I haven’t written anything for some time purely and simply because I haven’t been in the right frame of mind to write. Today however I took some time for self care and went for a massage as I felt like my poor back was about to snap and while I was laying on the couch an idea hit me that made me excited and fired up enough that here I am tapping away on my keyboard for the first time in months.
I have harped on here for about two years now about my ongoing battle with depression and anxiety. In particular my issues with low (well, lack of self esteem) and it occurred to me that I have built up some pretty amazing tools to help me and how much I would like to pass these on to others. I am in no way a counsellor or therapist and I have no particular qualifications in anything in this field (I do make an amazing cuppa though!) However I know it helps me to set myself little tasks every so often to promote self care and make me appreciate me a bit more. So, what I would like to do is this, I want to write a fortnightly piece about self esteem and set a task or a challenge that you can take part in to help you boost your own self esteem and to let us all know that we are not alone.
So I know what you are thinking, why am I doing this? Well it’s a long answer. Because I feel I need to. I am not a company, I am not a life coach or someone who has all the answers but I am someone who has been through the hell that low self esteem and mental health issues can cause and am committed to improving my own life using the many tools I have been given in my journey. These have come from many sources and some I have adapted myself to assist in my battle. I will reference some of these amazing people but I am not sponsored or affiliated with them in anyway. I simply want to help and I know that something like this would help me and that can only be a good thing.
If you would like to get involved and find that the tasks and reading what I write is helping then please let me know. I would be really grateful for any feedback. Perhaps one day I can set up local self esteem meetings and have events but for now lets start with a little bit on self esteem and a little task. I will do the task here for you to see.
Self esteem is defined as ‘confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect’ I wonder how many of us on a daily basis have some sort of crisis in our self esteem. Have you ever told yourself that you can’t do it, that you aren’t good enough or that you aren’t worthy of something. Only this morning I talked myself out of putting on a pair of jeans I hadn’t worn in ages as I am too fat for them to fit. This is my brain telling me this, not based on any kind of scientific weight measurement or actually trying on the jeans themselves just my brain being nasty to me which sadly it often is.
Our self worth and respect is often something that we do very little with as we are used to it being a certain way and you almost fall into a habit of carrying on with a negative pattern of thinking. ‘I can’t run, there is no point in trying’ so you don’t run, you don’t try in case that nasty inner voice is right but you don’t feel any better for not trying you just feel crappy as you have told yourself you are useless at something. My Dr recently said something to me that really resonated. He said ‘there is nothing you can’t achieve, all you need is time and effort’. When you put it like that it seems really simple doesn’t it. You can run marathons if you train and build up to it, you can pass exams if you study and revise, you can lose weight if you eat fewer calories and exercise more and you can believe in yourself and make changes in your life if you focus on doing just that and give some time back to yourself.
Time is one of those things that none of us have enough of and so often we put ourselves on the back burner for other things that take a higher priority such as the weekly food shop, housework, tasks at work and any other number of pulls to your time on a daily basis. My family comes first because that is the way it has to be, I work to earn money to go towards the mortgage and provide all the things we need. That means that alongside the time spent being a mum and having a career time for me is limited BUT I still make it where I can because I have found it is an absolute essential for my mental health.
You can’t pour from an empty cup and all the things I mention above would collapse if I am not okay and to be okay I need to be happy with who I am no matter what my negative and nasty inner voice is telling me.
Here is task one……. I want you to write down three things that have affected your self esteem this week. If you are anything like me this will be easy in fact you could probably write twenty but lets keep it to three. Here are mine:
- I am so fat its grotesque
- I am a failure and I always will be
- People don’t like me
Now what I want you to do and this is the hard bit is to write down something to challenge each negative thought. Whatever that may be. So here goes……
- I haven’t been eating well as I’ve been down so I know that if I cut down on things like sharing packs of peanut m&m’s on a nightly basis I will lose some weight
- I have failed at things in the past but hasn’t everybody and doesn’t it make me a stronger person for next time? I can’t let it break me, I must let it make me
- Some people don’t like me and there is nothing I can do about it so I can make myself miserable worrying or I can smile and know that no one can please everybody. Plus I am blessed to have some pretty amazing people who do like me and for that I am massively grateful.
Now I want you to read back over both sets of points. How does it make you feel? I didn’t like reading over the first three points but when I read the second three challenging those thoughts my mind opened up a bit. I thought about these challenges and how much more logical they are than my irrational, nasty thoughts to myself. In fact they are quite obvious and I almost feel daft feeling the way I do about the top three points. But that’s the thing with low self esteem. It’s not rational, it doesn’t follow common sense and it doesn’t allow us to feel the most sensible way.
By taking the time to look at these negative thoughts head on we can challenge our own thoughts about ourselves and this practice can massively help at a time of crisis or just self reflection. How did you find this task? Was it helpful and would you like to do the next one? Please get in touch and let me know.
I hope this has been useful. I would like you to remember that you are enough and that your own negative thoughts to yourself about yourself are just that. They are what you think and not what others think as they are wrapped up in dealing with their own thoughts about themselves and fighting battles just as you are.
Thanks for reading, Lucy xxx