This has basically been pointed out in the last post but I feel it is important to really emphasise breaking this cycle of negativity is of the utmost importance in helping yourself overcome low self esteem. So basically just think happy thoughts and you’ll be flying!
In the last post I explained how when you were a child you developed these negative beliefs about yourself and because you held them for so many years you have come to believe them more and more. Now you are an adult (if you’re reading this you’re more than likely old enough to recognise these facts) and it is time for you to recognise this and take the appropriate steps to recognise who and what you really are.
I always recommend meditation or mindfulness or whatever name you are more comfortable with for recognising negative thinking. The reason being meditation is literally the art of recognising negative thoughts and letting them pass you by. This helps by helping you recognise that you ARE NOT your thoughts, you are not your feelings, you are not your failures or successes, you are what others think of you.
You are you, you are what you WANT to be. You have total control over who and what you are, but you are separate from your thoughts. The thing with meditation is the more you do it the more you find these gaps of quiet between your thoughts. The truth is you can’t silence your mind, meditation is about finding the gaps of ephemeral quietude. When you find one of these gaps you realise that you are actually separate from your thoughts. Then comes the question ‘what am I?’, ‘What is the self’ and welcome to the infuriating world of all philosophers ever!
But you also have to deal with self esteem outside of meditation and many people do but this blog is all about my opinions and my experiences to try and help people and I can’t recommend meditation enough. Moving on.
The main way we maintain negative self beliefs is in interpreting everything in a way that makes it seem that your beliefs are true. Imagine the first time you drive your brand new car the engine had a failure. Now your view of the car has been tainted. Imagine a few months later it happens again. You will have developed the view ‘This engine dies all of the time’, when it in fact doesn’t. You may have driven 100,000Km since your last break down but that doesn’t matter. You only seek the information that enforces your opinion.
You may think your neighbour has a noisy dog because the first time he came home he barked all night. Now a few years later you may still believe that your neighbour has a noisy dog because you only ever pay attention to him when he is barking. This is the same for your beliefs. You only pay attention to things that solidify your beliefs.
If you believe ‘I’m a failure’ then any time you fail to meet your standards or don’t win at something you will immediately use this to reinforce your negative belief. The times you do win you will write it off as luck or as if anyone could do it, ‘it’s no big deal’, ‘it was a fluke’ etc.
Now the battle is you must recognise the times you are focusing on negatives. You must recognise it and allow the negative thoughts to pass without paying them attention. And the inverse is true, when something positive happens you must recognise it and pat yourself on the back for it. This is something I still struggle massively with! But I’m improving every single day and I can see a very visible difference between the me of a year ago and the me of now.
I’ve said it before on the blog I often congratulate myself just for getting out of bed because that is a battle I fight every morning and sometimes I feel like I’ve gone ten rounds with Mayweather but I do it. So I congratulate myself on doing that. Sometimes washing myself can be a really big challenge to overcome and so when I do it I pat myself on the back.
So by the time I actually do something big like launch a blog, get a job, travel, learn a new word, run a bit faster, lift a heavier weight etc. I beat my chest with pride. No hyperbole there, I seriously take pride in every little achievement I have because I’m a better and more developed person than I was yesterday.
Remember, everyday, your only opposition is you, you got to beat you, you have to be better than you. Do that and you’ll notice you’ll outstrip your opponents in the outside world.
With low self esteem comes things that can trigger your internal negative beliefs. For example when I was looking for jobs I initially was applying for jobs I was actually over qualified for because i didn’t think I was good enough for jobs that I was qualified for. I was overqualified and ergo wasn’t getting hired which fed into my negative self beliefs, I couldn’t even get a job in retail. But when I realised that getting a job was a trigger situation for me I reacted accordingly.
I absolutely tore up my CV and wrote a banging one! I wrote about everything that made me great. I proudly slapped my qualities and achievements on that thing. Then I wrote a cover letter for every job I applied for and I was aggressive in those cover letters, not in angry way but in a grab life by the balls way. I applied for crazy jobs. Jobs with good pay and really sought after. And I got responses with twelve hours.
All I had to do was recognise that job hunting was a trigger for me. So I beat the trigger by moving out of my comfort zone. And nothing bad happened. I totally ignored any rejection emails I got back. I only recognised the positives and there was a lot of them. I got many compliments from recruiters and employers for my cover letters alone.
In life we all have these triggers which start off the negative self beliefs and we must recognise these when they happen. The best way to then deal with them after we’ve noted them is to do the opposite. Charge full steam ahead into the fear, the negativity and do what it is that you’d never have done in a million years before you read this.
There is no silver bullet. It’s down to you. Only you can make you grow. Only you can beat the you of yesterday.
I know this post may have left some of you buzzing like you just snorted coke off a lady of the nights behind BUT I am also aware some of you will be deflated that I don’t have a panacea for your issues. But you see, you are the cure. Unfortunately to grow in life you have to put in serious work. Think about how much work a bodybuilder puts in just to grow an extra inch on his arms. Or how much money a Formula 1 team spends to gain one tenth of a second a lap in speed.
Change don’t come easy or cheap, emotionally, mentally, physically and sometimes financially. But you can do it. I did it and many others can do it. I’m not going to even say ‘just believe in yourself’ because self belief is the bloody struggle we are having. What I will say is do exactly as I said. Just recognise the negative thoughts. Start with that and then work on recognising the positive thoughts. Once you do that you’ll be shocked at how you will grow.
The next post will concentrate on breaking away at the low self esteem. There will be exercises to help you achieve more positive thoughts. I hope you enjoyed this post!