4 Ways to Unlock Self-Esteem & Boost Your Happiness

Dec 13, 2019

Be Merry & Still

December always brings mixed emotions, though I love Christmas. I know that it also can trigger many emotions with many of my readers, some of which are sadness from loneliness or missing someone you have lost. For that reason, my focus has been on a value that I cherish especially during the holidays. It is learning to be still and to just be with emotions without judgment. When I do that, doors of God’s love open, giving way to peace and joy. All month I’ve sought ways to share ‘just be’ moments where stillness is honored, and joy is nurtured.

Advent, a season of reflection and being still is one that I have a vague memory of growing up. For a long time, Christmas made me feel both excited and anxious, not just because of childhood memories, but because of the extreme pressure we put on ourselves to make the holidays perfect.

Often, we get so wrapped up in all the Christmas activity, that by the time Christmas day comes, we are exhausted, never mind feeling like somehow, we’ve missed the true meaning of Christmas.

This month my holiday short stories introduced Cassie in The Perfect Christmas, whose need to be the perfect mom, kept her from receiving the love, peace and joy she had been seeking for years. When an accident left her briefly in a coma, Cassie discovered that true love includes imperfection and that by embracing her imperfections, she could accept herself fully.

Love is everlasting but includes the imperfect parts of our lives. Cassie finally discovered and renewal, self-esteem and happiness.

As a busy woman myself, here are my 4 ways to help you boost your happiness and unlock self-esteem during the holidays:

1. Devotional reading: Find your favorite cozy chair, grab a cup of tea and take timeout to seek words of inspiration and encouragement. Devotional readings in the quiet of the morning can prepare you for the day and strengthen your heart and mind. When this becomes your morning ritual you expand the opportunity to reflect on your spiritual growth and be thankful for God’s faithfulness. Devotional reading and prayer are great sources of comfort and consolation. This is the hope of Advent. The CANDLE OF HOPE in the first week of December is lit and we take a moment to sit still by the candle of hope and let it set fire to your heart. Be still. Invite the Spirit to shine God’s light in your life and help you see the many ways God’s light is all around you. Then to allow the light to shine through you so that you can shine the light of hope and encourage others.

2. Slow down:  Most people speed up during the holidays as they try to squeeze in shopping and everything else that must get done each day. Preparing for guest and decorating the house are all cherished traditions, but true hospitality is about learning to receive as much as it is giving. Receiving gifts of love, peace, hope and joy in life come when we slow down during the Advent season to really enjoy the simple, little things each day as we wait for Christmas. Hospitality is best when you have taken the time for self-care and reflection. Then you are a hostess that has more energy and joy to share with your guests. Preparation is also preparing the heart for faith. The CANDLE OF FAITH in the second week of December reminds us to have courage to take an action step in faith. Are you doing what God asks you to do for the betterment of the world we live in? A world that we would all love to see come into being. A world without fear. A world of peace. Can you imagine a world where there is no war? Many times, in life we sense a call to act without knowing the outcome, but just sensing that it is the right thing to do. That is our faith in action which boosts our happiness and gives us self-esteem.

3. Bake a little: You may not be a baker, but there is no time like Christmas to make cookies. and my childhood favorite…snicker doodles that lighten your day!  There are many household favorites from sugar cookies to gingerbread. My girls love to decorate cookies and we serve them to guests, bring them to school parties and church events. Baking cookies is always fun, but there is something about baking cookies at Christmas that warms the heart and fills the stomach with love! So grab your kids, your spouse or a friend and bake! When you have finished your masterpiece tray, there is a sense of shared joy and love. In the third week, we light the CANDLE OF LOVE.

What does love look like? It looks like children decorating cookies. It looks like laughter in the kitchen. It looks like being silly with your spouse or best friend. It looks like sharing those cookies with an elderly neighbor. Love looks like Jesus. When we light the candle of love, we remember that God’s greatest desire is that we choose to love. God desires that we practice responsible love, that is, ABLE TO RESPOND kind of love. We need to be responsible in our walk with God, and one another. Love can respond because God first responded to our need for everlasting love. When we are able to respond with love, it brings happiness…and boosts self-esteem!

4. Allow for imperfections: I know, I know…you want the house decor and your party plans to be perfect. Trying to make all things perfect will do just the opposite. Something will not go right, and you will feel discouraged. My house has three messy girls in it…two tots and a teen. Can you imagine how stressed out I’d be if I worried about the perfect décor? What I have found is that I can create small areas of my home to be perfect while the toys are spread out everywhere and the baby has thrown food on the floor for the 100th time. I can have both my favorite table setting and the clutter from the kids at the same time. Perfection allows for imperfections. Just like perfect love is everlasting and embraces our imperfections. When we allow for imperfections, we increase our happiness and boost self-esteem because we realize that we are loved fully—warts and all! Finally, in the fourth week, we light the CANDLE OF JOY.

As Advent winds down and we anticipate Jesus coming, not only in the birth of a tiny baby, but the coming of love in our hearts. We are not left alone, but Immanuel (God with us) is reason to rejoice. Joy is never dependent on us, but on what God has done for us. Appreciating the simple things helps us to stop striving for more and start enjoying what we have been given.

Giving birth to ourselves means receiving the love and peace that is always available to us at any time. When we learn to just be with ALL of who we are without judgment, then we make space for new life within. This is how we unlock self esteem and the ability to feel good about ourselves.

On Christmas, we light the CHRIST CANDLE. An everlasting flame of hope, faith, love and joy that when we receive it each day, brings us full circle to the reason for the season: Jesus whose birth, life and death shows us the way of peace.

All four devotional thoughts of Advent are ways we hold fast to faith and discover that the real magic of Christmas is giving birth to ourselves so that we can make the world a little better as we share love with others.

Thank you for joining me this month, and as we round the corner into a new decade 2020, I am excited to continue to share ways to stay in the light of love with a new short story…Love Paints the Way. You will meet Rebecca who finds the courage to leave her glamorous life and the city lights of Boston for a brighter light and slower pace in a small, quaint town in Vermont. While visiting Vermont, Rebecca rediscovers a passion far deeper while on retreat in a cabin in the woods that leads her to finding unexpected love.

See you there!

Love,

Lindsay Marie

 

 

 

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