Jonathan Hooker

Self-Esteem Practice Worksheet


Eye Contact

Avoiding eye contact is a common way for many of us to avoid having too much contact with people. Or avoiding eye contact may have become a survival mechanism for us.

Avoiding eye contact deprives us of good natural contact with those around us, and sends out signals that we do not want to have contact with them. By holding eye contact we receive a much more satisfactory level of engagement with those with whom we are dealing.


Start to observe to degree to which you do hold eye contact, and what it feels like. (Also note the reaction you receive from people when you hold the eye contact compared with when you do not). You can practice with partners and/or friends, just looking at each other and holding eye contact to see how long is comfortable, and whether it feels better to talk during this practice.

Observe Your Emotional Reaction To What People Say To You

In an ideal world we would each of us know that we are perfect. We are all born perfect and exactly as we were intended to be. We receive the expectations of those around us, and by the age of around six we have gained a view as to whether we are generally okay or not, based on their expectation and not on how we truly are, which is still perfect. So we have a list of taped messages telling us we are not perfect, and a belief system about ourselves that reflects these tapes. 

When someone tells us something that really hurts, the reason it hurts is because we agree with the criticism, however much we may not want to, but we cannot help it because it resonates with the taped messages we have received, and so their criticism is something we believe is true of ourselves. If someone criticizes us in a way which we totally disagree with, it feels totally different. We may even just shrug it off and say ‘I wonder what their problem is’. 

So if we feel totally great about ourselves, others cannot hurt us with words. When we understand this we can see that every wounding remark gives us an insight into how we feel about ourselves. So every hurtful remark is useful information about our own belief system.


As humans we are not only aware, but we are aware that we are aware. That is important because it gives us the ability to observe ourselves. It means we can be talking with someone and watching and listening to the conversation at the same time. With practice we can become better at this and begin to see when we get upset or hurt, and tune in to the remark or dynamic that triggered our reaction.

This is part of the process of owning everything. When we recognize that we are responsible for how we feel, and we actually choose our own reaction through a series of unconscious reactions, we can begin the process of becoming aware. As we see ourselves reacting to others and their actions and remarks, we can begin to own more and more of how we respond, and make increasingly conscious decisions about how we react. We may observe that someone’s remark hurts, but choose to think about it and react as if it doesn’t. We may have a very specific goal for this exchange. We may choose to stay on course and pursue the goal and achieve it, when someone was trying to goad us into a confrontation, and take us off-course and away from our goal. This is the process of living with awareness.

Being More Authentic

Often we have been told to cheer up, or not to be down. Sometimes we can feel down without even knowing why. If this happens quite often, it seems appropriate to seek some insight into what is going on.


Find somewhere to be alone and undisturbed and sit comfortably in the quiet. Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Allow yourself to have whatever emotions come up in that moment. Take time to acknowledge each by scanning your body and really feeling them. What is its nature, and what physical sensations accompany each. What is your breath doing, don’t alter it – just observe it. What is your heart doing? How is your neck, head, forehead, back, chest and so on? What is happening in your feet and calves and knees and thighs? Then calmly let go of as much thought as possible and ask for help. What is this about? What is going on to cause this or these feelings? Just be open to whatever comes into the space in your mind you have created to receive this insigh

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