Increasingly these days, we wake up to a lot of news about how things are not right with the world. As it happens, there is also a lot of good going on, but in these days of instant global communications and social media, it sometimes seems like the number and significance of bad outweighs the good by a large margin.
What does this have to do with you individually, and your self-esteem, you might well ask?
Well, there is a part of all of us that – in a misguided effort to keep us safe from harm and disappointment – wants to criticize our mistakes and shortcomings, and keep us from being too big, bold and brave in the things we’re willing to attempt. You know what I’m talking about right? That inner voice that just wants to cut you down to size when you “mess up” in some way? Take a pause and listen for a moment. What’s it saying about you?
As we go through life we are constantly bombarded with messages that cause us to worry about things that could go wrong, feel anxious about things that already seem to have gone wrong, or insecure about our ability to make things go right. And while we all feel uncertain, worried, angry, scared, etc. at various times, it’s what we say and do to ourselves when these uncomfortable feelings arise that makes all the difference.
I heard someone on the news recently say about a politician that nobody runs for president of a country without being extremely confident and, as we might put it in slang, “full of themselves.” While that may be true, and while some of the candidates that rise to the top seem overly self-satisfied and focused only on their own success, it’s also true that the ones who truly want to make a positive difference ALSO could never win an election without being consistently positive about their ability to do the job they are asking people to elect them for.
So I invite you to consider this: What would you attempt, and what might you accomplish, if you had the same sort of unfailing confidence and drive to do things you’ve never done?
Feels good just thinking about it, right?
The key is to banish your self-defeating thoughts and feelings, so they don’t prevent you from taking the actions needed to achieve your dreams. Here’s how:
- Take a few moments to stop, breathe and focus. Identify five things that trigger feelings of anxiety, worry, or insecurity deep within you. Is it bad news on TV? An upcoming performance review with your boss? A phone call you’re dreading? Paying bills? Riding in elevators? Someone being mad at you?
- Allow yourself to acknowledge the emotions that are triggered when you imagine being in each of the situations you’ve identified. It’s really important to know what the triggers are, and which feelings they bring up. You want to be able to quickly identify them whenever they interrupt a previously comfortable state of mind.
- Take a deep breath and notice your physiological response. Do you feel a knot in your stomach, tightness in your neck and shoulders, headache, fatigue? Your body is putting you on alert, and a chain reaction is about to begin. That’s because this is not just about coping with that external “negative situation,” but about how you feel or think about yourself. What do you feel?
- Notice the mindset you go into: are you immobilized, agitated, depressed, overwhelmed, insecure, scared? Do you suddenly become sleepy, weepy, panicky, agitated? Do you feel powerless and/or helpless?
- What are the words you use about yourself? Do you call yourself names? Do you tell yourself you’re crazy, stupid, ridiculous, worthless? If the situation involves another person, do you call them names in your head?
STOP! BREATHE! FOCUS!
These are the negative feelings and beliefs that undermine your overall self-worth. Now do one more simple thing: Change those words, feelings and your weak or negative mindset. Choose the thoughts, beliefs and words that strengthen you and encourage you to try the things you’ve been avoiding – right now!
Breathe slowly and deeply and allow the message to flow through you and around you: “I honor and respect the person I am, with all my awesome potential! I respect the journey I am on to grow and learn and succeed. Who I am is enough!!”
You really can change your whole world and what’s possible in it by changing the way you approach the things that would trigger you and stop you. It doesn’t happen all at once, but you can change everything one area at a time, as you focus on each one and shift your thinking and emotions.
I guarantee you, this deliberate reframing of challenging circumstances into what’s possible and how to feel great about it is what every successful politician, business person, and community leader does. Some are lucky enough to have been “born with” an ability to shift their thinking whenever it goes in a negative or self-defeating direction. Others have learned this skill, and you can too!
So if you want to feel better, and play bigger in your own life (who knows – maybe you’ll decide to run for elective office!), it’s time for you to let negative and self-defeating thoughts and feelings go, forever! It’s time to replace them with positive affirmations about yourself succeeding, winning, and making a difference to others – because the people in your life, and the bigger world out there, need you – and you need you – to step up, shake it off, and become the powerful, “peaceful warrior” that you are meant to be!
Starting today, feeling “less than” is no longer an option in your life. You are choosing to move beyond those limiting beliefs and all the ways they have derailed you.
I can’t wait to hear what you’re accomplishing with your new choices of how to think and feel! Email me your stories of the differences you are noticing, both big and small. I look forward to celebrating with you!
Need some ongoing, targeted support and encouragement in those challenging moments? Get on-the-spot guidance and ideas for handling whatever you’re dealing with. It’s like having me there so you can ask a question any time – but with the convenience of being right there on your bookshelf, coffee table or by your bed – ready to provide the help you need, whenever you need it! Order your copy now of my book, Being Well Within: From Distressed to De-Stressed. Click HERE – I’ll even personalize the book for you and/or someone you love! …And we BREATHE!