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Heal Low Self Esteem & Negative Self-Talk


You can heal low self esteem and negative self-talk - you know, that little voice in your head that tells you that you don't need to do this, should have to do this, or can't do this anyway so why even try?

These are examples of negative thinking and negative self-talk. While we are still working on improving our self-confidence and courage, it's not uncommon to have quite a bit of this negative thinking going on.


It's an internal protection mechanism of sorts. When we are lacking confidence, we aren't actually sure that we can do what we set out to do. Our mind then tries to protect us by talking us out of giving it a try. After all, if you don't try, you can't fail, right? At least that's how our confident lacking subconscious things.


On a rational level, we know that never trying is just as bad as or even worse than trying and failing. When we try and fail, we always learn something. Taking risks is part of a happy, productive life and it's what builds courage and confidence. Taking risks helps us heal low self esteem.


Heal Low Self Esteem:
NOT ALL NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ARE BAD

Not all negative thoughts are bad! It all depends on what you do with them. Acknowledging anger and sadness so that you can do something about them is where the work begins.

MYTH: You should feel happy all the time.

No one can stay in a "Polyanna-ish" mood at all times. It's not recommended anyway! Negative thoughts seem to take one of two forms:

1) Depressed Thoughts

2) Angry Thoughts 

The problem does not lie intrinsically in the depressed or angry thought itself. It's what you can do with it that can be problematic. Depressed and angry thoughts can lead to a lessened quality of life, violence, abuse, etc. It can become increasingly easy to get "hooked" on anger and depression to the point you feel there's no other recourse for handling the underlying causes.


Heal Low Self Esteem:
ANGRY MOTIVATION

So, should you feel happy all the time? No. Start by acknowledging the negative thoughts. Where are they coming from? Sometimes a good place to start helping a depressed thought is by turning it into an angry one. Reclaiming anger can be a great motivator for a depressed person and help heal low self esteem.

Example:

Depressed thought: "I didn't get the promotion at work because I'm not as talented as the person who got the job."

Helpful angry thought: "I didn't get the promotion at work and I'm angry about it! I'm going to prove my worth so I get the next promotion."

Angry thoughts can be very motivating. Anger can provide energy and insights to address problems that, otherwise, might not have been brought to light. Look at possible reasons behind the anger. For example, are you angry that you've put on weight? Are you angry because you've lost your job? This can be very motivating. This anger can fuel a change in lifestyle and can boost your job search efforts.

Angry thought: "I'm tired of being stuck in a dead end job!"

Motivated angry thought: "I'm going to explore my interests and go back to school so that I can get out of this dead end job."


Heal Low Self Esteem:
VENTING, SWEARING, & YELLING...OH, MY!!!

Sometimes we all need to blurt out the rage. This is a good thing as long as you are not directing it at someone else. You don't want anyone else to feel hurt. It's okay to vent to someone else, but you don't want it to be regarding all the things you don't like about him/her. When venting, swearing, and/or yelling, limit the amount of time you dedicate to it.

For instance, someone is rude to you on the phone. Allow yourself to say "Jerk!" to yourself when you hang up and to vent to someone else for just a minute (or two). You don't want to end up going on and on about it to anyone who will listen. You want the burst of angry energy to be just enough to get it out of your system so that you can move on to better things.  


Heal Low Self Esteem:
THE WORST CASE SCENARIO

Sometimes it can be beneficial to have "the-worst-case-scenario" kind of negative thought. For instance, you are terrified about a first ate.

Worst case scenario: Your face breaks out in pimples the day of the date. You arrive late to the restaurant where you're meeting because you got a flat tire. When you finally show up for the date, you order pasta in a tomato sauce. The sauce ends up all over your outfit. You have nothing in common with your date and the night eeks on painfully slowly. You never see the person again.

Once you've played out the worst case scenario in your mind, take a step back and look at the absurdity of the thought. (Take a moment to laugh!) Next, realize that, since you've already "experienced" the worst, you can handle anything. Most of the time, reality does not present us with anything nearly as bad as what we imagined!


Heal Low Self Esteem:
SILENCING THE UNHELPFUL NEGATIVITY

Now that we know why we think these negative thoughts and try to talk ourselves out of the things we actually want to do, let's go over some strategies for silencing these voices. Before we do that, I want to tell you that as your courage and self-confidence starts to increase, those voices will start to fade away on their own. In other words, this isn't something you're going to have to battle or work on throughout your life. Sure, negative self-talk and negative thinking will pop up here and there, but overall it won't be a struggle in the long run.


The first step is to simply acknowledge that it's there. I want you to realize that it's ok to simply ignore that little voice in the back of your head when it's warning you of failure and trying to talk you into not even trying. While there are certainly times when that same voice serves a good purpose (like talking you out of jumping from a bridge), it doesn't benefit you when it tries to talk you out of going for a run in the morning.


Another good strategy is to prepare counter arguments. You know the voice in your head isn't completely rational and helpful. Focus instead on everything you have to gain from doing it anyway, or look at all the times you've succeeded in the past.


The most important lesson I want you to take away from today's post is that this negative thinking and self-talk will happen and that it's something you need to look out for. Once you know what it is, it's much easier to harness its power for good and get to work.


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