Posts

Making Changes

The more you confront your fears the more confident you will become.

To grow as a person involves challenging yourself to step outside your comfort zone.

Procrastinating and avoiding taking risks is self-defeating.

If you always do what you always have done then you will always get what you always got.

What stops us?

Many of us have limiting beliefs that stop us from reaching our true potential and living the life we dream of.  The internal critic, who sits on our shoulder and at challenging times tells us: “You can’t do that!”, “You’re not good enough!”, “You can’t cope!”.  We can turn this around using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which provides tried and tested tools to challenge and change self limiting beliefs.  Once limiting beliefs are understood, reviewed and renewed  you are ready to embrace change:

With this new mindset you are ready to be a self-determining adult:

Your New Beliefs

I can change and make progress.

Other people are not to blame for my situation now.

I am responsible for my life.

I am a survivor, I am strong and successful.

I can create the life I want.

I can tolerate frustration, set backs and overcome obstacles.

I am independent and have a choice about how I live my life.

I am good enough

I can cope

I can do anything I set my mind to do

This is an adult life.  Full of freedom, choice and potential.  You have the opportunity to do more that you have ever dreamed of.

The Essence of You

We all go through transitions: times of change in our lives. Often just before we change we experience a stage of confusion.  We may feel out of control, frustrated or lost.  I remember this time well…  My circumstances were changing dramatically and the only sure thing in my life were my values.  When you are evolving from one stage to another it is essential to clarify what is really important to you.  It’s very personal, built from past experiences and future dreams and it is the core essence of you that will enable you to live your life true to yourself. Core values give you the anchor to focus your energy on.  They inspire you to keep going, through thick and thin and to persevere when you feel like giving up.

 

Core Values:

  • Help you make choices
  • Help you to screen and filter naturally
  • Increase your feeling of direction
  • Increase  your feeling of happiness and fulfilment
  • Are essential to finding your purpose and direction in life
  • Help you set better goals
  • Increase your motivation and can act as a catalyst to goal achievement
  • Measure the meaning that life holds for us
  • Life flows more easily when you’re in line with your values
  • Conflict with our values causes stress and life can be a struggle

Freedom to be Yourself

When I was able to express my true values I felt such an immediate sense of freedom and integrity.  For some time I had pushed down my need to love and connect with people, to give back and to care. I had been influenced by other people’s values.  It took some time to find myself again.  The journey continues but the first stage for me was to get in touch with my values.

Time to grow some healthy self esteem!

Self-esteem is the overall opinion we have of ourselves and our ability to live and lead our lives.

tree

When my self esteem is good I feel great: I smile, engage with people, talk freely, express my feelings, laugh, love and live life to the full. However, when my self esteem is low it’s a very different picture.  I worry about my appearance; I avoid contacting people, reduce my exercise, eat unhealthily, start mind reading and read people’s intentions incorrectly.  It skews my perception to a negative view of myself and others.  A really unhealthy place to be.

So to unravel how we end up in this uncomfortable place:

Our perception of ourselves is learned initially during our childhood by the experiences we have with people we come into contact with: our parents/carers, close family members, friends, neighbours, teachers and the media.  They have a huge and vital influence over our lives as they sow the seeds of our self-esteem.

I was lucky and had a positive childhood but it didn’t protect me from developing low self esteem during a relationship.  My significant other at the time was controlling and critical, both of which undermined my self esteem.

If you experience more negative criticism or very few positive comments at any age this tends to stick in your mind and affect the way you see yourself and your abilities.  A bit like a fore gone conclusion, an expectation of failure is set up.  Negative comments stand out and resonate for years to come.  These take root and invade your mind so that when facing a challenge or change in life you may doubt your ability to cope and avoidance starts to creep in.  It becomes rather a vicious cycle with the negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself, leading to a reduction in expectation and unwillingness to risk being wrong. You may make very relevant excuses for why you can’t do something.

For many people there is a low level background of feeling inadequate and assuming other people believe this too.  Worry about what other’s think can stultify us into inaction.  Keeping ourselves safely within the manageable confines we feel comfortable in – our comfort zone.  Here we sit, wasting the infinite potential every human being is born with until we have a light bulb moment and suddenly see the light.  We realise we have to change something if we are ever going to feel alive! Knowing what to change is the problem because by then it feels normal to feel negative and inferior.

There is a way forward:

The first step is to change the way you think. It has become a habit to think negatively about yourself, to hear the voice inside you saying ‘you cant do that, you cant cope, you’re not good enough.  You have believed this for some time and it is a habit that has not been challenged.  To change you need to weed out the negative thoughts and plant positive, kind and nurturing thoughts.  To start treating yourself how you would treat your best friend.  To become encouraging and supportive to yourself.  Quite hard at first but with assistance totally manageable.  Once started and practised like any new habit the pattern becomes established and a new you is able to emerge: now the seed can grow healthily and stand tall and proud.

Your positive thoughts will then create positive beliefs about yourself.  The internal critic is eradicated and replaced by the inner truth that encourages you saying:  You can do it, you are good enough’.  Strengthened with these beliefs your behaviour is then changed. You dare to experiment and even if you don’t succeed immediately you are supportive, flexible and forgiving of yourself.  You cut some slack and then try again.  Knowing that you are as good as anyone else and deserve to enjoy your own potential.  You then believe in yourself and what you can do.

Thankfully self-esteem is not fixed but changes throughout time due to internal and external influences.  Ongoing maintenance of our self-esteem is essential to maximise our ability to live a full and meaningful life.