The Chicken or the Egg
If you suffer from low self-esteem, I would like you to ask yourself the following: Is my negative thinking and pessimism contributing to my low self-esteem, or is my low self-esteem causing my negative and pessimistic attitude?
Regardless, it’s absolutely critical that someone with low self-esteem retrain their faulty thinking .Let me give you some examples of two very different types of mentalities when dealing with self-esteem.
• People with low self-esteem believe they attract bad karma. Positive thinkers look at life’s circumstances as opportunities to grow and learn.
• Low self-esteemers look at life with a negative slant. They look at life as a struggle. Good self-esteemers look at life as a challenge and believe they can accomplish goals to get the desired results.
If you suffer from low self-esteem you will tend to see yourself as a victim. You believe that life has done you wrong. You let the devastation be the primary feeling. You use self-talk like, “This will ruin me.” “This is because I’m not good enough.” “I hate myself.” When bad things happen to people with healthy self-esteem they immediately look for ways to combat the situation. They use phrases like, “I’ll get around this.” “I can do it.” “This is just a stumbling block.”
You see, people with low self-esteem limit their own expectations. They don’t believe in themselves so they don’t believe great things can happen. When you like yourself, you believe you can achieve. You know you deserve it, and you look for ways to make your life happen.
Your attitude is the number one contributor to your self-view. If you downplay your character, your abilities, and your talents, you will never fully actualize as a person. When you have good self-esteem you recognize that you’re human, so you know your own limitations and as a result you work with them. A person with good self-esteem may have a tendency to procrastinate so they get into the daily habit of writing lists to keep them on track. A person with positive self-esteem may have trouble with numbers, so they pass on the bills to their spouse. A person with good self-esteem may like to sleep in, so the will work out a flex plan with their boss. You can see the difference is that they don’t chastise themselves for their limitations; they look at ways to move beyond them.
When you suffer from low self-esteem it’s easy to get caught up in the black-and-white thinking–the polarized thinking. When a negative occurs, it feels like a catastrophe. Healthy individuals assimilate the problem and immediately focus on the solution. Therefore, they don’t get caught up in the negativity. Then, they take it one step further by looking at the negative problem as a positive.
I remember a friend of mine who is in radio, who said, “When we get a bad review, I say to myself, ‘bad press is better than no press at all.'” I know a minister who says, “If a congregation member gets angry, at least I know they’re listening.” And a mother who says, “When my child berates me for my punishment, I know that I have done my job of finding an effective consequence.” These people took a negative and made it a positive, which reinforced their worth and contributed toward ongoing positive self-esteem.
If this is an area that needs fine-tuning in your life, I would encourage you to write out these five points to alter your thinking. It won’t happen on its own; you have to make it happen.