How you feel about yourself may seem like an impassable road block to changing how you feel about yourself, especially if insecurity and low self-esteem are part of the change-order.
Curing insecurity and low self-esteem is ultimately about changing your self-image, and therefore the core beliefs that create it in the first place. And that requires an awareness of how the mind misleads you with false beliefs about yourself.
There are two different core beliefs that fuel a negative self-image. If you suffer from insecurity and low self-esteem, you may recognize these sneaky predators:
- The belief that you are not good enough (and therefore don’t deserve love, success, etc.).
- The belief that you have to live up to an image of success that you have for yourself — i.e., perfectionism.
When you create and feed in your mind an image of what you should be, you set yourself up for the very failure you are trying to avoid. Your mind automatically goes to work comparing your current reality with your expected reality, and when you aren’t living up to your own expectations, your mind lets you know.
You may be able to point to times when you have judged yourself, or even felt like your own worst enemy because you did not approve of your imperfect self. That self-rejection carries your happiness down with it, leaving plenty of room for insecurity and low self-esteem.
While it may seem like double-speak to tell a person in a state of emotional doldrums to “just change” the beliefs that control the feelings that feed the beliefs…it is possible.
Awareness is the first step. If you can at least acknowledge the presence of your self-condemning thoughts and the beliefs hidden beneath them, you will be well on your way to gaining mastery of your mind and your sense of self.
Here are some helpful tips for being your self-esteem’s best advocate:
- Stop “shoulding on yourself.”
Realize that you are good enough, even if you have to say so in your mind until your heart catches up. And take the word “should” out of your self-talk so that you will have space for loving responses like acceptance and approval. The goal is to change the image of who you believe you should be, and breaking off your relationship with perfectionism.
- Stop comparing.
It’s tough enough living up to your own imagination but living up to others (let alone their imaginations) is impossible. Social media is a breeding ground for insecurity and low self-esteem, as most personal posts show only the best snapshots of a person’s life. It can be deflating to constantly live vicariously through other people’s vacations, promotions and Powerball wins.
The subconscious mind is a powerful thing, and when left to itself, it will even control its own exposure. When you put your feelings and beliefs onto paper (or the computer screen), you force the subconscious to become visible, and therefore conscious. Now you can see the truth…and do something about it.
- Stop judging.
If you have difficulty stopping the flow of judgmental thoughts, make the commitment to replacing an emerging judgment with a compliment. Doing so will get you into the practice of controlling your thoughts and replacing the negative ones with positive ones.
- Call your own bluff on the “imposter syndrome.”
If you are avoiding life because you believe you have nothing to offer and it’s only a matter of time before people find out, take the risk. You don’t have to sign up to give a TED Talk — just get out into life. Set realistic goals for yourself.
One of the easiest (and ultimately most beneficial) strategies is to combat your self-focus by focusing on others. Ask about them. Let them fill the air waves while you demonstrate interest and understanding. Before you know it, you will have new friends who genuinely want to know the real you.
- Focus on the effort, not the outcome.
Evaluate yourself on the effort you put into something, as that is all you can control. The outcome is out of your hands, and should therefore be outside the criteria for your self-image.
Insecurity and low self-esteem ride the same wave of low self-worth and high self-expectation. Curing them both at the same time is possible when the core beliefs of not being good enough but needing to be perfect are seen for the perjurers they are. And choosing to love yourself unconditionally will help you to see yourself in a whole new light.
Looking for more support in elevating your self-esteem and feeling more confident? We can help. You can reach us here.