There’s a lot of talk about self esteem... but I get the feeling that, for the majority, it can seem to elude us at times... or maybe ALL the time, or perhaps we‘re just a little uncertain as to how positive self esteem should feel.
WHAT IS IT?? It really defines how much a person appreciates and values themselves, regardless of any circumstances. Your core sense of inner confidence, sense of belonging and feelings of competence and worth.
WHY DOES IT MATTER??
Relationships of all natures, emotional health and stability plus decision making processes can all be influenced by our self esteem. Positive self esteem can help us to realise our potential, make and achieve goals, and feel more positive and optimistic.
Whilst it can prove difficult to evaluate our own sense of self worth, we can invariably spot someone else who we believe has great self esteem. Maybe it’s something about the way they talk, move, or engage... or perhaps something even more subtle, in their demeanour, that just tells us they’ve got it. Of course, they may well be experiencing all kinds of self doubts and insecurities of their own. Low self esteem... the best kept secret.
With clients, it’s almost exclusively discussed in terms of its absence rather than it‘s abundance, with the common theme being “I’ve NEVER been confident/sure of myself/ high in self esteem“. Although it may feel that way, we’re not simply born with low self esteem, so what’s the cause?
Well, a number of factors can play a contributory part, such as genetics, socioeconomic factors or illness for example, but our experiences and thought patterns are likely to have the major impact. If the word stupid, lazy or shy is cast in your direction enough times, you may well adopt that label as “part of self”; no longer an opinion, but simply a “fact“. Of course, this isn’t the case but, pre-maturity, we absorb all sorts of messages and information with limited awareness or context. We call these “false lessons”.
Experiences are sometimes well out of our control. Those very experiences may well shape our thought patterns and how we think about ourselves; discriminatory behaviour, bullying, critical assessments from friends or family, or just exposure to bold, confident siblings or friends.
So, if we can’t always change the experiences, what about our thought patterns? It can often feel as though our thoughts are also out of our control, somehow happening on auto-pilot, without our free will. Thought patterns can feel as habitual and natural as breathing or eating, BUT, they CAN be changed. YOU are in control. An indication of low self esteem can be having repeated and well-ingrained, unwanted thoughts about ourselves, such as “I‘ll probably make a fool of myself“. This creates a neural pathway in the brain, making it easy to revisit this thought at any opportunity that presents itself.
There are some excellent and very effective ways to manage this in hypnotherapy, but you can take steps to change those thoughts right now.
1) be clear on what your negative self beliefs or thoughts are
2) decide on a preferred thought about yourself (maybe something like “I’m good enough” or “I can do this” or “I’m doing my best”)
3) when you notice the unwanted thoughts, CHOOSE to interrupt it with your preferred thought
4) practice saying your preferred thought (affirmation) whenever you look in a mirror... you can just say it in your head if you’re in public 😉
By repeatedly doing this, you are effectively breaking the old thought pattern and recreating a new habit and neural pathway, to improve your sense of self esteem.
For more information and support in boosting self esteem and ditching helpful thoughts and self beliefs, get in touch.