Many of my clients come to me with low self-esteem. An underlying feeling of not being ‘good enough’. Sadly this negative self-image can have an impact on every area of our lives, and we find our mind-reading skills go into overdrive: ‘She doesn’t like me because I’m stupid/awkward.’ Or, ‘He’ll never give me that job – I’m just not confident enough’. Or even: ‘I know they talk about me behind my back –because I’m not the right size/shape’… Or a thousand other negative put downs that we can tell ourselves daily.
Having a bit of self motivation to learn a new skill or enhance your life in some way is a great thing – there’s always room for improvement! But when all of your ‘self talk’ is negative, and you never feel ‘good enough’ then it becomes a problem.
Sometimes, when I’ve asked clients to tell me about their qualities, they’ve just stared back at me blankly – they believe they don’t have any. They couldn’t think of even one thing about themselves that was positive. So in times like this, I take a different approach, and ask ‘What would your partner, mum, colleague, friend or children say about you?’ And suddenly a list of positives emerge – slowly at first, but gathering momentum the more they search. We seem to recognise that other people might say good things about us, but often we fail to see these qualities in ourselves.
How often do we tell ourselves we’re not good at something? Incapable of learning new things? Not good at relationships? Useless, even. But there was a time, long ago, when you couldn’t talk or walk, tie a shoe lace or ride a bike, and when you first started to learn to drive? It felt impossible, right? Now, as adults, these skills are automatic – simple – we don’t even think about how to do them – we just take these achievements for granted.
And I wonder how many other skills you’ve picked up along the way, that you just take for granted? As a parent, friend, at work, with hobbies – how many skills have you mastered that are now so automatic you no longer consider them an achievement?
So go easy on yourself. The next time you catch your mind-monkey putting you down, just take a moment to consider how many skills you’ve acquired over your life – how much you’ve achieved on a physical and mental level – and how many people you’ve helped or guided or supported along the way. Get your trumpet out and give it a big blow! You’re far better than you think!
Try following these tips to move to a more confident, happy you!
- Write a list of all the things you’ve achieved, or are good at. (This can be as simple as cooking, or maths, or being a good listener…)
- Be kind to yourself. If you catch yourself having negative thoughts, ask yourself if you’d say those things to anybody else you know. If they’re not appropriate for anybody else, then they’re not appropriate for you, either!
- Copy other confident peoples’ behaviour. If you know (or have seen on TV) somebody looking and sounding confident, try to emulate them. What would they do, say or be feeling? Note their body language, how do they sound? Copy them!
- Go out of your comfort zone as often as you can. Baby steps, but they all count!
- Set yourself a new goal. Join a class, or social group, or take up a new hobby. Surprise yourself at how good you can be at something new.
Go for it! And enjoy…
Please accept this blog in the spirit in which it is offered. I am intending only to give you some light hearted food for thought here – not reams of indigestible facts that you can find elsewhere all over the internet. If any of the suggestions ring a bell for you – great. This is a simplified version to give you a taster, so if your problem is more serious, and you feel you need more in-depth professional help, please contact me. I can help you identify any underlying issues that may be holding you back, and allow you to kick-start the process of moving you forward again. And of course, if you feel the need to visit your GP please go straight away. NLP, hypnotherapy and counselling are not a substitute for professional medical advice, but a complementary therapy. Thank you for reading this, and I hope to meet you soon.