The major point of these last few posts on low self esteem is to get to a point in which you are able to start accepting yourself. Obviously it takes time to get to this point but you have been reading about how to understand and deal with your low self esteem. So now that you are aware that the negative thoughts you feel are opinions and not facts here is the hardest exercise I ever had to do.
This exercise is funny because even people without low self esteem struggle to complete it. However because you are now aware of how the mind works when it comes to self evaluation, I have no doubts that you will swim through this exercise.
Write down 25 things that are good about you or that you have achieved. So this is basically a positive qualities list. A few examples from my own list;
- Good sense of humour
- Got a degree
- Can solve a Rubik’s cube
- Animal lover
- Overcame extreme shyness (Now nobody can shut me up)
That’s only a snapshot of my list, I’m not going to make this one easy for you by giving you 25 examples you can lift. You can get help from someone you have a lot of trust in, you can take a few days to do this. But do it. 25 qualities!
In my case, I avoided this for two weeks and eventually my psychiatric nurse gave me a pretty solid deadline to give me a kick up the ass to get it done. I went home and I managed to jot down these and many more qualities with the help of my mum. I used my mother because I wanted her to actually recognise positive qualities about me in a slim hope that she would stop dropping negative bullshit on me.
She helped me massively but guess what? It didn’t actually change much about how she speaks to me. So do it with someone who isn’t partly responsible for your development of low self esteem in early life. It did feel great to hear her tell me all these positive things about myself but I didn’t get the intended result but that’s totally my fault. We can never try and do things in hope of a particular reaction from someone.
Okay this exercise is a bit easier but only a little. Take five to seven of your qualities you listed in your list of 25 and write down all the evidence for that quality. You may struggle to actually remember evidence for these qualities but it’s there. Chances are you have the evidence in your mind but you don’t think it’s evidence enough.
For example you write down ‘I’m funny’ and then can’t come up with any evidence. But the fact is we can all remember a funny thing we did or said in the past. If we didn’t what we talk about in pubs? So write down the things that come to your mind to back up your quality. The point of this exercise is to show you just how true this qualities are.
When you do this exercise and compare your hard evidence for your positive qualities with the facts about your negative feelings about yourself that showed those feelings to be inaccurate you will finally be starting to build the true picture of who you are. And that is an accomplished person.
Everyone with low self esteem is an accomplished person. That’s why low self esteem is such a funny thing when you think about it. We have all achieved so much and yet we bury those achievements down because they aren’t the achievements we feel are worth achieving. It’s nothing short of madness.
Compare that to people who do nothing and have egos the size of Jupiter and those of us with low self esteem begin to look a bit silly. And that’s the way I found looking at that helped me the most. I’m an analytical person, I like numbers, facts, figures. I don’t like subjectivity. I don’t like the notion that everyone is entitled to their opinion because I don’t believe that anyone is entitled to an ignorant opinion. I don’t like it when people use emotions in arguments or debates as if they are somehow on par with facts, when they simply are a waste of time in academic understanding.
This helped me realise that my low self esteem is a subjectivity. There is no evidence to back up any of the negative feelings I have about myself but there’s buckets of evidence to support the facts that I have a lot of achievements and many positive qualities. I struggled for weeks in therapy just to say ‘I am a good person’. It was painful to say the first few times but then I realised it’s true. Most humans are inherently good people who want the same thing out of life, to be safe and happy.
I hope the exercises in the last few posts help you. I hope the stories and information I’ve shared with you help you. Most importantly I hope you realise low self esteem is just destroying you because you let it, you are not your negative thoughts and feelings. They are incorrectly ingrained beliefs. Stop believing opinions and find out the facts. Once you do that you will realise just how spectacularly brilliant you are.
Everything since the big bang has led to you. Every single supernova, meteor strike, birth and death has all led to you. You are a spectacularly complex and incredible thing. Start to believe that.