I’ve yet to meet anyone who can say that today’s stresses and strains do not take a toll on their feelings, so they don’t feel they need to reboot their self-worth. If they are, they are not living in the moment!
In the last few years, increasing pressures of social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and the dissolving of life/work boundaries, especially during COVID-19 can make you feel powerless and overwhelmed by demands.
Add to this the constant comparison with what seems to be the perfect lives of other people, as displayed across all our social media platforms and in advertising, and you can begin to understand how we can erode our dignity.
You might feel stuck in your negative mindset, stuck with the negative self-beliefs and expectations that were learned in your early childhood. Everyone was telling you who you were, what you could or couldn’t do, how you were expected to behave, and what you were expected to do. These messages stay with us into adulthood and are not always serving our best interests.
But your mindset, your set of beliefs, and expectations about yourself and the world can be changed anytime if you so desire. You can choose to reprogram your subconscious with beliefs that can help you feel better about yourself. Even better, just deciding to reboot your self-worth is a huge step in the right direction.
Approaches that may once have seemed a bit out there are now mainstream. Self-hypnosis, for example, is no longer for old hippies. Today, the number of people who meditate globally is estimated to be anywhere between 200 and 500 million. Businesses such as Goldman Sachs, General Mills, Google, Aetna, and Intel are some corporations that swear by mindfulness.
Some techniques that are accessible and effective and can be used separately or in combination are.
The internet makes the options available and easy to find and learn about, so you can quickly discover what works best for you.
Changing Your Negative Self-Talk
Changing your negative self-talk, and your negative mindset is a critical element in all these approaches. Negative self-talk, also known as your “Inner Critic,” is perhaps the dominant aspect of poor self-esteem. It keeps you down and passive. Negative self-talk keeps us small and safe. It reasons that if you don’t take risks, you won’t get hurt. And it speaks with the voices of the convincing adults from your childhood.
The good news is that you don’t need a magic wand to change your “Inner Critic.” You just need to look it square in the eye and challenge it.
- Give this short exercise to start bringing your negative beliefs about yourself out into the light.
- Close your eyes and take three deep, slow breaths.
- Relax your mind and then think of five things you like about yourself and five things you don’t like.
- Observe your reactions, the images that come into your head, and the words or phrases that pop up.
- Write them down.
Chances are the ‘don’t like’ column is quite a bit longer than the ‘like’ one. For the moment just look at the ‘don’t like’ column. How do they make you feel? Anxious? Guilty? Powerless?
And now the ‘like’ column. Are these good strong likes or are they a bit cautious, a bit tentative?
The images, phrases, words, and emotions these traits evoke tell you what your self-beliefs are. Negative beliefs can make you feel anxious, afraid, or guilty. But written down in the cold light of day you can look at them and judge for yourself. Are you, in fact, selfish/stupid/clumsy/no good with money? What is the evidence? Where does that belief originate? If you close your eyes and focus, whose voice is saying that? A parent maybe, an older sibling, a former partner, or a colleague?
Negative thinking feeds on fear. Not the reasonable fear of danger if you’re in the wilderness surrounded by bears, but the generalized anxiety and fear of failure that surrounds us in the twenty-first century. So many of us live in a constant state of fight or flight. We have countless calls on our time and attention, and we’re always trying to get ahead. We’re stressed, and our stress hormones are invariably high, keeping us in a negative thinking mode. If your self-beliefs and self-worth are grounded in fear, anxiety, expectation, or failure, the stress and negative thinking caused by that continually reinforce the problems.
The way to change this is to reprogram your mind.
Visual techniques like meditation, affirmations, visualization, mindfulness, and self-hypnosis draw on something you’re already very good at and turn it around. Imagination! The power to imagine possible future scenarios or to visualize past events is key to stopping “catastrophizing” (negatively imagining the future) and brooding or rehashing what you imagine as past failures.
Meditation is a powerful way of dealing with the stress of twenty-first-century living and builds your self-dignity. It’s one of the best ways to gain self-knowledge and to reflect on your true self. It gives you the chance to unplug from daily life for a while and deeply tune into your inner wisdom. Within your inner wisdom is where you will find and become acquainted with the real you who is powerful and awesome.
A meditation practice will positively impact your self-worth because it gives you the space to find it within, and to love yourself just the way you are. It keeps your focus in the present, undistracted by thoughts of the past or anxieties about the future. As a bonus, meditation is also good for your physical health. Your stress levels and your blood pressure will go down, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll think more clearly.
You can find meditation groups and classes in most areas, or you could even use one of the great apps available to learn to meditate. Many of the apps have guided meditations and instructions to help you get started.
Affirmations can sometimes get a bad rap – those silly memes that pop up on social media can seem simplistic and even patronizing. If you’re not feeling great about things, then being told that life is all unicorns and rainbows is not helpful.
However personalized affirmations can be useful tools in replacing some of that negative self-talk with messages that are more realistic and encouraging. You can combine these positive words with other techniques such as mindfulness and visualization to add extra punch to your self-work.
If you do the foundation work of identifying your negative self-talk and beliefs, you can then turn them around and come up with counter-messages that are meaningful for you. As long as you write these positive affirmations in the present tense, whatever resonates with you is what will work. Write them on Post-it notes and place them around your home. Put affirmations on your phone calendar, so they flash up as reminders, and start your morning off by reading them or saying them with an enthusiastic voice.
You probably don’t realize that you already ‘do’ visualizations every day. Whenever you daydream or think about your next holiday and even what you want to have for lunch – that’s visualizing. Visualizing is just imagining what you want.
You’re already very good at visualizing, and using visualization consciously harnesses that powerful tool! But instead of imagining adverse events, now you control the process and focus that power on getting what you want, starting with more self-confidence. You can visualize yourself in different situations being confident and capable, for example. There’s no wrong way to do this, and it takes as little as 5-10 minutes a day to activate the part of your brain that creates your reality.
You can incorporate visualizations into your meditation practice, journal them, or even make a vision board with the things you experience during visualization.
To learn more about this process, search for EFT online. You’ll discover thousands of videos and websites that will give you all the details.
Hypnotherapy and Self-Hypnosis
Hypnotherapy is based on the power of suggestion and using the unconscious mind to change what may seem like fixed beliefs or states of mind. You don’t lose consciousness, and you can come out of the hypnotic state at any time. Contrary to the popular view of hypnosis, you stay in control at all times. It is powerful and can help you dig deep and change those negative messages laid down in childhood and reinforced by expectations and experiences.
Hypnotherapy has been used by psychotherapists for decades to change patterns of thought and feelings that are no longer serving you. It is extremely effective for challenging self-doubt and boosting self-esteem.
You can even learn how to hypnotize yourself. Self-hypnosis draws on visualization and gets you into a relaxed meditative state to replace that negative self-talk with more positive self-beliefs. There are a variety of books and programs available to teach you simple techniques for self-hypnosis.
Part of rebooting your self-worth is taking control and believing you can change your beliefs about yourself and your capabilities. And you can decide to do it your way, the way that suits you best. You don’t have to find a therapist or commit to years of therapy or professional counseling. Similarly, you don’t have to invest in an expensive workshop, high-priced sessions, or even an online course to start to build your self-esteem.
There are more options available than ever before for you to take control of your life and work through the beliefs and thought patterns that are holding you back from being your best you.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde
Meditation is a habit that may come easily to some. I have been meditating for over five years, but there were many days I found myself slipping. These days, not so much, not since I completed the no-cost Action Habits Challenge by Connie Ragen Green, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur. You can check it out here.
If you’re interested in revitalizing your life through meditation and would like to learn a virtually risk-free and cost-effective practice that people of all ages can do with a little patience and guidance and that will serve you for the rest of your life, I would love to connect with you. You can connect with me here.
I’m Donna SLam, I love to blog about how meditation brings self-compassion, peace of mind, and clarity to my life and others by sharing tips and strategies on how to live a fulfilling and purposeful life. I enjoy championing others to lead a healthy and happy life through meditation, walking, self-development, and spending time with loved ones.
I absolutely love connecting with all of you, and I truly appreciate your messages. If you want to reach me directly, the best way is through email at Donna@DonnaPresents.com. Feel free to drop me a line anytime!
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