Honor Thy Self

Q: I am a 38-year-old African American woman who is married with three children. I work part-time and attend school. My goal is to be successful and become an entrepreneur. However, I am tired of being my own enemy. I know that some of us are lacking in many things, which might prohibit us from reaching the top. I want to make a difference by starting with myself. I would like to be coached on how to enhance my self-esteem, handle stress, and difficult people.
— K. Morrisn, New York

A: As a mother, wife, student, and worker, you have much to be proud of. Albeit, it may seem overwhelming at times, taking an active, healthy role in the lives of others means you are valued. Now, it’s up to you to take a step back and do the same for yourself.

Begin by practicing self-nurturing basics like getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Also, reward yourself for your accomplishments. For example, when you complete you next level of training in school, take yourself out to dinner.

Next, ask family and friends for support. And the next time someone pats you on the back for a job well done, revel in it … don’t dismiss it.

Finally, seek the advice of a professional. The National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.gov; 301-443-4513) offers clinical trials, books, and links to mental health specialists. Also, read Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem by Marilyn J. Sorensen (Wolf Publishing Co.; $19.95). Remember, acknowledging the problem is the first step on the road to recovery. You are on your way!