Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people struggle with low self-esteem.
To start off, what is self-esteem and why is it so important?
Self-esteem is a person’s overall sense of their own worth and value. It is influenced by many factors, including our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. People with high self-esteem believe in themselves and their abilities. They are confident and capable of handling challenges. People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, often feel unworthy and inadequate. They may be hesitant to take risks or try new things. Self-esteem is important because it affects our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, are more likely to:
- Avoid challenges: People with low self-esteem often avoid challenges because they are afraid of failing.
- Give up easily: People with low self-esteem often give up easily when faced with challenges.
- Be passive: People with low self-esteem are often passive and do not take initiative.
- Have unhealthy relationships: People with low self-esteem are more likely to be in unhealthy relationships. They may be drawn to people who are controlling or abusive.
So now that we know what self-esteem is and why it is important, what can we do to improve it?
Use positive self-talk!
Self-talk is the internal monologue that we have with ourselves, this can be positive or negative and can influence how we see ourselves and in turn affect our self-esteem. Our self-talk is influenced by our own beliefs and values.
So, what can you do to improve your self-talk?
I have found that reviewing your self-talk and then challenging it has been of great assistance with clients who have been struggling with their self-esteem, and this has been with the help of the “Listen, Learn and think it through exercise” (Mead, 2019)
So how do we get started?
Step one – Listen to yourself.
Keep a diary with you for a week and pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Make note of whether your self-talk is:
- Positive or negative?
- Are there scenarios, people or occasions that affect your self-talk?
- What would a friend or family member say if they heard you talking to yourself in that way?
- Are there any patterns in your self-talk?
Step two – Learn from what you have noted down during the week.
Assess the following:
- What thoughts come up the most for me?
- Why do they come up?
- How would I feel if I changed my negative self-talk to positive self-talk?
- What might I achieve if I practiced more positive self-talk?
The third step involves thinking through what you have noted down and challenged.
This will give you a chance to ask why you have had these thoughts:
- How big is this to me? May I be overreacting?
- Is this opinion based or fact based?
- Am I making assumptions?
Once you have worked out what you say to yourself, you can then start effectively reframing the negative self-talk with positive self-talk, for example:
Negative self-talk: What is the point of going to the party, everybody will think I am awkward and weird.
Positive self-talk: Meeting new people can be overwhelming, but I am a good person that has a lot to offer, I also cannot control what others think, say, or do; I can only control me.
The power self-talk has in changing how we view ourselves cannot be understated. It is a powerful tool that helps us to feel more confident, believe in ourselves, and allows us to show ourselves some compassion and patience. I believe it is one of the greatest forms of self-compassion and self-love.
Mead, E. (2019, September 26). PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved from What is Positive Self-Talk? (Incl. Examples): https://positivepsychology.com/positive-self-talk/
Author: Robert Ellison