Who are you? What do you think of yourself? When is the last time you really asked yourself those questions? Where do you go for the answers? Your own thoughts or what you think others believe of you?
Most of us look outside ourselves to determine our self-esteem and self worth. It then becomes a moving target – as long as people tell us what we want to hear we’re ok, but when they stop, then what?
In this episode, you’ll learn some concrete practices and exercises that will help you develop your own sense of self. There is nothing more important to work on than this as what we believe about ourselves sets the stage for everything we allow and don’t allow in our lives. Don’t miss this episode!
I am Andrea Giles and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
Episode Number 42: Self-Esteem
Hello and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal but to become the
boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves ever.
If you know there’s more freedom than the life you’re currently living, but
don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place. Stick around
to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks off. Is it
possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host, Andrea Giles.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hi, everybody. I’m so happy to be here with you today. So I have to say a
couple things, couple things before I dive in. First of all, I happen to be
looking for an email that I was expecting and I didn’t see it, so I went
and looked in my spam and there were so many emails from some of you that I
didn’t even know were there, I’m so sorry. And they delete after not very
long, and so I want to say to you, if you have sent me an email and have
not heard back from me, send it again, okay? Because I didn’t know they
were there. They went to spam. There were so many. So if you have not heard
back, I usually write back. Like I don’t know of any time I have not
written back. I love hearing from you. I love responding. So will you email
me again? And I will respond this time. So I apologize for that. Keep those
emails coming, and I will check my spam more often now that I know that
it’s an issue.
So I am coming at you today with a really bad cold. I’ve been pretty dang
miserable, and I keep waiting till I feel better to record this, and I got
to get it done. I have a wonderful podcast producer who is amazing, and I
need to get this to her so it can get to you on time. So you get to hear me
today sniffling and maybe sneezing, but I want to get this out to you.
Life events. In the last month, I’ve had two kids get married. I had one of
my bonus kids, my stepdaughter, Katie, she got married in April and then my
own son, my firstborn, got married last Saturday. I’ll tell you what, both
of them were really special. Both of them married people that they loved
very much and that their spouses really love them, and I wish them all the
best. But needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind of a month. There’s been a
lot going on. So anyway, I’m back home and hopefully things are going to be
a little more like normal for a little while.
Anyway, we’re going to talk about self-esteem today. There’s different ways
of defining self-esteem. There’s even different terms for it that I’m going
to talk about a little bit, different ways that we talk about self-esteem,
but I want to talk about, in general terms, what self-esteem is. What is
it? Where does it come from? How do we get more of it? What gets in the way
So self-esteem is exactly what it sounds like. It’s how we esteem
ourselves. It’s what we think about ourselves. It’s how worthy we think we
are. It’s how good we think we are. It’s how capable we think we are. Like
all of those thoughts that we have about our abilities, our lovability,
that’s how we esteem ourself. Self-esteem. Now, many of us, most of us,
look for how to esteem ourselves through others. We are mostly
other-esteemed. Totally made that word up, but it works for this, okay? We
look to other people to inform us of who we are, what we should believe
about ourselves, what we’re capable of, and we’re scanning all the time for
people to tell us who we are.
So I want you to take a minute and go back to your childhood. I want to
know what you were taught as a child about how to act around other people,
how to behave, what were good manners, what were not good manners. What
emphasis was put on certain behaviors or certain performances and I mean,
like, your performance? Like, what got all the praise? What got the
cringing? What happened if you got it wrong? What happened if you said or
did the “impolite” thing? And you can’t see me, but I’m putting that in
quotes. Because who says it’s impolite, right? That’s part of our
programming. Were you made fun of? Were you teased? Were you carefully and
lovingly taught or not?
The ways that we were responded to as children set the tone for how we
esteem ourselves, how worthy we think we are of praise, of attention, of
goodness, of love, all of those things. So something I see all the time in
my clients is a lack of a reference point to who they are as individuals
besides their roles or their jobs. So I get this, like I totally get this.
Like we think of ourselves as like, “I’m a mom. I’m a …” whatever
profession. We become so accustomed to those titles and those roles that we
forget that at the core of all of that, we’re actually an individual.
Last night, I had the opportunity to talk on a Zoom call with a wonderful
woman who’s a successful professional and she told me that she can’t think
of what she likes to do when she’s home because it’s been so long since she
has checked in with herself on that front. It’s like she doesn’t remember.
She doesn’t know what to do when she has time to herself. This comes from
esteeming things other’s want above our own wants. Wanting to be good at
our roles and jobs, but losing sight of who we are beyond those roles of
wife, mother, whatever. All of those roles.
So as I was preparing this, I was reminded of a movie that’s a throwback.
Maybe you’ve seen it, maybe not, but it’s Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts
and Richard Gere. In Runaway Bride, Julia Roberts, she gets engaged to
three different people and then at the altar she runs away. Hence, the
title Runaway Bride. Anyway, in this movie, with each person that she’s
with, whatever kind of eggs that person likes she says she likes. “I’ll
take what he’s having,” with each person and each like different kind of
eggs, these men. She says, “I like that kind, too.” Like, whatever he’s
having, that’s what I love. The character Richard Gere plays calls her out
on it and basically says, “You just do what they say because you don’t have
an opinion of your own.”
Anyway, in part of the movie, you see her with a whole like spread of
different kinds of eggs in front of her where she is tasting the eggs
seemingly for the first time, like really noticing the textures and flavors
and saying, “What do I like?” and then she decides, “This is what I like.”
“I don’t like this other kind of egg. This is what I like.” She was so
focused on the people around her and pleasing them that she was not paying
attention to what she actually likes. It’s just a silly movie, but I think
we do this. We look for other people to tell us what’s okay, what we should
like, what we shouldn’t like, and in an attempt to feel lovable and worthy
Now, another term that I really, really like that goes along with
self-esteem is self-concept. I really like thinking about that. When I
think about myself, I check in, “What is my self-concept? What am I
believing that I’m capable of?” When you think of yourself, what do you see
in your appearance, in your personality? Here’s a question: do you think
that the way that you perceive yourself matches reality? What do you think?
So one concern that I hear is what if I, like, practice esteeming myself
highly? Doesn’t that make me selfish? Doesn’t it make me arrogant? Doesn’t
that make me think that I’m better than other people? Absolutely not, and
this is why: when we esteem ourselves highly, we actually are much more
able to love. We’re in such a more abundant space that we’re not threatened
when other people around us have victories. We actually can celebrate more
holy with them. It’s like this thought of being, “I’m lovable and they are
also lovable. I’m capable. They are capable. I’m valuable and worthy as are
they.” Like, it doesn’t have to take anything away from the other person.
In fact, we are able to give more. Like the more we develop our
self-concept, our self-esteem, the more freely we give who we are. Like,
that’s where we get to let our gifts shine. That’s where we get to express
ourselves more fully as the amazing individuals that we are.
Now, the other side of the coin to this is narcissism. Now, narcissists
need to be higher or better than others to be okay. They can’t celebrate
other people’s wins without it, meaning that they are losing. For
narcissists, you can’t both win. If there’s a winner, there’s a loser. So
narcissism is loving yourself at the expense of another person. True
self-esteem is a gift to everyone around you because you’re more fully you.
You have more to give. You know what your gifts are and you share them. You
are more expressive. You give more freely to other people. You’re not as
afraid. The more we love ourselves, the more we can contribute.
So how do we grow in self-esteem? As silly as it sounds, some of it is as
simple as like doing what Julie Roberts did in Runaway Bride and really
asking ourselves, “What do I like?” My coach, Brooke Castillo, puts it this
way. She says: imagine that you are the only person on an island. There’s
no one else there. No one else is coming. If there was not another person
on the island, what would you do? What would you like? What would you want
on your body or not on your body? Would you dance? Would you sing? How
would you express yourself if there was no one there? Think about that. I
think it’s kind of fun to think about.
Another thing to think about is, in building our awareness of what our
self-esteem is and how other-esteemed we are, is this little exercise I’m
going to give you. I want you to get out a piece of paper and I want you to
write down all the things that you want other people to think about you. I
want you to really explore this. I want you to explore what you want them
to think about you. Like, do you want them to think that you’re
accomplished? What do you want them to think about your personality? I want
you to think about all the people in your life. Like, what do you want your
mom and dad to think about? Your children? Your extended family? Your boss?
Your friends? The school moms and dads? Your co-workers? Your church
leaders? Your employees?
It’s been interesting. Even making that list makes me a little
uncomfortable for myself because it’s showing me, “Ooh, I have a little bit
of work to do,” so I’m going to be making this list right along with you.
What am I thinking that I want people to think about me? It can be very
The next question is, why? Like, why do I want them to think that of me?
Like, what would be different for us if they did and what are we thinking
that we could then think about ourselves? Like, for example, let’s say that
you have this thought that when I get this promotion, then I will feel
worthy. Then I will feel smart enough. Then I will feel, whatever. If
somebody else told you those things, let’s say it is somebody that you
esteem highly, maybe you esteem them higher than yourself, and if they told
you, “Oh, you’re so smart. You’re so accomplished,” do you think you’d
believe them? Or, do you think you’d be like, “Hmm, they just don’t know.
They don’t know these different things about me or they wouldn’t think
that. They wouldn’t believe that.” Like, for example, let’s say that
someone tells you that, physically, you look great. What do we do so much
of the time? We self-reject. It’s not because we’re rejecting them; it’s
because we have a different thought about what we look like or what we
should look like and so we boot it out and can’t even receive it.
Okay, so step one is you went through and you wrote down what you want all
these people to think about you, and asking why do you want them to think
those things? Okay, now, step two is you’re going to imagine that you are
all of those things. You are. Like, you have the money, you got the job,
you got the body, you’ve got the relationships, all the things. What does
it mean to have a marriage that looks a certain way, a home, a job, the
right husband, the right number of children, the accomplishments? What does
it mean? Does it mean that you’re more worthy now? Does that feed it? What
do you think about you now? Do you believe that you’re accomplished and
smart now that those things are done? Now, why this exercise is powerful is
because it’s showing you what you think you need to achieve to prove your
own worthiness to yourself. I wonder what’s coming up for you when you do
this. It can be really eye- opening.
Now, step three sounds difficult, but I know you can do this. It’s the work
that I work on right along with you. It looks like this. You get to
practice believing those things now. You get to practice believing that you
already are 100% lovable and worthy and good. You get to already think
those things. You get to already believe that you’re capable. That you are
fun, whatever it is. That you’re smart. I’ve said this before, but the
thing with worthiness is this: you already have it. Nothing you ever do
will ever make you more worthy or more lovable.
Now, in the realm of infidelity and betrayal within their marriages,
oftentimes our self-esteem can take quite a hit because we take it
personally. It’s hard not to sometimes. It’s hard not to think, “If I only
were this and this or more lovable, more beautiful, more sexy, more blah,
blah, blah, all the things, then he wouldn’t have done these things and I
would have this family that I thought I had. I’d be more worthy, and I must
just not be as worthy. I must not be as good.” This is so faulty. It’s so
faulty, and it’s so painful, and it’s just not true. It’s just not true.
So one of the big steps in healing from infidelity is rebuilding your
self-esteem really intentionally. Really intentionally. Practicing new
thoughts. Practicing new beliefs. It’s believing that you are good, that
you are lovable. When we really believe those things, we show up
differently. We are more assertive. We ask more of others. We aren’t afraid
to make requests. We hold to our standards and values more truthfully
because we believe that we’re worthy of it.
Here are a couple thoughts to try on. I like to think of it like going into
a dressing room where you bring in a pile of clothes, you’re like, “Mm, I
don’t know about this, but I’m going to try it.” You try it on and it might
feel amazing, and you’re like, “Well, I had no idea this would feel this
good.” There might be another that might look like something you like and
then you try it and you don’t like it at all. That’s how it is with
thoughts. You got to try them on. You got to try them on. Like, think it
and go, “Can I believe this thought? Is there a part of me that can believe
this?” How you know is if you can feel it. Can you feel anything in your
body? If you can feel it, you can nurture it, and you can make it true.
Here are some fun thoughts to think, just for or fun. Try them on. I am
inherently lovable. My worth is fixed. I achieve the things I want because
I want to and not for the approval of others. I go after my goals because I
love being a person who grows, not because I need the approval of others.
Now, to wrap it up, I want to leave you with this. So, again, I learned
this, I heard it first from Brooke Castillo, but it’s so good I want to
share it with you here. She heard of a triathlon athlete who had competed
and done very well in many triathlons. One time somebody asked him what his
secret to success was and his answer is everything. He said, “I talk to
myself more than I listen.” What? What? I love that so much. Let me tell
you what I mean by that, what he meant by that. So if you think of like our
higher brain, that prefrontal lobe, that’s the adult in the room. Our lower
brain is the toddler in the room. That toddler is yakking at us all day
long, telling us all kinds of things. A lot of not helpful things. A lot of
garbage things, in fact. The prefrontal cortex is the adult in the room
that quiets down the toddler, and we can listen to that toddler who’s just
like running his mouth, right? Or, we can talk to ourselves from that
I talk to myself more than I listen. So instead of like tuning into that
chatter of the toddler, we are talking to ourselves and telling ourselves
what we want to believe on purpose. What do you want to believe? What do
you want to believe? What feels useful to you? Now, all of these things
will help you to develop a more solid sense of who you are. When you start
to feel more solid within yourself, things get interesting. We show up
different. We change our lives. We ask for the raise. We say no to things.
We say yes to things. We put our foot down. It comes from inside, my
friends. It comes from how you esteem yourself. It comes from how you think
you rank in accordance to other humans. If you rank yourself at a low
number, I challenge you to do some work around this; to ask yourself, what
is it that you want to think about yourself and why can you not practice
I have times sometimes where I’ll be playing with a new thought and I’ll be
like, “You know what? I’m just going to commit to this thought for like 24
hours. For the next 24 hours, I’m just going to think that I am,” whatever
it is, okay? And I practice being her. I practice being the version of me
that’s like, let’s say, like really … oh gosh, like really, let’s say,
really organized. Really organized Andrea, like she gets stuff done. She
like cleans up the clutter. She gets stuff taken out of her house. She
cleans out her car. She gets her kids to clean up their stuff. Like, she is
on it, that Andrea who’s just really organized.
Now, we tend to think about people, either you are or you aren’t, and I
promise you, that’s just a lie. Like there is no trait, no belief about
yourself that you can’t develop. Nothing. There’s nothing. So when you did
those exercises at the beginning of this where you’re writing down all the
things that you want people to think about you, you get to think those
about yourself today, right now, anytime you want. What if you just decided
to? Wouldn’t that be a fun game to see what happened when you tried those
thoughts on and just believe them anyway first without waiting for the
external world to give them to you? What if you give them to yourself
first? How interesting would that be? What do you think would change for
you if you just believe that you are worthy, if you believe that you are
amazing and lovable and just an amazing human? What would change for you?
How would you show up? Go do it, my friends. It’s your work to develop your
self-concept? I can’t think of a more important thing to do. When we
develop that self-concept, we let people see us and we become
unapologetically us. Is there anything better? I don’t think there is.
All right, that’s what I’ve got for you this week, my friends. I will be
back next week, hopefully, without the stuffy nose, and I hope that you’re
doing well. Again, if you’ve sent me meal and I didn’t respond, try again,
okay? I love hearing from you. All right, all my love. Till next time.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in-the-know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.