am a good and worthwhile person. All those who met me today are better off for having met me."

Jan has been going through this ritual every morning and night for almost two years. Jim tells me she is one of the most happy, healthy and self-confident eight-year-olds one would ever have the pleasure to meet. Jim gives the affirmation credit for helping to turn her life around; it planted the seeds of good self-esteem. I don’t doubt the affirmation did have an effect upon her life, but I am absolutely sure that a caring, loving and supportive father like Jim had a lot to do with it as well.

As an aside, you might be interested in knowing that Jim also repeats these affirmations every morning and every night. He said that hearing these words first thing every morning helps to build him up and they comfort him every night. I think you will agree it sounds like a good way to begin a great day and for that matter, end one. Why not give it a try?

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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