This is one of the most common issues which I help clients with. I would like to offer a few suggestions, which you might find helpful, or at least food for thought.
- Positive thinking /Cognitive Re-framing
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Work on self-blame. You are not responsible for other people’s attitude towards you. You cannot change what others think about you.
- Try not to be a perfectionist – being good enough is ok.
- Be true to yourself – trying to live up to others’ expectations is a recipe for disaster.
- Trust your instincts.
Are you a glass half full or half empty person? If you are the latter, then you might be aware of your negative thought patterns. Do you spend a lot of time worrying about the future, about things that might never happen? Or do you live in the moment as much as possible and enjoy what you have right now? Cognitive re-framing helps us to change our thought patterns eg. you see someone in the street who you know and they walk right past you without speaking. Do you wonder what you’ve done to upset them and feel rejected? Or do you think “perhaps they’ve got a lot on their mind and didn’t even see me”. There is always an opposite point of view to the negative one that first pops in to your mind.
This is flavour of the month at the moment and you might think it’s just another fad which will pass in time. However, there is scientific proof that ten to twenty minutes of meditation each day can change the way you feel. Find a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed, focussing on your breathing, being aware of each breath you take. Thoughts will flit in and out of your mind – let them come and go and each time re-focus on your breathing. Over time you will get better at it.
Reminding yourself that you are not responsible for other people’s thoughts and actions or what they think of you, can go a long way towards removing self-blame from your core beliefs.
Oh- what a lot this word has to answer for. Are you a perfectionist? Do you never allow yourself to make mistakes? Does everything you touch have to be done to impossibly high standards? Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having high standards, it’s when they start to get in the way of our happiness and undermine our self-esteem that they become a problem. Being a good enough partner, parent, son/daughter, employee or friend, is perfectly acceptable ( excuse the pun).
Be true to yourself
I know you’ve heard this before, but it does no harm to remind yourself once in while. We spend half our childhood trying to live up to others’ expectations and it’s difficult to drop the habit once we reach adulthood. It may take time and patience to work out which bits of you are adopted beliefs from parents, or significant others and which bits really belong to you.
Trust your Instincts
In the 21st century, it has become unfashionable to go with our instincts or gut feelings. The rational mindset has taken over – we need evidence for everything to prove that it exists or works. Sometimes it takes faith and belief in your feelings about a person or situation, to act on them, even though everyone else might think you’ve lost your mind.
Sometimes it can feel quite lonely when you’re struggling with an issue like self-esteem. Face-to-face counselling gives you an opportunity to test out your innermost thoughts and feelings, on someone who will listen to you without judging or giving advice.Most of all a counsellor will accept you for who you are, unconditionally, with no strings attached. Please see below for links to Therapist Directories.