Our self-esteem is tied into our perceived flaws and the labels we give ourselves.
Has anything like this ever happened to you?
You told a joke to a large group of people, but no one laughed…
You accidently locked yourself out of the house, again…
You once kissed your best friend’s boyfriend in high school, it so wasn’t worth it…
We all do things from time to time that we later regret. Some of those things can have undesirable consequences for ourselves, or for others. But a part of being human is that we are all imperfect.
We are each made up of strengths and weaknesses, making us good at some things, and not as good as we’d like at other things.
Perhaps you were never very sporty, or you can’t hold a tune. Some people worry they aren’t smart enough, are too shy, too fat, socially awkward or unsuccessful.
Sadly, too many people see themselves as defective or as having something inherently wrong with them due to some sort of (perceived) failing on their part.
Seeing ourselves in this way can deeply affect our self-esteem. We start to make sweeping statements about how flawed we are based on one characteristic or behaviour.
The sum total of who you are is not that one part of your character, or the one mistake you might have made.
Let me make this super clear for you – YOU ARE NOT YOUR BEHAVIOUR.
Fortunately, there is a way to break the negative self-talk habit.
Start by making a concerted effort to stop and notice what you are telling yourself about yourself. You’ll probably find that you’re making solid statements, filled with absolutes – as in; there is no other possible way of looking at this situation.
You also want to avoid over-generalising. This too can be detrimental to your self-esteem as you start to see the failure as representative of all areas of your life.
- I’m such an idiot
- I’m so pathetic
- I’m totally incompetent
See how these statements are labels that have no wriggle room? Now try to elaborate on the statement. Get specific and talk to yourself like you would a friend.
- Whoops, that was silly of me, next time I’ll do it differently
- I’m finding things a little tough right now, but I’m working through it
- I’m not familiar with this software program, I’ll have to learn how to use it
Using more specific explanations of the situation stops us from tying the whole of our self-worth into one action or the one area we’re having difficulty with.
To start rebuilding your self confidence stop with the negative self-talk and start being more mindful about the things you say to yourself.
Give it a go and see just how much it improves your overall wellbeing.