‘Embrace your Difference’ at American Institute

Ms. Garner speaking to our students and staff in West Hartford

Ms. Garner speaking to our students and staff in West Hartford

February 19, 2014, West Hartford, CT – On Wednesday, American Institute invited author, therapist, life coach, and motivational speaker, Venice R. Garner, to share tips and strategies for building self-esteem and motivating yourself with our students and staff in West Hartford. Ms. Garner shared 12 tips to help with self-esteem, including:

  1. Stop comparing yourself with other people. There will always be some people who have more than you and some who have less.
  2. Whether speaking about your appearance, your career, your relationships, your financial situation, or any aspect of your life, avoid self-deprecating comments. You can’t develop high self-esteem if you repeat negative phrases about yourself and your abilities.
  3. Accept compliments with a ‘thank you.’ Rejecting a compliment is a message to yourself that you’re not worthy of praise, but it is so easy to brush a compliment off with ‘It was nothing’ instead of accepting it.
  4. Use affirmations to enhance your self-esteem; write out a positive statement such as “I am a valuable, lovable person and deserve the best in life.” on a business card or index card and keep it with you. Repeat it frequently and allow yourself to feel positive when you think it.
  5. Take advantage of opportunities to build self-esteem and motivate yourself, whether it is workshops, books, etc. Whatever material you allow to dominate your mind will eventually take root and impact your behavior, so be sure it is positive.
  6. Associate with positive, supportive people. When you are accepted and encouraged, you feel better about yourself and are in an environment that allows you to raise your self-esteem.
  7. Keep a list of your successes – even if others might view them as ‘minor’ (like learning to skate, graduating from high school, etc.). Read this list often, and use it as an opportunity to recreate the feelings of satisfaction and joy you experienced when you first achieved each success.
  8. Make a list of your positive qualities – are you honest? Unselfish? Helpful? Creative? Be generous with yourself and write down at least 20 positive qualities. Again, it’s important to review this list often. Many people dwell on their inadequacies and then question why their life isn’t turning out like they would like it to. Start focusing on your positive traits and you’ll be more likely to achieve what you desire.
  9. Give more. When you do things for others, you are making a positive contribution to the world and you begin to feel more valuable, which in turn lifts your spirits and raises your self-esteem.
  10. Get involved in work and activities you love. Self-esteem thrives when you are engaged in work and activities that you enjoy and make you feel valuable, whether it is a hobby or your primary career.
  11. Be true to yourself. Live your own life, not the life others may have decided is best for you. If you are making decisions based on getting approval from others, you aren’t being true to yourself and your self-esteem is lowered.
  12. Take action! Don’t sit on the sidelines, get going and strive to meet the challenges before you. When you take action – regardless of the ensuing result – you feel better about yourself.

Kim Colbert, Campus President, shared, “Ms. Garner’s message today about building self-esteem was really perfect for our student body. Many of us struggle with self-esteem issues on a daily basis, affecting the ways in which we deal with life’s crises and how we are or are not able to move forward and find success in our lives. Building self-esteem and gaining self-confidence are such important aspects of taking on a totally new career and training for that career. Ms. Garner spoke about several strategies for building up one’s self-esteem, and I believe her message was loud and clear, and exactly what our students wanted and needed to hear.”

Ms. Garner shared a personal story about how a guidance counselor in her high school had advised her to get her GED instead of completing the regular diploma after a particularly tumultuous freshman year due to some severe health challenges. She was able to turn that into motivation to overcome her challenges, and ended up not only graduating but going on to get two bachelor degrees from Lincoln University, PA in Journalism and Human Services, and received her Master’s In Clinical Social Work Degree at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work. She even published her first book of poetry, “Because I am Different” at the age of 21!

She has also launched a website (www.EmbraceYourDifference.com) to support and encourage others in their journey. Ms. Garner, a Bronx, NY native, and had this to say about today’s visit, “Coming to the American Institute today was refreshing and delightful! The students there were very reflective, asked good questions and gave good feedback. The environment was warm and inviting, and the message of positivity seemed to pass through everyone. I hope the students received as much out of the message as I did speaking with them.”

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