Improve your self-esteem.
How we perceive ourselves and what we assume others think of us is often an inaccurate reflection of the actual reality. We all have times in our lives when we don’t feel confident or good about ourselves however, these can be fleeting moments overtaken by our ability to recognise a more balanced viewpoint. For some people however, particularly those who have had adverse life events, these negative assumptions can be a daily struggle, inhibiting personal qualities and restricting confidence. Internal negative core beliefs of themselves have gone unchallenged and as a consequence have been maintained for many years.
It can be liberating to challenge how we view what we perceive we are ‘unable’ to do (new job, relationships, social environment etc.) by actually allowing ourselves to say “stop, I am equal, I am not my circumstances.” Often the filter system within us will identify all the negative traits, failings and perceived limitations of our being without acknowledging the positive attributes. These positives often far outweigh the negatives, our internal mechanisms just haven’t allowed us to accept them.
It is important to recognise when irrational negative self-speak is exactly that, irrational. What would you say to someone you know, if they spoke to you about all their negative thoughts, their held belief that they have no self-worth and they are simply, not good enough? The overwhelming response would invariably be one of a more balanced opinion that identified the numerous positives, the achievements and successes in their life. The issue is, we are able to provide a more balanced, accurate opinion of others but often not ourselves.
Here are some approaches to improving self-esteem:
- Attempt to identify origins of low self-esteem and areas that need working on e.g. social situations, job etc.
- Challenge your inner critic. Ask yourself, “am I being irrational about my perceptions of myself? What would my friends, family and colleagues say about me?” Don’t accept automatic negative thoughts.
- Positive self-talk. Write down every day something you have achieved, whether that be in your life generally, or each new day.
- Allow yourself to accept compliments. As well as hearing the compliments, actually digest them and ask yourself, what does this say about you?
- Set yourself achievable goals and challenges, gradually build up to more challenging goals as your confidence improves. You will realise the “can’t do” inner critic is actually a false assumption, a misguided opinion and ultimately wrong.
- Visualise yourself in a situation such as an aspirational job and allow yourself to accept you can get there. If you struggle with this, look at what steps you would need to take to achieve that aspiration. This may take time but others have done it and you are capable.
Exercise as regularly as you can. This may be on your own or with friends.
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About Matt Hemsley
I became a Life Coach following a career of over 20 years as a Mental Health Nurse working initially on an acute psychiatric ward and then predominantly in the community. I use psycho-social interventions and am a strong believer in adopting a CBT approach with my clients.… Read more
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