Stop low self esteem forever? Learn one simple principle? You might be thinking I’m out of my mind, and for a long time I was.
The bad news was there was no self-esteem, self-love, or self-acceptance in my life during my active addiction, (the good news is that changed as I started living sober). If you can relate, read on.
Just think about this for a second. What causes you to believe that you have low self-esteem? The answer is blindingly simple – you cause yourself to believe it. You believe you have low self esteem: I happen to believe that you have a lot of value and purpose in this world. Who’s right and who’s wrong? You or me? The answer is up to you.
Spoiler Alert: Here Is the simple principle: change your point of view. You are making it up. Stop it. Your old beliefs are not true, (they just feel that way).
You Create Your Own Thoughts Of Self Esteem
What is self-esteem, really? It is simply an opinion or point of view by you, of you.
When I was at the end of my active drug and alcohol use my opinion of myself was “I’m a worthless piece of garbage.” Every morning I woke up and my first thought was “oh crap I woke up.” Life was simply waiting to die. That was my point of view.
I was entitled to my point of view and I believed it to be true. As long as I continued to buy my own bull shit, I could not have changed.
I’ve got a serious question for you. Why are you making up a story that you have no no value or worth and believing it? Were you born with no self-worth and low self-esteem? No, you probably heard it or learned it along the way. It aws repeated to you in some sort of way that made sense to you and started to believe it. You grooved it in your brain. Once you believed it, you probably started acting in a way that supported your belief. If you have a negative belief system, negative emotions will be generated from it. You can also control negative emotions.
Where Do Your Beliefs Come From - Who Creates Them?
A belief is simply a thought that you have repeated to yourself many, many times until you believe it to be a truth.
Here’s the tricky part: your beliefs may not be actually, factually, true. You may just THINK they are.
Don’t get me wrong, you are entitled to any belief you want to have. Just be aware that some believes will cause guilt shame and a lot of negative emotions. If you change your point of view you may experience a more positive set of emotions. That’s up to you which you choose to do. It’s in your own hands.
This is important: you are making it all up. You are creating your own view of yourself, your own view of others, your own view of the world. Do these beliefs serve you in being happy or are they doing a dis-service in keeping you stuck and miserable? Once you realize that you’re making it all up, why would you create negative points of view that lead to pain. Why not create positive points of view that lead to happiness and peace? It’s up to you, your choice.
Stop That Negative Thinking – Start Thinking Positively
Here a few ideas about changing your thoughts, beliefs and point of view.
- Stop the negative self-talk. What do you say when you talk to yourself? Some psychologists estimate that more than 75% of our thoughts in our heads are negative.
The brain uses different hemispheres to sort through negative and positive information, says Clifford Nass, a professor of communications at Stanford University – explains,
“Negative emotions generally require more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones.”
The extra brain power that’s required to process negative emotions means we spend more time contemplating the bad stuff and less time on the good stuff
Negative self-talk can be destructive to your self-esteem and self confidence. Examples of negative self-talk are comments like, “I know I’ll never amount to anything” ,“ I can’t do this.” And “I wish I never woke up today.”
- Learn to distract yourself from negative thoughts. As soon as you begin to think negatively, it’s your responsibility to change those thoughts. Notice right away when negativity is floating through your mind. Then do something to change it. This is critical, don’t keep rolling with that first negative thought that pops in your head.
A technique that I use is to visualize a stop sign like you see on the side of the road. As soon as I start having a negative thought I visualize that stop sign flashing in my face really fast stop, stop, stop. The idea is just to interrupt the thought. Then you can stake stock and distract yourself with something else that may sound weird but it works.
I had a client who pictured a giant pencil eraser and when she had negative thoughts she used to go you erase, erase, erase.
You can also use distraction another way. Tell yourself, “I’m not going to think about that right now. Instead, I’m going to watch a movie.” Or you could say, “I’m going to do something positive right now, like wash the car.”
The key is to be aware of your thoughts so you can immediately change your thinking (and perhaps your activity) at the time you begin thinking negatively.
Stop That Negative Thinking – Start Thinking Positively
The first step in changing your point of view is to recognize when those negative thoughts pop up. Now you have to do something about them – Change them to positive. Here are a few ideas:
1.Take a look at your successes. Remembering what you’ve done well in the past will help you gain some wind beneath your wings. When you remind yourself that you’ve enjoyed some great successes, you’ll realize that you can also have great success in your present and future.
2. Consider the skills you have developed and character traits that helped you succeed. Perhaps you used determination and grit to stop drinking and drugging. Maybe you persevered through a very rough time and came out on top. Give yourself some credit.
3. Those positive qualities are still inside of you. You just forget the most of the time Vow to re-discover the aspects of yourself that kept you going to achieve past successes. Raise your level of self-awareness to the positive rather than toward the negative You’ll feel great about yourself.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an AwesomeSelf-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Your Self-EsteemWhy Do I Do That?: Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape OurThe Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading PioneerGet Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating BehaviorThe Self-Esteem Workbook – The Second Edition by Glenn R. Schiraldi PhD
Self Esteem Video - Understanding & Fixing Low Self-Esteem (5 minutes).
Pinterest - Pin it - Stop Low Self Esteem
- You are responsible for your own thoughts.
- You can choose to believe positive thoughts about yourself or negative thoughts about yourself.
- You have the power to change your point of view any time you want.
- Don’t let other people form your view of yourself. What other people think of you is none of your business.
- Everybody has some self-doubt, be aware this is normal and don’t let it linger. Change your thinking.
It is entirely possible for you to stop low self esteem by becoming aware of those thoughts about yourself that don’t serve you. Next, make decision to throw them out, refute them, stop buying you same old story. Next create a different point of view that serves you better and causes a more positive outlook on your self and the world. Changing you belief system is one of several essential social and life skill needed to support living sober
Some Really Good Resources
- Why Self Esteem Is Important For Mental Health (NAMI.org) A real nice article from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Poor Self Esteem: A Missed Diagnosis This art icle from Psychology today takes the position that “marginal self-worth manifests through an array of dysfunction, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, ADHD, codependence, failed relationships and, even more tragically, lives lived out in mediocrity.”