4 Self-Esteem Activities To Help You Get Out Of Your Own Way
Most people who struggle with low self-esteem put up unnecessary barriers. They convince themselves they’re worse than they actually are. Sometimes this has gone on for years; for some people it’s catastrophic. This way of thinking has stopped them tackling challenges and moving on in their life.
However, more often than not, the only thing in their way is themselves.
I’ve given you the worst-case scenario of course. But it’s still relevant, even if it’s just small things you’re not doing; little tasks you know you should and, more importantly, could do.
Sometimes, the small challenges you steer clear of that don’t have an obvious impact right now, do have an impact later; not doing them now can lead to a reluctance and sometimes a fear of taking on more significant challenges later. You lose momentum too and then you get stuck in your comfort zone.
All because you got in your own way and talked yourself out of it.
So, just how do you get out of your own way?
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Here are 4 self-esteem activities which will help you to push away negativity and stop dwelling on the past.
Self-esteem Activity #1 – Get your sums right
2 + 2 = 4. Yes of course it does. But a lot of people convince themselves that 4 isn’t the right answer.
I met Richard, an IT engineer, on a confidence course I was running. He told me he was struggling to contribute at meetings. The reason for this was that he’d convinced himself that his technical knowledge was not as good as his colleagues’. He was concerned about embarrassing himself if he gave the wrong information. I asked him to tell us when he was last embarrassed because he showed a lack of technical knowledge at a meeting. Silence. He couldn’t answer the question because he couldn’t recall it happening.
Richard had convinced himself he lacked technical knowledge. He had sown his own seed of self-doubt. However, when we talked about it, Richard agreed he was being irrational (2 + 2 = 5). He had no proof or reason to think this. In fact, he actually had more experience and qualifications than some of his colleagues.
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This is a very common reason people get in their own way. They draw conclusions about their abilities that have no factual basis. No evidence.
Note to self – If you can’t reconcile it and prove it, don’t think it.
Self-esteem Activity #2 – Bank it when you can
If you’re in the red at the bank, you need to top up your account.
Confidence is the same. People who get in their own way tend to leave their ‘confidence’ account in the red. They never top it up. When they succeed at something they don’t ‘bank’ the experience. The result? They’ve got no credit in their account when they really need it.
Then, when a tricky challenge comes up and they feel out of their comfort zone, they’ve got nothing to pull on; no positive memories or good experiences and often, no sense of self-belief to give them the boost they need.
From now on, whenever something good happens; for example, you tackle a challenge you fear, you solve a problem, someone compliments you… anything good – you must bank it. Then, the next time you’re challenged, you won’t be overdrawn; you can dip into your account.
People who get in their own way don’t bank enough of the ‘good’. They focus way too much on negative experiences even though there are always successes and happy times to reflect on too.
Note to self – Have the self-discipline to top up your confidence account regularly.
Self-esteem Activity #3 – Separate the oranges
Imagine your brain to be a bowl of oranges. Consider the oranges to represent your memories of the past and your aspirations for the future. Mouldy oranges represent failures of the past, juicy ripe oranges represent opportunities in the future.
If you let the mouldy oranges touch the ripe ones, they spread the mould; they infect your future.
This is what happens to people who get in their own way.
The trouble is, you can’t put your hand into your head and physically remove a mouldy orange. That memory will always be there. What you can do though is segregate it so that it’s not touching the good ones. That stops it affecting your mind set and your aspirations for the future.
People who get in their own way struggle to separate the oranges.
So if you can’t physically remove the memory, how do you segregate the good from the bad? Simply by being disciplined. Every time the memory comes into your mind, you tell yourself you are wasting effort and time; you’ve already got everything you can from that memory; you’ve learned what you can from it and now it’s not worth visiting anymore. In fact it’s damaging to go there anymore.
When you do this, you’ll find the bad memories stop infecting your future aspirations.
This disciplined way of thinking must be accompanied and supported by Point #4 coming up…
Note to self – separate failures of the past and aspirations for the future.
Self-esteem Activity #4 – Keep your bowl topped up
People who don’t get in their own way tend to focus on the future and be able to grasp opportunities more readily. Their bowl always has healthy oranges in it. That means keeping an eye on it and planning ahead if some of the oranges have been eaten.
Consider the eaten oranges to be aspirations you’ve achieved. Successes you’ve had.
Planning ahead means creating a shopping list and choosing oranges you like and that suit you. It means looking forward and creating some meaningful aspirations for the future.
If you’re struggling to think of your aspirations, try doing a mind map. Jot down everything you can think of that that you’d love to do or achieve. Mind maps only work if you challenge yourself to be bold and imaginative. Don’t be scared to write down all your aspirations, even those you have a sense aren’t possible. At least if you write them down, you can reflect on them and perhaps come up with another more manageable idea. This will help you to think creatively.
However, you need more than just aspirations. Aspirations tend to be just thoughts. To be meaningful, they need substance. So, using all the ideas you’ve come up with on the mind map, draw out some personal objectives that you’d like to achieve. You can find more advice on this in my blog on setting personal objectives.
Now go for it. Get out of your own way!
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