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One Solid Practice for Tackling Low Self-Esteem

One Solid Practice for Tackling Low Self-Esteem

Psychology websites and self-help gurus often suggest an exercise for tackling low self-esteem issues. They say to write daily in a journal and list accomplishments for the day: one way you helped someone and one experience you enjoyed.

This is a decent idea, as studies have shown that gratitude is a powerful anti-depressant. In addition, practicing gratitude has been shown to build a positive self-esteem “habit” of sorts. However, this practice seems to lack the “umph” low self-esteemers need – it fails to get to the root of the issue. A gratitude practice is a bit more relevant to someone suffering from depression (e.g. listing experiences you enjoyed could evoke happiness), but not necessarily higher self-esteem. These are two separate feelings.

Low self-esteem can be a nasty, all-encompassing problem that plagues individuals throughout their entire lives. Many desperately hide it, while others wallow in it, hoping to gain the approval and sympathy of others. Low self-esteem can overshadow who you are, ruin entire days of your life, give people the wrong impression of you, and discourage you from pursuing great opportunities.

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Worst of all, we often feel like we have little to no control over how we feel about ourselves. “I’m overweight, so how am I supposed to feel confident?” Or, “I got fired recently, so how on earth would I feel competent?” External circumstances are given all the power.

Recounting past accomplishments is certainly a good start, but for someone who has just suffered a huge blow to their self-esteem, or someone who has dealt with chronic low self-esteem their while life, it’s going to take a lot more than this sort of exercise.

So what else must you do to tackle your low self esteem?

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Remind yourself of your rights

People with low self-esteem have a tendency to mercilessly berate themselves and even let others walk all over them. If it gets severe enough, they may even lose touch with their desires and goals, or stop pursuing things they enjoy. They start to forget themselves.

So instead of writing down past accomplishments, why not write down what you deserve every day?

I have the right to…

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  • take a full day off from work
  • not care about what people think
  • wear whatever I want without explanation
  • make my environment safe and comfortable
  • go after what seems fun
  • tell people what I actually think

etc, etc, etc.

At the end of this list, you won’t merely feel happier, you’ll feel powerful–and power is exactly what low self-esteemers lack and need more of (at least that’s how they feel).

Develop a daily habit of listing everything you deserve in a notebook, or grab a huge poster board and display your list unabashedly on your wall. Add to it every day, or make a new one every day. Even if your list is always the same, you are training your brain to view yourself as powerful and deserving. Tackling low self-esteem isn’t a one-time task, but a nurturing lifestyle you must adopt.

So, what if you’re so out of touch with your rights, you’re not even sure what they are (or aren’t)?

Start with this basic rule: Your rights include anything that: a) improves your life, and b) doesn’t cause damage to others’ lives. So, venting anger at people who annoy you? Maybe not so much. But directly telling someone that they are making you uncomfortable when they are? Definitely your right.

Even if you have a healthy level of self-esteem, this is an uplifting exercise that can bring clarity and even help with decision-making. If you’re on the low side, this exercise can serve as a vital reminder to stop ignoring your rights and let the negative feelings fall to the wayside. Go on and have yourself a (healthy) power trip.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

1. Become Grateful for Everything

When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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3. Help Others

Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

4. Change Your Thinking

We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

6. Get into Action

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

You are responsible for your thoughts.

People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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