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20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem--page 2
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.

Step 2. Write Your Life Script

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What is a life script? Each of us has a set of beliefs about ourselves. Initially, these beliefs develop in childhood based upon how others view us and treat us. Some people view their life script as unchangeable: “I can't help it! It's who I am.” However, other people edit their life scripts. Sometimes they need to learn how to edit it (such as what you are doing now) and sometimes they edit it naturally. I remember as a child that I kept a list titled, “Never say or do this to your child.” I didn't realize at the time but I was creating a life script. I was making decisions about the type of parent I wanted to be. You are more likely to achieve what you want in your life by taking an active role in editing your life script rather than accepting without evaluation what you were taught about yourself.

writing

Developing better self-esteem requires editing. However, to edit a life script, it is necessary to first write the life script. This step will be difficult because it means writing down your current view of yourself. If your self-esteem is low, then this script may be quite negative. Many people will be tempted to skip this step as it can be very painful to see in black and white our view of ourselves. Others might want to not write it down thinking that they are quite aware of it. But writing it is necessary because there is something very powerful about an actual edit—crossing out and replacing words or adding different beliefs. If you do this on a computer, I would suggest you use the strikethrough feature when changing something and highlighting any additions. Later on, you can create a clean copy. But initially, the visual impact of the changes can be helpful in reinforcing those changes.

Also, keep in mind no matter how difficult or painful this step may be you will be editing this life script as you complete all of the steps. The discomfort you feel right now in writing it will change as you take the following steps. But it is necessary to write it down so that you can clearly see the beliefs you have about yourself and identify the areas of focus.

At the same time you may be pleasantly surprised to learn you also have positive beliefs about yourself included in your life script. Self-esteem is not a solitary attribute. Instead, it consists of many different aspects of our self-concept. Therefore, writing your life script can also be used to reinforce in your mind your positive qualities and beliefs about yourself.

Writing a life script means to consider all aspects of yourself. The following are some areas to examine and some questions to ask of yourself. There are no right or wrong answers. These questions are just to help you honestly examine your self-concept. This list of questions is not an exhaustive list but is to help you get started with writing your life script.

Competence.

  • How do you feel about your ability at work or in school?
  • Do you have talents? What are they?
  • Do you believe you can be successful in a work or academic environment?
  • Do you believe you have something to offer an employer?
  • How much effort do you put into the things you want to achieve?
  • How persistent are you?
  • Can you learn from mistakes?
  • Intimate Relationships.

  • Are you satisfied with your choices in relationships? Why or why not?
  • Do you feel that you contribute to the success of your relationship? How?
  • Do you feel able to attract a suitable partner? Why or why not?
  • Are you able to accept not having a love relationship? Or do you need a relationship to define yourself?
  • How do you feel about yourself as a sexual being?
  • Social.

  • Do you think other people like you? Why or why not?
  • How do you treat others?
  • Do you believe that you have something of value to offer friendships? What is it?
  • Do you require others' approval? If so, when?
  • Appearance.

  • Are you satisfied with your personal appearance? Why or why not?
  • Do you try to look your best?
  • Do you try to take care of your physical self? If not, why?
  • What are your attractive qualities?
  • How do you think others view your appearance?
  • Competitive.

  • Are you overly demanding of yourself?
  • Do you compare yourself to others? In what ways?
  • How do you view success? Failure?
  • How do you treat yourself when you fail? What do you say to yourself?
  • Do you have dreams? How capable do you believe you are to achieve those dreams?
  • What do you need to achieve your dreams?
  • Spiritual.

  • Do you have a sense of purpose that guides your life? What is it?
  • How do you believe you fit in the whole scheme of things?
  • What are your spiritual beliefs? Are you satisfied with those beliefs?
  • Do you own your beliefs or do you believe what you were told to believe?
  • Do you feel guided by your beliefs? Or do you feel burdened by your beliefs?
  • Creative.

  • Are you able to develop and pursue interests that are meaningful to you?
  • Are you swayed by others' opinions about your pursuits?
  • Do you try to discover the possibilities within you? If not, why? If you do, what are those possibilities?
  • Do you share your thoughts and ideas with others? If not, why?
  • General.

  • How do you feel about yourself overall?
  • Do you use negative labels to describe yourself? What are they?
  • Do you use positive labels to describe yourself? What are they?
  • What do you have trouble accepting about yourself?
  • What do you particularly like about yourself?

  • Index

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