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Last Updated on February 15, 2018

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 January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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