Do you ever worry that you are not “good enough,” “not smart enough,” or just “don’t have what it takes,”? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have these thoughts. While it may be helpful to know that you are not alone, these thoughts can really interfere with your ability to achieve the things you want most out of life.
A recent report published by the Priory Group addressed the issue of low self esteem, reporting that millions of British women are suffering from low self esteem that prevents them from having healthy relationships and reduces their overall quality of life. The report, titled, I’m Not Good Enough, surveyed the women on several issues and concluded that these problems are pervasive.
1. I’m just not good enough to get what I want.
2. At times I feel worthless.
3. Other people don’t seem care about my needs.
4. I’m often concerned about what other people might think of me.
5. From time to time, I worry that there’s something wrong with me.
6. It seems as though I’m all alone and I must do everything by myself..
7. Thoughts such as I’m powerless, weak, not safe, helpless often pop into my mind
8. At times feel like, I’m unlovable or unworthy.
9. Sometimes in challenging situations, I don’t take care of myself very well.
10. My life is very limited, I have no choice.
If these are things that describe you or how you feel, then low self esteem is most likely limiting you in someway. Interpreting unpleasant experiences from our past often ends up making us think we are less worthy and less deserving of happiness. On the other hand, past circumstances aren’t the only way you might start believing statements such as those above.
For example, have you ever heard someone say something about you and you took it to mean that one of those statements must then be true about you? Now, just because someone says something about you doesn’t make it “THE TRUTH”, but the consequences of believing it is true can have a serious affect on your self-esteem.
On the other hand, self esteem doesn’t just miraculously improve when someone makes a positive statement about you either. Often it’s quite the opposite; many self esteem building experts now suggest we should back off from over-praising our children and making them feel good without having them put forth any effort or motivation.
The truth is, self esteem is not really the goal, it should be considered as more of a result of a person’s confidence in themselves, and knowing what they are capable of achieving. It is often described as a way to explain how well your actions produce results.
Can you learn to build self esteem? Yes, definitely. But only if you are able to transform the limiting beliefs that you hold, these are the things that are preventing you from developing enough competency to make you feel confident.
Before you can build self esteem you must take those limiting beliefs and transform them into new beliefs, ones that lead you to develop new skills or improve old ones. This is not as difficult as it seems. There’s a formula you can apply to help you work through the process, think of it as putting out a fire—the fire that has burned up your self esteem. You’ve most likely heard the phrase, “stop, drop and roll,” and this is what you need to do to build your self esteem.
How does this work? First, you must Stop and listen to the warnings you are hearing from yourself. Then, you need to Drop all judgments of yourself. Finally, you will Roll out a new plan to improve your beliefs.
Before you can make any changes, you need to identify how you feel. It is often easiest to start with feelings of discomfort—take these as the early warning signs. As soon as you begin to feel this way, immediately Stop and try to identify those judging thoughts that are running through your head. It can be helpful to actually write these thoughts down on paper.
Once identified, the judgments need to be quickly Dropped. This means you need to know what is truly important to you. When you figure out what you value–that has you make these judgments in the first place–you then shift your thinking from judgments to values and focus on them.
For example, ” I’m just not good enough to get what I want.” might change into focusing on how important accomplishment, or happiness are to you. Try these statements on for size, which feels better? ” I’m just not good enough to get what I want.” How does that feel? Now try this one, “I care so much about accomplishing things and being happy is very important.” How does that feel? Can you feel the difference?
Dropping judgments can put out those awful fires that have burned down your self esteem. After the fire is gone, get ready to Roll out a new plan, one that focuses on what is most important to you and one that focuses on your strengths. Plan to include two or more specific actions that will support you on your new path to improved your confidence and increased happiness. For instance, if you are looking to find more satisfaction in your career, perhaps your plan could include refreshing and updating your resume and pursuing some new job interviews.
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