9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #7

September 11th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

How loving are you with those around you?

How you treat others will affect how you feel about yourself as well as greatly impact the quality of your connections with people.  Notice what you focus on in others—is it their faults–what they are doing wrong—or what you love and appreciate about them.

A simple loving comment to someone in your life–can improve how you feel as well as positively affect their mood as well.  Make it a practice to share appreciations with people throughout the day—everyone you meet share something you appreciate about them and watch the joy you feel as well as the joy you will spread to them.

You can be a beacon of light to those you connect with—so let your light shine and share your appreciation today.







9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #6

September 6th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

One of the exercises that you can practice to raise your self-esteem is to practice being gentle with yourself.

Instead of putting pressure on yourself or having expectations of perfectionism–lighten up and be gentle.  This energy of being gentle will make your inner world lighter and more loving.

You will begin to relax and be more authentic–be more “you”.  This inner shift will also help you to be more gentle with those around you—which will open the door for a closer connection.

Today practice being gentle with yourself.


9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #5

September 4th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


What happens inside of you when you get a reaction from someone that you perceive as negative? How you react will affect how you feel about yourself.  Carmen was talking to a good friend of hers and she sensed that he was irritated by something—right away she went into self-judgement–she thought “He must be upset with me–he must think that I am being very demanding” she felt awful when she thought this–but it was an automatic reaction.

It reminded her of when she was little and her Mom would be mad and irritated and took it out on her. She learned to take responsibility for her Mom’s upset—Mom must be right—I am bad.

Now Carmen is an adult and developing a Loving adult voice inside of her–once she catches this self-judgement she can move into compassion with herself and say “Honey we don’t know what is going on with our friend—it probably has nothing to do with you–we are not responsible for his feelings–let’s just check in with him and see what is going on.” She did check in with him and the irritation she thought he was in was something else that he was feeling and was not related to her at all.

So next time you perceive a negative reaction from someone–first move into compassion with yourself —reassuring yourself that you are not the cause of these feelings in the other person. Then you can move into the intent to learn with the other person and find out what is going on for them.  By doing this you  will prevent yourself from going into needless self-judgement of yourself–causing yourself unnecessary pain and eroding your self-esteem.

9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #4- You Are Much More Than You’re Conditioned to Believe

August 30th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


I was working with a client this week and I talked to her about remembering the immense strength and gifts of her Spirit. We talked about remembering that no matter what the situation is–she is capable from the perspective of  her Spirit to handle it.

I had her envision her Spirit expanding and extending beyond the bounds of her body–becoming very large. I said “This is who you really are—this large, capable, talented, wise, compassionate, creative, smart Spirit—with accumulated knowledge and wisdom that is beyond what your earthly perspective might lead you to believe.”  I said “We are much more than we have been conditioned to believe–and it is important to remember the truth of who we really are and act from that.”  She had been able to have glimpses of experiencing who she really was and now it was time for her to claim it and live this more consistently.  I suggested she use this visualization to help her connect with who she really was when she felt small and doubtful about her own capabilities.

By connecting with this she will respond to situations more creatively and authentically–feeling like she is an empowered leader of her life than a helpless victim of what is happening around her.

Claim who you really are and take action from your expanded Spirit— this is who you really are!

9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #3- When You Really Get How Wonderful You Are, Your Life Improves

August 28th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

I think the issue of low self-esteem is HUGE for people. Everyone I work with needs to do a lot of work around this issue.  The good news is that when you really get how wonderful you truly are—your whole life improves— because self-esteem affects everything–it affects how much good you allow into your life.  The phrase “How good do you allow your life to get?” is more of a function of a belief that you really deserve a wonderful life.  The good that is wanting to come into your life can only flow to the extent you allow it to flow in.   The better you feel about yourself–the more good you will allow into you life.

The interesting thing with Self-Esteem is that the wounded part of us—the part of us that absorbed negative messages and conditioning as a child is very devoted to the status quo.  This means that we have gotten used to the negative messages and the low self-esteem–this can feel familiar to us.  Moving into the truth—which is that we are an amazing, magnificent person with tremendous worth and potential—stretches us out of our comfort zone.  Without even being aware of it–we can keep ourselves locked into low self-esteem by the choices we make that are in alignment with this low-self-esteem.  An example of this I see over and over is when people go to make the decision to attend a Workshop.  They have the initial excitement and they want to attend—then the old conditioning can take over and come up with a million and one reasons why they shouldn’t attend.  It is the fear of the conditioned self—of moving out of what is familiar into the territory that is new—it is the unknown.  This conditioned self is very compelling and many people listen to it—and they continue to stay stuck—not even knowing it was there own choice that is keeping them there.

One of my “I am Fabulous ” Workshops, there was a woman who said she wanted to attend—a day later she called and said she had a real busy week and would be too tired to attend.  I saw that this was her conditioned self and encouraged her to attend anyway—stating that the Workshop would be energizing for her.  She attended and had a huge breakthrough that completely changed her life—she has been the happiest and most peaceful she had ever been since the Workshop.  She was so close to not coming.  She would have missed out on the very thing she needed to grow to the next level.

So watch yourself when you make decisions–make sure that you are making decisions that are what you really want—that are moving you forward—rather that decisions from your conditioned self that are going to keep you stuck in old patterns.

Make decisions that are in alignment with your true priorities.  Back what you want with positive action.


9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #2- Self Talk

August 23rd, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


What is your self-talk like today? If you are feeling happy and peaceful your self-talk is probably positive and supportive.  If you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, guilty etc. etc. your self-talk is probably filled with self-judgement.

Many people routinely engage in self-judgement and aren’t really aware that they are doing it. It can be so automatic and regular that it is invisible.

The best way to start to tune into your self-talk is to monitor your feelings. Your feelings will give you pretty accurate feedback if you are being loving or unloving with your self-talk.  If your feeling good your self-talk is positive and on track– if you are feeling bad it is an indicator that there is some negative self-talk happening inside.

See if you can move into curiosity with your feelings—let’s say that you are feeling anxious—ask the anxious part of you–“Why are you so anxious?” —the anxious part of you may reply “I’m feeling so anxious because you are telling me that I made a stupid comment in the meeting today.”  Now that you are conscious of what is happening you can move into dealing with this self-judgement.

You can move into a Loving adult space with yourself and talk to the part of you that is self-judging and say “I’m sorry that I said that you made a stupid comment—you actually added a lot to the meeting—you did just fine with the comment you made—you have a lot of good ideas and I am glad we shared them.”  This statement is more supportive on the inner level and will create a sense of peace and security—in turn opening you up to more creative ideas.  The self-judgement stifles creativity and creates immobilization.

Love yourself today by using loving, supportive self-talk.





9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #1 Tune into your Feelings and Needs

August 21st, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


One of the exercises to build self-esteem and self-worth is to stay in tune moment by moment with what you need to do to be loving with yourself.  Most people have their antenna turned to the outer world–scanning what other people are doing–how they are reacting and responding to what they are doing.

They then make decisions based on this outer information--making choices to try to please the people around them rather than tuning into what they really want to do.


When I work with clients I suggest that they shift this antenna away from the outer world and inward to tune into their own feelings and needs. Once they tune into their own feelings and needs they can then ask themselves “What is the loving action I need to do for myself right now?”  Asking this question brings in information about what what be most loving in that moment.

Once the client gets this information the next step is to take action on it.  For example if they asked what was most loving for themselves right now and what popped into their mind was to rest—then they would take some time and rest.  If for some reason they couldn’t rest in that moment they would make arrangements to rest at some point during the day.

The consequence of doing this throughout the day is that you would be attending to yourself at a very deep level, moment by moment. This kind of attentiveness to yourself creates a sense of being loved by YOU.

We love ourselves by being loving to ourselves.  We show our love by our attentiveness and responsiveness to our own needs.  We are the only one who can do this for ourselves—because we are living in our own bodies 24/7.

So for the rest of the day experiment with this–continue to keep your attention inside of you and ask “What is the loving action that I need to do for myself right now?” –then take action on what the answer is–and watch how great you will feel. You will feel very loved and valued because you will be loving YOU!



Speak Your Mind….Even if Your Voice Shakes

August 9th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


“Speak your mind…even if your voice shakes”  

~Maggie Kuhn, member of the Gray Panthers–social activist group advocating for justice and fairness for older Americans.

I was thinking back to the first time I attended Toastmasters. 

For those of you who don’t know– Toastmasters is an organization designed to give people an opportunity to speak in front of a group and get constructive feedback.  Some people attend for personal growth–and some attend to help develop their speaking skills for their profession.  I had been wanting to attend Toastmasters for about a year and I finally put it in my schedule and attended.

I was so inspired by everyone who gave a speech!  Despite nervousness and shaky voices they were doing it—moving beyond their fears into freedom.  It was so moving for me.  One of the biggest fears for most people is public speaking and here was a whole group of people actively moving through this fear. 

I thought since it was my first meeting that I would be off the hook from speaking—not so—just as my mind was starting to drift off I heard my name.  My friend Nancy who was in charge of the table top speeches–these are 1-2 minute speeches that are impromptu speeches on a random topic–decided to call on me to do one of the speeches. 

For me public speaking creates some anxiety in me but more than anything I get excited and invigorated by speaking.  So I left the meeting flying high because of a few things—I was inspired by the others who were moving through their fears, I was excited that I finally attended and I’m glad I got my feet wet by getting to speak! 

The more you face your fears and do it anyway, you will move into freedom in your life.  Don’t let your fears hold you back any longer.  Do it even if your voice shakes!

What are you afraid of?  What can you do to face this fear rather than avoiding it?  Make a plan to do it this week!



Are You Having Fun Yet?

July 31st, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

“Unless each day can be looked back upon by an individual as one in which she has had some fun, some joy, some real satisfaction, that day is a loss.” Anonymous

“Fun is Good.” Dr. Seuss

Are you having enough fun in your life? Belly laughs that make your stomach hurt, laughing so hard that you are crying (one of my favorites), that light open feeling in your body of pure fun.  You will probably know the answer to this quickly and if you are like many people today, the answer will be NO.

Traveling in Bali—Balinese Culture compared to the United States

When I was traveling in Bali, one of the things that I learned that really stuck with me was that when the Balinese have a spiritual ceremony they will not begin the ceremony until they feel the presence of the God’s and Goddesses they have invited.  One of the things that they believe draws these spiritual presences near is celebration and fun.  So if they are not feeling the energy of the God’s and Goddesses, they know they are not having enough fun, so they need to step it up a notch and celebrate even more, open their hearts even more to raise the vibration to a higher level.   They know when they are on track when they feel the energy shift with the presence of the Gods.

Now imagine in our culture if spiritual traditions would not begin unless everyone felt this shift happen. The Pastor or Priest saying to the crowd  “I’m sorry folks but we can’t begin until you are having more fun out there—come on—have some fun.” Could you imagine the look of bewilderment on people’s faces getting this kind of instruction “What do they mean fun—right now?!”  Yes, this would be shocking for a lot of people
in our culture.  We aren’t used to celebrating and having fun together—this is not something that comes easily and naturally for most people.

Our Innate Capacity to Have Fun

The capacity to have fun is something that we are born with, it is innate. Just looking at small children and you will see the natural capacity to play and have fun.  What happens to this as we get older?  Some people are able to retain this ability to have fun, play with others and laugh easily.

For many people this capacity gets lost with increased responsibilities of a job, having children, caring for elderly parents —feeling overwhelmed with the stress of everyday living. There can be an attitude that the fun will happen when the work is done—but you know the work is never really done.

Fun tends to get put on the back burner—and for many people it is on the back burner for so long they forget even how to have it or what it is like.  I have clients who say to me “I don’t even know how to have fun, I don’t even know where to start.”

This article will give you ideas on how to start having more fun, but first I want to share with you some compelling reasons why Fun needs to be a priority in YOUR life.


  1. Having Fun is your Natural State.  We were born to have fun.Look at little babies they are giggling and laughing—they are little fun machines—having fun is like breathing for them.  This is who we are deep inside—we are little fun machines—wanting to have fun and play.  That is why it feels so good to be around babies and children—they remind us of who we really are and we connect with that energy just by being around them.
  2. Having Fun Helps Your Life Work Better When we are more aligned with our natural state our lives work better, we are more in the flow. When our bodies are tense with being serious, worrying, being so busy– life becomes hard and a struggle—we are out of alignment with our natural state.  When we are relaxed, having fun—things flow easier—solutions to what we need to do in our life come easier to us in this state.  When we are in alignment with our natural state are bodies can be healthier and stronger.  Just like a car out of alignment doesn’t function optimally—we too function better when we are in alignment with our natural state—how we are designed to function.  We are designed to function with having a lot of fun and ease in our life.
  3. Having Fun Gives You More Energy.  Having fun feeds your Spirit.Using the car analogy again-just like a car needs certain things to give it energy to operate.  We need basic things for our body to function- like air, food, water and shelter. But we are much more than our bodies, we are Spirits housed in our bodies.  We also need fuel for our Spirits to thrive and feel uplifted.  You know what it is like to feel like your Spirit is sagging—life becomes dull and lifeless and you think–-“what is the point?”  That is when you know you need to feed your Spirit.  What feeds our Spirit is the intangible but crucial aspects of living—love, fun, pleasure, intimacy with others, and connection to Spirit. I have health conscious clients who are doing wonderful things to support their physical bodies, yet they are still feeling sick or have low energy.  That is because they are not attending to the feeding of their Spirit.  By starting to feed their Spirit with having fun they are amazed at how much energy this brings.
  4. Having Fun Attracts Good Things to You.  Years ago I was out to dinner with some good friends and we were having so much fun that other people in the restaurant would come up and talk with us.  One woman came up and said that she couldn’t keep her eyes off of us, we were having so much fun that she wanted to join us.  Everybody likes to have fun and when we are having a lot of fun-–we are a like a magnet to others—they want to be around us and have fun too.  We are like the Balinese Gods and Goddesses—wanting to come near when there is fun and celebration.  Fun attracts in another way as well.  Fun is a higher frequency. To explain what this means—think of a time when you walked into a room where people were getting along and having a lot of fun—didn’t the energy of the room feel “lighter”  Now think of a time when you walked into a room where people were arguing and there was anger—didn’t the energy feel “heavy” and dense. This is an example of the difference in energy frequencies that we can be in.Like frequencies tend to gravitate towards each other—light energy tends to draw light energy—dense energy tends to draw other dense energy.  So when we are having more fun, our energy is lighter and will tend to attract other light  energy things—whether it’s other people who are having fun, or experiences that are more positive and “light.”
  5. Having Fun has a Positive Ripple Effect on Those Around You.  Think about what it is like to be in a room with someone who is really happy and having fun—this energy is contagious and pretty soon you start to feel good too.

One of the most dramatic examples I have of this is a few years ago I was at the Boston airport catching a flight back to Wisconsin.  When I walked into the airport I could feel the energy of tension and stress—-I soon discovered that many of the flights had been cancelled because of the weather.  Because of my interest in positive emotional states, I decided to do a research experiment.

My experiment was to see what would happen if I would maintain a real happy, joyful emotional state in the midst of all of this stress and tension. I walked through the airport smiling at people—maintaining my state of joy and relaxation.  When I went through security I was picked to go through the more in depth search line.  The people in this line were even more frustrated and upset.

I continued to maintain my positive state and started to joke around with the man ahead of me. Within 10 minutes the entire line was joking and laughing.  Some really funny things started to happen too.  One young man had to take his belt off his jeans that were so baggy that as soon as he took his belt off his jeans dropped exposing his boxer shorts.  We all started laughing and he joined in at how funny this was.

What I believe is that we are easily influenced by the emotional states of those around us. Like my example above—holding a positive state of having fun and lightness can easily shift those around you into a lighter state as well.  And isn’t this the kind of effect you want to have on those around you!


  1. Make a List of What You Love to Do for Fun  Even if your list is short,still write it down.It is like priming the pump to write these things down.  Then what happens is your inner fun machine will start to come up with even more ideas.  Give yourself permission to write down anything, even if it seems silly to you.  Then begin to integrate these fun things into your day and see what happens.
  2. Make Fun a Priority in Your Life  Begin your day with an intention to have a lot of fun.People who have a lot of fun in their life—have made fun a priority and routinely do things that create fun throughout their days.
    It could be turning a boring meeting into one that is fun and productive.  I have done this with meetings I have attended.  One meeting where we were going to be working on a difficult situation—I suggested we start the meeting with telling jokes and goofing around.  Everyone was game to do this and we had a lot of fun for about 10 minutes then we shifted into the issue we were trying to resolve.  Much to everyone’s surprise we resolved the issue quickly and easily because we were in a more relaxed creative state because of the fun we had at the start of the meeting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you make fun a priority in your life you will be more productive with your time.   One way to understand this is using the analogy of having a child inside of you.  If you just work all of the time—the child inside of you begins to get frustrated because of the lack of fun—and begins to rebel.  This rebellion shows up in your life as procrastination, low energy, lack of focus—it is like a drag on your energy.  It is like the child says—“If you don’t listen to me, I’m not going to cooperate with the things your trying to get done.” Integrating fun into your days satisfies this child inside of you and then it cooperates with the other things you want to get done. Even though you are taking time to have fun—you actually don’t lose any time because the time you do work is very productive.  I have seen this work over and over again with clients—the more fun they have, the more they get done.  Try it and see for yourself!
  3. Let Go of False Beliefs  About Fun  What kind of beliefs do you have about about having fun?  List these beliefs on a piece of paper.  They could be “It’s irresponsible to have too much fun.”  “Fun is just for kids, not for adults.” “I’ll look stupid if I’m having fun” “I don’t have enough time to have fun.” “Having fun is a waste of time, it’s frivolous.”  Examine these messages and decide if you want to continue to hold these beliefs. These false beliefs can be holding you back from a world of  fun.  Write new messages about fun that you want to embrace-i.e. “Having fun helps me to be more creative and productive in my whole life.”  “Fun feels good and I deserve to feel good.” “Fun brings me closer to those around me.” “Fun leads to great things happening in my life.” Embracing these new beliefs will open the doorway for more Fun in your life.
  4. Be a Fun Initiator in Your Life  Think of ways that you can bring more fun to yourself and others throughout the day.When you are in conversation with people use humor and lightness to create fun rather than letting the conversation slip into negativity.  Many people are in the habit of connecting with one another through discussing problems and gossiping.  Just notice if you are in this habit by monitoring what you tend to focus on in your conversations with others. See if you can allow yourself to connect with others with fun and joy.  When others ask you how you are doing say “I am having so much fun in my life, I am so happy!”  Think of fun activities that you can do with your friends and family—have a theme party that has a silly theme or designate a day to celebrate something fun.I heard from some friends that there was a day a few months ago that was “Talk like a Pirate Day” and they were having fun planning a party on that day.  Be willing to take risks and try new things.  Re-connect with that fun-machine inside of you that is just waiting to have more fun than you have been having. Click into what you knew innately as a baby and a child—that having fun is a big part of what we are here for. So don’t waste another minute and —-go have some fun!


The Importance of Doing Nothing

July 24th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace.  You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.”  ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Chances are you are very busy, maybe even too busy.  If that is the case taking time to “do nothing” is even more important for you.  We are meant to have a balance of active, doing time–and then a balance of time for relaxation.  So often we keep going and going without a break–this generally  leads to a decrease in our productivity, irritability and feeling drained.

How Doing Nothing Helps You:

1.Taking time to relax and do nothing helps you physically.  During relaxation our body is able to devote more energy to healing and repairing itself.   It also helps you to de-stress and reduce the negative impact of stress on your body.

2. Letting go of the mental chatter that accompanies being busy allows you to “hear” the more subtle messages of your Spirit.  Your intuition is like a soft voice which you need to be quiet to be able to hear its messages.  These intuitive messages can give you guidance on how to handle the situations in your life.

The more you worry and get stressed–the more you block the subtle answers that are trying to come through from your intuition.  So give yourself permission to relax and let go—trusting that the answers you are chasing will be able to come to you–and you will be able to hear them in the quiet.

3. Doing nothing with others helps you to connect more deeply with them.  A story that I read years ago that really stuck with me was about a family in New York City that regularly had “do nothing” weekends.  They all would stay in their pajamas for the weekend and just hang out together.  They would talk a lot, do skits for one another and make up games.  They limited the outside activities that their kids were involved in to protect the time that they had to be together.  So often we are so busy with outside activities that we become strangers to the people we are closest to.

Having big chunks of time together can create safety for more vulnerable information to be shared.  This is what happened this past weekend with my sisters. What we shared on day 3 of being together was deeper, more vulnerable information then the first initial sharing during day 1.

4. Doing nothing can help you get more done!  The analogy I use is that it is like we have a kid inside of us that needs rest and play.  If we just are busy and don’t stop to rest and play this little kid gets very cranky and starts to cause some problems.  These problems look like procrastination, forgetfulness, working slower etc.  If we do take the time to rest and play the kid inside of us is happy.  Then when we start to work again it will be very cooperative with what we want to get done and things will go smoother.


Ideas to add doing Nothing to Your Schedule

1. Have “do nothing” breaks during the day.  Go outside and lay on the grass for 10 minutes and look at the sky.  If you are in your office shut off your computer, take off your shoes and close your eyes for 10 minutes and do nothing.

2. Take a nap.  If you have never taken a nap–give it a try. It’s OK if you don’t sleep, just resting with your eyes closed can be very relaxing.  Try taking a nap in a hammock.  There is something about being outside and gently swinging that is very soothing and peaceful.

3. Go to a coffee shop where you don’t know anybody and hang out.  I am writing this article at a coffee shop and there is a woman sitting alone reading a book and another woman alone working on the computer.  Go somewhere where there are no distractions, so you can focus on whatever you would like to –reading a good book, journaling or just relaxing and being.  Check out all of the coffee shops in your area and find a special place that feels relaxing to you.

4. Go on a Retreat.  A wonderful way to do nothing and connect more deeply with yourself is to go on a retreat.  You can find a place that is a short drive away from you that you can go to for the day or for the weekend.  A place locally that some of my friends have gone to is “The Bridge Between” which is just outside of Green Bay.  You can plan a retreat in your own home too.  Plan a time when no one will be there and eliminate distractions–turn off the phone, the computer etc.  Block out a designated time as your “retreat” time–you could do a half of a day or a whole day.

5. Find a place in your house that you designate as your “do nothing” place.  This is a place that you can go for peace and quiet when you need it.  Eliminate distractions and also let the people in your home know that when you are in this place that you are to not be interrupted.

6. If things are really busy for you and you feel like you don’t have any time—take a 5 minute break to do nothing.  You would be surprised at how even a small amount of time like 5 minutes can make a big difference in helping you relax.  You can focus on your breath and make sure you are breathing deeply.  When we are busy we often  hold our breath–so taking this break and breathing fully can relax you and help your body release tension.

7. Designate one day a week to take off.  Have one day a week where you aren’t doing any work–no errands, no work around the house etc.  Just a day to be and do as you please.  When you have a full day off you can really get into a relaxed state and enjoy the full benefit of this.   Then when you go back to work you will feel energized, more focused and you will be more productive.

Give yourself the gift of putting more time in your schedule just to “do nothing” and watch your life become more peaceful, productive and rich with a deeper connection with yourself and others!



Hi, I'm Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC a Holistic Psychotherapist in private practice. I specialize in helping people connect with their Authentic selves--and from this create a life that is in alignment with their Life Purpose and filled with Joy. I offer transformational individual counseling, presentations, groups and Workshops. You can get my Free Workbook "What Do You REALLY Want: Finding Purpose and Passion in Your Life" here or contact me at 877-346-1167.
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