Strengthen Your Defenses. Boost Your Emotional Immune System in 3 Steps
Open to attack…What makes us emotionally vulnerable?
At the heart of many of our emotional complaints is low self-esteem. When we think poorly of ourselves and consistently judge our actions unfavourably, we leave ourselves vulnerable to psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and self-abuse. Daily challenges then only continue to compound these beliefs in a vicious cycle of low self-worth.
Dwindling confidence reserves…How does low self-esteem develop?
In most cases, our opinions about ourselves develop as a consequence of early life experiences. If those experiences were positive and affirming, our current self-image is likely to be confident and resilient. If they were difficult, painful and unresolved, then our self-image is likely to be shaky and susceptible to damage.
Negative early experiences leading to low self-esteem:
- Systematic punishment, neglect or abuse
- Absence of positive feedback such as praise or affection
- Failure to meet parental or peer group standards
- Dealing with other people’s stress
- Being the ‘odd one out’
Now recruiting! How can I increase my emotional t-cells?
A higher self-esteem not only makes daily life less challenging, but prevents festering negativity from causing us on-going mental health problems and dis-ease. In Psychology Today Dr. Guy Winch makes the observation that having higher self-esteem can do much more for us than simply allowing us to feel more self-assured and confident. High self-esteem creates an emotional reservoir from which we can meet daily issues constructively.
Start strengthening your emotional immune system now with these 3 steps:
1. Overcome anxious thinking
Get to the root of your anxieties about your self-worth. Ask yourself what or who has given you a low opinion of yourself? Find a quiet space to have a think, get a pen and paper, and start to write down some negative memories surrounding past achievements and your feelings about them now. This can be a challenging task to do alone so seek help from a therapist (link to our web). Often when we see events for what they are, the negative feelings surrounding them are reduced, if not discounted.
2. Combat self-criticism
Start evaluating your achievements more even-handedly. At the end of every day for one week, write down each thing you achieved that day, successful or not, and note the outcomes. Not only will you find that you achieved a lot more than you thought but that the results of your achievements were relevant and valued.
3. Build self-acceptance
Having now seen your achievements on paper, consider the things you think you failed at. Were they really failures? There is usually a range of factors which contribute to an outcome, not just our effort. If you consider this more daily, you can recognise your contributions clearly and have a more positive and true perspective on your capabilities. If you still feel that you failed, try to view yourself with compassion. Accepting a flaw is a key part of experience and points out where we need to focus our attention in the future.
We hope you find these tips useful in starting to address low self-esteem and raise your confidence. If low self-esteem is affecting your life, we can help. Get in touch with us now to discuss how