When a guy took a long time to respond to my texts, I often automatically thought he wasn't interested to learn about my needs or I wasn't important to him anymore, I would think this way for no reason generally, I just had a way of jumping to a negative self-image when interacting with others. A relationship was supposed to raise my good mood, provide positive mental health, and might often be a way to build self-esteem, (or at least not harness low self-esteem) and unfortunately, for whoever I was dating, it was all or nothing if he wanted to prove how high he thought of me, and if he didn't, he must have thought low. It was all or nothing. As you might imagine, It was INTENSE! And it impacted my self-esteem.
Automatic Thoughts and Distortions
Whenever an upsetting event occurs, automatic thoughts run through our minds; these feelings might foster low self-esteem or makes great for high self-esteem success. Although we're capable of reasoning about upsetting events, sometimes our automatic thoughts or our current mental health might be distorted- or hold unreasonably harmful information about our personality, abilities, and our relationships, and without any notice, BOOM! , there goes our self-esteem. Distorted automatic thoughts often happen so quickly, we accept their judgments as facts, and it has a fluctuating influence on our psychology of self-esteem and our needs.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
The distortions fall into 13 categories, but before we learn them well, let's focus on the people who help clarify distortions in thoughts. Dr. Aaron T Beck was a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania in the '60s and pioneered Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT provides cognitive behavior techniques and resources to identify and challenge automatic thoughts. There are over 2,000 cases that have shown people who recognize and challenge their automatic thoughts to feel good about their life, increase self-esteem, and have a healthier perception of self.
Automatic Thoughts and Distortions Fall Into 13 Categories. Learn Them Well. Using Them Will Be a Very Powerful Tool in Building Self-Esteem.
In these experiences, we believe the worst without testing the evidence. For instance, in the example above, I assumed the boy went from a high to a low opinion about me just because of the feeling and not of his feedback or other vital indicators. Assumptions hurt our self-esteem.
One way to block our needs and activate self-esteem health issues is thinking in "should" terms. Shoulds are demands we make of ourselves, which we believe is a definite strategy to feel healthy self-esteem. For example, "I should be a perfect lover" for me to feel positive self-esteem. "I must not make mistakes" for me to feel high about myself. "I should be happy and never depressed or tired" to think I deserve healthy self-esteem. We think harsh statements on ourselves in hopes of providing a high motivation. Still, often these needs make for an excellent way to create low self-esteem instead of healthy self-esteem and increased productivity. Read another article about should statements , here!
The Fairy Tail Fantasy
This type of self-esteem blocker is demanding the ideal of life and people. This one sounds like "why did that have to happen?" or it often seems like "That's not fair!" These low self-esteem traps suggest the world is supposed to be something it isn't. In reality,When Bad Things Happen to Good People does a great job of articulating this psychological fallacy, but it doesn't mean low people are bad and good people healthy. To expect the word to be different is to feel low from disappointment. To expect others to treat us fairly when they have their idea of what fair means, is to invite low self-esteem, and our needs are not met by the other people. Some words that could help yourself feel better and have a positive impact on your self-esteem in these circumstances are "could" and "would," e.g., "It would be nice if things were ideal, but they're not."
All or Nothing Thinking
This guaranteed low self-esteem creator is when you hold yourself to an impossible standard of perception in life. When you fall short of this kind of standard, you think or feel like a failure, and learn to believe others see you as a failure, too. And the result, of course! Your self-esteem suffers significantly for it. For example, "If I don't add value, I'm a flop." or "If I'm not performing perfectly, I'm a loser." A new way of healthy thinking to increase self-esteem is to see that black and white extremes rarely exists, and it's unreasonable to perform perfectly, and even if you did play at a healthy 30%, that 30% is higher than 0, which means there are answers between black and white extremes.
An excellent way to ruin self-esteem is by overgeneralizing. Overgeneralizing is deciding a negative experience can describe your life completely. For example, "I always ruin everything," "I always get rejected in love" or here's one that hurts our ability to learn, " I never do good in math" Such global statements are unkind, depressing, and usually inaccurate to some degree. The antidote is to use more precise language and it will surely help increase self-esteem. For example, "Some of my skills are not yet well developed," "I'm not as tactful is some social situations as I would like to be," "sometimes some new people don't approve of me (sometimes some new people do)." Be a healthy optimist: expect to find small ways to improve situations and notice what's going well.
Here you give yourself a label or name, as though a single word describes a person completely. For example: "I am such a loser"; "I'm stupid"; "I'm dumb"; I'm boring." A quick way to lose confidence and feel low self-esteem is to label your worth. To say "I am stupid" means I always, in every way, am stupid. Some people who behave quite stupidly at times, also behave intelligently at times. Humans are too complex to give simple labels, confine labels to behaviors (e.g., "that was a silly thing to do"), or ask, "Am I always stupid?" Sometimes, perhaps, but not always. You owe it to yourself to help your self-esteem, not degrade it with simple labels.
Dwelling on the Negative
Dwelling on the negative is a real self-esteem killer and puts others in uncomfortable situations. Suppose you go to a party and notice a guest has dog poop on his shoe. The more you dwell about it, the more nervous you get. In this distortion, you focus on the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring the positive aspects. Soon the whole situation looks detrimental to everyone. Other examples: "How can I feel good about the day when I was criticized?" ; "How can I enjoy life when my children have problems?" ; "How can I feel good about myself when I make new mistakes?" A solution to this habit is to re-examine your opinions and options: "How would I enjoy things more if I chose a different focus? " " What would I think on a good day?" "How would others with sound self-esteem feel about this situation?"
Rejecting the Positive
Dwelling on the negative overlooks the positive aspects. Here we negate positives so that our self-esteem remains low. For example, someone compliments your work. You reply, "Oh, it was really nothing. Others could do that." You discount the fact that you've worked long and effectively. You would give a loved one or friends the same credit where it's due. Why not do self the same favor?
A quick way to learn to minimize your self-esteem is by magnifying your faults and mistakes and increase others' strengths. For example, you think to yourself: "I only a housewife and mother" (minimizing your strengths). "Jan's a rich, bright lawyer"(magnifying others' strengths). Your friend replies: "But you're an excellent homemaker. You've been great with your kids. Jan's an alcoholic." And your voice speaks out," Yes, but (minimizing another's faults and your accomplishments) look at cases she's won! She's the one who really contributes!" (Magnifying another's strengths). A way to challenge this distortion is to ask, "Why must I compare myself to others? Why can't I just appreciate that each person has unique strengths and weaknesses? Another's contributions are not necessarily better, just different." These questions will promote and grow healthy self-esteem.
I big blow to self-esteem is to believe something is a catastrophe; you tell yourself that it is so horrible and awful that "I can't stand it!" In telling ourselves this, we view ourselves that we are too feeble to cope with life. For example, "I couldn't stand it if she were to leave me." As Albert Ellis has said, So one might think, "I didn't like this, but I certainly can stand it." Asking the following questions will challenge the belief that something will be a catastrophe:
- What are the odds of this happening?
- If it does happen, how likely is it to do me in?
- If the worst happens, what will I do? (Anticipating a problem and formulating an action plan increases one's sense of confidence and self-esteem).
Personalizing is seeing the self more involved in negative events than you really are. For example, a student drops out of college, and the mother concludes, "It's all my fault," or a spouse takes on full responsibility for a divorce. This role of personalizing involves the ego so much that it becomes a test of worth and takes a toll on self-esteem. There are two helpful antidotes to this distortion:
- Research and distinguish influences from causes. Sometimes we can influence others' decisions, but the final decision is theirs, not ours.
- Look realistically for other influences outside of ourselves. For example, instead of saying, "What's wrong with me?" say, "Maybe I am not the central character; maybe he's mad at the world today."
Blaming is the opposite of personalizing, but affects the self-esteem in equal depths. Whereas personalizing puts all the responsibility on yourself for your difficulties, blaming puts it all on something outside of yourself. For example:
- He makes me so mad!
- She has ruined my life and my self-esteem
- I am a loser because of my crummy childhood and family
Making Feelings Facts
Making feelings facts is taking one's feelings as proof of the way things really are. For Example:
- I feel like such a loser. I must be hopeless
- I feel ashamed and bad. I must be bad.
- I feel inadequate. I must be inadequate.
- I feel worthless. I must be worthless.
Now that you know about distortions, the next step is to use them to help you with your self-esteem. Here is a recap of the 13 distortions:
Remember that feelings result from our thoughts. If our thoughts are distorted (as they often are when we're stressed or depressed), then our feelings may not reflect reality or create healthy needs. So learn to question your feelings. Ask, "What would someone who is 100 percent healthy with their needs and self-esteem be like? Am I like that with my self-esteem? How can I help boost my self-esteem? Remind yourself that feelings are not facts. When our thoughts become more reasonable, our feelings become brighter. Trust yourself!
When we're stressed or depressed, thoughts and feelings can take control and swirl in our minds and seem overwhelming. Putting them down in a journal or speaking with a therapist or life coach helps us sort it all out and see things more clearly.