The Bish Guide to Self Esteem. How what we think and do can affect how we feel about ourselves.
This is quite an important post because it’s about you. *waves* How we feel and think about ourselves can have a big impact on what we do and the decisions we make and that goes for you too. This is called self esteem. So I’m going to give you some homework. I’m not just going to sit here and tell you everything – you have to work too.
Homework on *you*
So I’d like you to spend 5 or 10 minutes writing down two lists. Firstly think about when you’re pretty okay about yourself: write down what you feel, what you think about yourself and what you do. Then make a list of when you’re down on yourself: write down what you feel, what you think about yourself and what you do.
I’ve written a couple of lists below giving a few examples, but please have a go yourself first.
Here are some examples.
What do you notice about you?
Looking at both your lists (and maybe at the ones above) what do you notice? Are there big differences between the two lists? Does what you feel have an effect on what you think and do? Are you quite hard on yourself and others when you’re not feeling all right? Are you ever all or nothing?
An important thing to remember here – self-esteem is not always something we can control. Our health (physical and mental health), our financial situation, our identity and experience of stigma, the way we are treated by others because of who we are, our ability can all affect how we feel about ourselves.
Even if things are pretty crap on the outside, it’s still possible to have *some* influence on our insides.
However, If you’re regularly feeling crap or down or sh*t then maybe try visiting this brilliant website or speak to your GP about things.
People often find that their feelings, thoughts and what they do all have an effect on each other. Like it’s a bit of a circle.
How to change you?
People who say ‘chin up’ might mean well, but it’s not possible to change feelings like that. I always say that difficult feelings are like being trapped in a room with a fart. Trying to change feelings is exhausting and doesn’t really work very well (like wafting). Or sometimes people just refuse to acknowledge how they are feeling and just carry on. It’s often better just to notice feelings “oh I’ve got the sads today” or “oh I’m feeling a bit meh.”
Then you can start to think about making small changes to the things you do have more control over – particularly what you do with your arms and legs (like opening a window). It could be that you need to remember to do the basics – eat, stay hydrated, going to bed etc. What works for me is to remember to wash up. If you’re already doing the basics you could then look to your list of what you do when you’re feeling all right – try gently doing some of those things and see what happens.
It could be that if you change what you do you start to feel a little bit better about yourself. It might start to slowly change the cycle a bit and make you feel a bit more all right. There are no magic wands to healthy self-esteem and this stuff takes practice and also being gentle and kind to yourself. No-one feels all right about themselves all the time.
© Justin Hancock, 2017