Feeling good about you!
Many of us are able to see the talents and abilities in our friends, family and colleagues but find it hard to accept our own gifts and focus on our faults.
How often do we find ourselves making excuses for other people’s perceived failures and yet find it difficult to forgive ourselves for similar traits and habits? Being ‘down’ on ourselves restricts our successes and enjoyment of life, so why do we do it?
Sometimes early conditioning or events which occur lead us to believe certain negative things about ourselves. When we receive information, the conscious mind then uses these belief systems to filter the details, but the belief systems are not necessarily the truth. As individuals, we create beliefs about our own talents, as well as our faults and weaknesses. A tendency to concentrate on the negative traits of our character, to think or speak badly of ourselves, is not only bad for the image we project of ourselves, it also affects our own mental wellbeing, our physical health and worse still, impedes our future progress and development. In other words, negative thoughts result in negative feelings.
Common emotions associated with low self-esteem are sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame, humiliation, frustration and anger. Individuals may also feel chronically discouraged and demoralised. Most of these negative emotions come from illogical or distorted thought processes, but you can change all this starting today! Here are a few tips to put into practice daily and which will help ‘re-programme’ the mind into more positive self-images.
1. Sit somewhere where you feel comfortable, safe and relaxed, make sure you are not going to be interrupted and take a few deep breaths into the diaphragm (pushing the belly out as you breathe in – this releases tension).
2. Take a pen & paper and write down ALL THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOU. Don’t be modest and dig deep! Just think about all the positive aspects of your nature and write them down. If it’s easier to think about what other people see in you, then that’s fine.
3. Then write down ALL THE POSITIVE THINGS YOU HAVE DONE IN YOUR LIFE – exams passed, games won, promotions at work, relationships, times when you’ve been there for others etc etc.
4. When you’ve finished writing, read it back to yourself. Remind yourself of these POSITIVE TRAITS and events daily by spending 5-10 minutes every day re-reading your lists and adding to them if there is more to add.
5. Become aware of your language when talking about yourself. AVOID SELF-DEPRECATING STATEMENTS such as ‘I know this sounds stupid but…’. Remember you are quite entitled to share your opinions and ideas. Some of them may be brilliant or may be an essential catalyst. Avoid putting yourself down to yourself or others. It can become a habit, so become aware and change it.
6. Listen to yourself also when you are complimented. Remember those occasions when someone says something nice about what you are wearing and you respond with something along the lines of ‘Oh thanks. I always think it makes my stomach look big’ or, if someone compliments you on an achievement and you say ‘Oh thanks. It’s no big deal really.’? PRACTICE ACCEPTING COMPLIMENTS GRACIOUSLY and if you feel like it, repay the compliment. You know how good it makes you feel when someone says something nice about you. You also feel good when you can tell someone else something good about them. Next time someone compliments you on what you’re wearing, try ‘Thanks a lot. It really is one of my favourites so I’m glad you noticed’ or when someone congratulates you on an achievement try something like, ‘Thanks a lot. I really worked hard for it so I’m delighted.’.
7. Try to RECOGNISE WHAT TRIGGERS DEBILITATING THOUGHTS about yourself and see what event or belief system lies behind it. Often this will enable you to recognise that it is no longer appropriate to hold that belief about yourself. If you have difficulty in changing this thought pattern alone, you may want to visit a cognitive behavioural therapist or try a hypnotherapy session, which can help you let go of self-limiting beliefs.
8. When setting goals and targets for yourself, make sure they are realistic. Often people with low self-esteem are very judgemental and litter their expectations with lots of ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ etc. If we’re unrealistic in our expectations of ourselves and others or circumstances dictate a different route, we are going to be disappointed and this only serves to act as a vicious circle. WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS AND HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT PERFECT BEINGS, BUT WE ARE PERFECT JUST AS WE ARE.
9. When something good happens, CELEBRATE! When the promotion we’ve been waiting for happens, we pass an exam, win a tournament, buy that house we’ve been waiting for or give birth to that long-awaited child, etc., remember to take time to savour the achievement and congratulate yourself on it. Go out and buy yourself a gift or award yourself some time off, cook a meal for friends – whatever you do, mark the occasion and help yourself to feel good. Take some time to remember this feeling and remind yourself of it often.
10. Only take full responsibility and blame for those things that you are in full control of. Usually there is more than one person involved in situations we blame ourselves for. If we areto blame, LEARN THE LESSONS AND MOVE ON. Recognise that, as a human being, WE DO OUR BEST with the information and the situation we are faced with at any given time and that is enough, even if things don’t work out as planned.
11. When you hear that nagging voice in the back of your head that says, ‘You’re not good enough’ or ‘You can’t do that’ or ‘You’re not clever enough’ when you know deep down you are, tell it to shut up and replace that thought with a positive thought or put the negative voice into the voice of your favourite comedian. The sting soon goes out of any insults the conscious mind can sling at you when you hear Matt Lucas, Billy Connolly or Vic Reeves saying it!
12. Remind yourself regularly that YOU ARE A UNIQUE HUMAN BEING. In the same way that each of our bodies has millions of bacteria that we fail to notice, but which are essential for us to live, so are we important to our world and the universe we live in at this time. Nobody else can fulfil our role and nobody ever could.
13. Practice APPRECIATING YOURSELF FOR ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE (not all the things you are not!). Avoid comparing yourself with others. However perfect their life may seem, they will have their own lessons to learn. Remind yourself constantly of all the positive things about yourself and watch what happens.
14. FORGIVE YOURSELF. This is the key. As human beings we all make mistakes, we all do things we’re not particularly proud of and these things are our lessons in life. How we put the learning into practice for the future is what counts. Make the changes you need to make and if you need help or guidance, ask for it.
Following these guidelines won’t necessarily be an overnight cure and, like most things that are worth doing, you will need to make time to practice. You may also want some help in achieving the results you want. Don’t be afraid to ask – you’re worth it. The results, once you let go of these self-limiting beliefs, will be amazing. Keep a diary throughout and watch your progress. There’ll be no holding you back!
For more information on this subject or to book a session, contact Annie Lawler on 0772 581 884 or visit the website
Have a really great day.
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