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Why We Say What We Won’t Do (but Still Say It Anyway)

Why We Say What We Won’t Do (but Still Say It Anyway)

Every day we say a lot about what we want and will do.

“I want to pet a cat.”

“I want to buy a house for my parents.”

“I don’t want to be single anymore.”

“I will love you no matter what.”

“I will work harder in the future.”

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    It’s easy to make plans for the future. And we make resolutions all the time. Consider that a full 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.[1] And that a vast majority of relationships (plus many marriages) end as well with break-ups or divorce. The best intentions and the best-laid plans generally speaking end in failure.

    No one intended to lie

    In general, people make these kinds of promises or resolutions with the best intentions. They don’t want to fail; if anything, they want desperately to be right, to improve themselves, and to make their friends and family happy. So even if a resolution doesn’t work out, when they utter them, it’s far from a lie.

      People often speak without thinking. They say what comes to mind, but without really thinking it through. And what usually comes to mind is wishful thinking – the ideal result, not what’s possible and practical. It’s tempting to fantasize about a beautiful and perfect future: a good romantic relationship, to have the approval and respect of your parents, and to have a successful career.

      But how to get what you want is not always clear to you in the moment you utter it. It’s hard to see beyond just the easy, idealized image. The challenges you may come across, the disappointments and sadness you may face – none of that is anywhere to be seen in a daydreaming mind.

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      Wishful thinking often end in crushing disappointment

      The problem is this. Wishful thinking and fantasies will only end in disappointment if you don’t follow through. You disappoint your friends, your family, your boss, and – most importantly – yourself. This can really take a toll on your own psyche and sense of self-worth.

            At a personal level, you’ll have so many unfulfilled dreams and goals. This is an incredibly common situation for people everywhere. As a teenager, you might have dreamed of what your life would be like as an adult: happily married and with a successful and high-earning career by the time you’re 25. But these are two seriously challenging goals that take planning and effort. Many people find themselves alone and in a dead-end job – rather than a career – wondering where they went wrong.

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                On an interpersonal level, making empty promises is hurtful and damaging to relationships. Friendship and healthy family relationships are built on trust. People who want to be your friend take you at your word and expect you to follow through. If you tell your friends that you’ll “be there for them,” but never pick up the phone, they will be hurt and no longer want to hang out. The same is true for family or even professional relationships. You might find it tempting to tell your boss that you’ll finish a major project “by the end of the week,” without considering whether this is plausible. If you are unable to complete the task in the timeframe that you set, it’s not easy to regain your boss’s trust.

                Keep what you want to yourself

                It’s vital to be clear about what you want. Notice when people around you are prone to saying “I want ___” and “I don’t want ____.”

                Kids are very prone to saying all their wants out loud, partly because they don’t have the independence and resources to get it themselves. This is why children and young people are often vague about what they want in the future. They have lots of wants without a concrete plan on how to get them.

                This is one of the challenges of being an adult. As you gain the practical ability to provide for yourself, and as you learn from your mistakes, it’s more and more important to be clear about how you plan to get what you want.

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                  Practice visualizing plans to attain your goals. For example, you might want a pet – everyone shares pictures of their dogs and cats on Instagram! But before you go out to adopt one at the shelter, make sure you visualize all the things you have to do to take care of your pet. Pet-ownership involves: cleaning up after it, house-training it, taking it to the vet, walking it, buying it food, and making sure that it gets plenty of stimulation and exercise.

                  If you want or need a car, think about how much you need to save to purchase the car, the cleaning and maintenance costs, how to pay for regular car insurance, parking costs, et cetera.

                    If you really want something, don’t just say it. Plan for it and do it. Create conditions that make what you want inevitable. Do small things consistently and make it a habit. You’ll amaze yourself and your friends if you constantly work on attaining your goals. Read more about how to follow through your goals here: Why I Can Be the Only 8% of People Who Reach the Goal Every Single Time

                    It’s easy to make or break promises. Set yourself apart from others by being reliable, deliberate, and thoughtful. Match your intentions with planning and action, and you’ll find that you’re happier with yourself and that your relationships are enriched.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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                    Brian Lee

                    Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

                    100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier 10 Best New Products That People Don’t Know About Book Summary: The Power of Habit in 2 Minutes 1 Minute Book Summary: How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less 2 Minutes Book Summary: Thinking Fast and Slow

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                    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                    Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

                    Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

                    People who have low self esteem are always hard on themselves. Sometimes they even cannot truly accept compliments because they would second guess people’s intentions.

                      In this article, we’ll look into the symptoms of a low esteem person and what you can do if you find yourself having self-esteem issues.

                      Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem Person

                      Common Symptoms

                      • Unable to trust your own opinion
                      • Always overthinking
                      • Afraid to take challenges, being worried you wouldn’t overcome them
                      • Hard on yourself but lenient with others
                      • Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil

                      Lesser-Known Symptoms

                      Being a workaholic

                      At work expectations are set clearly. Even if there’s pressure in the workplace, compared to relationships or the social world where so much is unknown and uncontrollable, work is more straightforward.

                      It’s easier to meet the expectations and perform well at work. Therefore, some people with low self-esteem would shift their focus to work and put all their energies there.

                      Overachieving or underachieving

                      Many of us have already heard that people with low self-esteem tend to be under-achievers as they’re too afraid to take new challenges and not confident enough to fully utilize their talents.

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                      However, there’s another extreme. Some of them are too anxious of failure and being rejected, so they will try their very best to be outstanding to prove their worth.

                      Causes of Low Self-Esteem

                      Most of the time it stems from our childhood. Here’re some negative early experiences that lead to low self-esteem:[1]

                      • Frequent punishment
                      • Frequent neglect
                      • Chronic abuse
                      • Harsh parental standards
                      • Being bullied/boycotted
                      • Being on the receiving end of someone else’s stress or despair
                      • Lack of praise, warmth and affection
                      • Staying in a family or group where other members are prejudiced towards

                      Childhood is when we form our “Bottom Line” and “Rules for Living” which affects the way we think, that’s why all the negative early experiences can have a very long-lasting effect on our adulthood.

                      How “Bottom Line” Affects Your Self-Esteem

                      “Bottom Line” is how you usually feel about something, based on your early experience. For example, “how you felt when you first left home becomes the emotional bottom line for when you leave other things in your life.”, according to therapist Robert Taibbi [2].

                      When we talk about self-esteem, the bottom line is about how people around you treat you, as we grow up taking the voices of people who are significant to us. Did they say you’re adorable, or you’re always not good enough? Did they neglect you that made you feel worthless?

                      That largely affects the way you view yourself and hence affect your self-esteem.

                      How “Bottom Line” Determines Your “Rules for Living

                      Based on the “Bottom Line”, we would form our “Rules for Living”, which are the strategies for dealing with life. For example, if you have the belief that you are always inferior to others, your Rules for Living would be “better not to speak up and to keep a low profile”.

                      How Low Self-Esteem Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

                      So what are the consequences of having low self-esteem?

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                      It Makes You Confuse Love with Low Self-Esteem

                      Having a low self-esteem, you expect people to treat you badly.

                      When people are being just quite nice to you, you feel overjoyed and have unrealistically good feelings for them. This can be easily mistaken as love and also scare people away who might be just interested in being friends with you (at first).

                      It Makes You Have a Lower Hand in the Relationship

                      As you think your partner is too good for you, you bear things that you shouldn’t stand for.

                      Sometimes you even confuse love with self-esteem. Are you giving in really because you love him/her so much or you just dare not to speak up and bargain?

                      It Makes Your Employers Feel That You’re Not Talented

                      People with low esteem sometimes are actually gifted. But they don’t know how to show it and “sell” themselves.

                      During meeting, they keep quiet, during presentation they speak weakly, during daily conversation they say “sorry” and “maybe” too often…As a result, employers and other colleagues perceive people with low esteem as people without much talents.

                      It Can Lead to Depression

                      Over time, low self-esteem can lead to depression according to a study done by University of Basel researchers.[3] Psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen added that low self-esteem is “a key factor in both the development and maintenance of depression”.

                      How to Improve Self-Esteem

                      As we can see, low self-esteem is a deeply rooted issue and leads to lots of consequences. To solve it, it’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. The key is, to use the right ways.

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                      1. Ignore All Those “Positivity” Advice

                      Very often, we hear people say “Stay positive”, “Hey cheer up!”. People with depression know all these do not help. It just makes them feel worse.

                      Same for low self-esteem, simply telling people “To me you’re wonderful!”, “You’re actually awesome”, “Why don’t you appreciate yourself more?”, or even worse “Hey you should be more confident” does not improve their self-esteem. Instead, they would feel inadequate or even guilty of their behavior.

                      2. Focus Elsewhere

                      “Healthy self esteem needs to emerge subtly.”[4]

                      Same as happiness, you don’t immediately feel happier when you tell yourself to be happier. You need some concrete ways to do so like pursuing a goal that truly matters to you, like spending quality time with your loved ones.

                      When you want to improve your self-esteem, don’t try too hard on thinking of ways to do so. There’s no direct way to improve it. It should be a by-product of our overall life’s satisfaction.

                      According to psychologist Abraham Maslow,[5] to live a fulfilling life, you should take care the 5 levels of human basic needs. To help you understand more about this psychological model we made a video to explain it:

                      Or you can refer to the graph below:

                      5 Levels of Human Basic Needs

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                        To focus elsewhere, we’ve summarized the above items and put them into this list for you:

                        • Deep connection with loved ones
                        • A healthy body
                        • Sense of control
                        • A meaningful life purpose
                        • Recognition and respect from others
                        • Sense of security
                        • Creativity

                        As you gradually equip yourself with the skills to fulfil the above needs, you’ll forget about self-esteem and suddenly you’ll find that you just feel proud of yourself when you know so much that others don’t.

                        Resources to Help Increase Your Self Esteem

                        To help you gradually build your self-esteem, here’s a list of the best self-help books that can help you fulfil the goals:

                        1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
                        2. Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
                        3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
                        4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
                        5. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health
                        6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Busines
                        7. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
                        8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
                        9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
                        10. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

                        The Bottom Line

                        If you find yourself having low self-esteem, don’t be hopeless. Have faith in yourself that you can regain self-esteem and become a confident and successful person.

                        How?

                        Understand the root causes of your low self-esteem and overcome these causes with the advice in this article.

                        Featured photo credit: Joe Gardner via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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