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The Voice Inside Your Head Is Playing with You

The Voice Inside Your Head Is Playing with You

When LeBron James talked about his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat back in 2010, he was met with a barrage of negativity. People burned his jersey. Longtime fans turned on him.

    Leborn was able to create distance from the situation simply by changing how he talked about the situation,[1]

    I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James, and what LeBron James was going to do to make him happy.

      He was facing a negative situation and the negative reactions of fans, but he was able to use positive words to explain his decision. If he would have responded to the negativity directly by saying, “yes I’m sad that people burned my jersey, it makes me feel unappreciated and vulnerable”, the situation and the negativity would have grown worse.

      The critical voice inside our head

      Most don’t realize it, but as we go about our daily lives, we are subconsciously interpreting every situation that arises–both big and small. We have an internal voice inside our mind that shapes our perception about what we are experiencing.

      Some of our internal conversations can be negative, unrealistic, self-defeating and self-deprecating. We say things like, ‘I’m going to fail for sure’, or ‘I didn’t do well. I’m hopeless. I’m useless.’

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      Negative self-talk can come from:

      • A bad mood that stirs up negative thoughts.
      • The habit of being overly critical which may stem from your childhood.
      • Pessimism and always expecting the worst.
      • Negative past experiences and the persistent belief that history repeats itself.
      • Fear, anxiety, worries, depression and the different kinds of psychological problems that feed and perpetuate negative thinking.

      The consequences of negative self-talk builds over time. Each time you engage in negative self-talk, you shoot yourself an arrow. Each arrow by itself is fairly insignificant. But over time, it can break you. Repeatedly berating yourself and believing the worse slowly sabotages you.

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            Thinking of yourself as clumsy, a loser, ugly , stupid, insignificant or worthless is an indicator that your self-talk is negative and you may be slowly orchestrating your own demise. Internal negativity makes you see yourself as irreparably flawed, inadequate or incompetent and as a result your self confidence is diminished.

            Seeing yourself as hopeless, blaming yourself whenever something goes wrong or dwelling on worst-case scenarios are all examples of exaggerated, negative thought patterns. And this kind of distorted thinking can cause you to spiral downward until you’re so far down you are unable to see or imagine anything positive.

            Negative self-talk reinforces any irrational ideas you already have. Each time you mentally rehearse negative phrases, you strengthen those irrational beliefs and perceptions. And with time, your negativity gathers the strength to cripple–and in some cases– even kill you.

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            Ridding yourself of negative self-talk

              Replacing a negative mindset with a positive one requires slow and methodical effort. Here are a few steps that can help you recognize, stop and replace negative thoughts with positive ones:

              1. Identify the times negative self-talk arises.
              2. Identify what triggered those thoughts.
              3. Counter your negative thoughts with positive–factual ones.
              4. Create yourself a script that you can use to counter negative thoughts as soon as they arise.

              When thoughts such as “I am worthless” arise, counter them with more realistic thoughts such as “my kids need me” or “my colleague values my work.” Each time you counter negative statements with positive facts, your negative thoughts lose power.

              Try to view each situation objectively, like an outsider looking in and then try to determine what is best for that person (you) in that situation, similar to what Lebron James did.

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              Repeating this cycle over and over trains your mind to seek out and focus on the positive. And slowly positive thoughts will become your default. You have power over how you precieve life and how you interact with it. The first step in being fulfilled and achieving your goals begins by training that small voice in your head to speak positivity.

              Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

              Reference

              More by this author

              Anna Chui

              Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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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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