Self-Esteem and Changing Your Thought Patterns

It is often believed that self-esteem issues are heightened during our teenage years, due to a surge in hormones and that phase in your life where you are working out who you are as a human being. However, self-esteem issues are rife all throughout life – whether you are a 5 year old, a 15 year old, 35 year old etc etc. These issues can take you by surprise. You may not even notice that you have them until you become aware of the words that come out of your mouth, or you notice that you develop negative or uncomfortable feelings towards a situation.
Sometimes it is obvious as to where these self-esteem issues have arisen from. Other times you have to dig deeper to uncover where these beliefs about yourself have come from. Whether you are well aware of where they stem from or if you do have to do a bit of digging around it is a rather confronting experience.
Social media is a breeding ground for uncovering these personal demons. We are human beings and we can’t help but compare our lives to others. Often feeling like our life isn’t ‘good enough’ or feeling that by a certain age we ‘should be’ doing and achieving certain things – the marriage, the house, the babies, the endless bank account, the exotic holidays, the redecorating, the smoking hot bod. It’s an endless pit of things that society has painted as being the ‘norm.’
I am going to be totally raw and honest here – body image. Never bothered me growing up. As a teenager I was a happy, naive individual. Life was bliss. As a 32 year old woman, I struggle with body image, and the funniest thing about that, is that I am the fittest I have ever been. Scrolling through social media can be dangerous. Whilst I know I could tidy up my diet, I also know that it isn’t all that bad. Furthermore, having a solid reminder that we are all different and two people can be following the exact same diet, doing the exact same exercises but have two completely different body shapes, and that is totally fine. We are all individuals and we are not supposed to look the same.
In relation to dating I have noticed that I have a type. I always thought that I didn’t have one, but with the whole online dating extravaganza some friends of mine pointed out that I did have a type. The most concerning thing that came out of my mouth when I was talking to a friend about a potential date was “I don’t think someone like him would go for someone like me.” I think my friend’s reaction of “and why not?!” with the look of horror on her face made me realise that I didn’t think I was good enough – not attractive enough, not fit enough, and not interesting enough. There are a lot of things obviously going on here – 1. I’ve already judged someone I haven’t met, and 2. I don’t think I am good enough for certain ‘types’ of people, and I’ve resigned to less than I deserve.
So how do we address these issues? How do we build our self-esteem to appreciate the person that we are? How do we start telling ourselves that we are good enough? It begins with changing your thought patterns. It is important to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings as they arise acknowledge them without judgement and then let them go. Like any thought or feeling, they are fleeting, they are not permanent. Following up with a positive affirmation or saying some kind words to yourself helps change the thought patterns in your mind “you’re smart, you’ve got this, you know what you’re doing, your hair looks good today, I’m a great Mum, I’ve worked really hard” ect. Are all examples of things you can say to yourself to help change your thought patterns from the negative to the positive. It takes time, practice and persistence to change these thought patterns but it is possible!
“I am me, nothing more, nothing less, and that is enough” Harpreet M Dayal

Author: mabarberlissa

Hi and welcome to my blog! The aim of my blog is to share some of my experiences, my thoughts and feelings about mindfulness, while providing strategies on what gets me by in this ever changing, ever moving world! I hope that my readers gain something out of the entries as well.

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