Alternative Ways to Reboot Your Self-Worth
The stresses and strains of modern life can take their toll on our feelings of self-worth. And in the last ten years with the increasing pressures of social media, the 24-hour news cycle and the dissolving of life/work boundaries can mean it’s not unusual to feel powerless and overwhelmed by demands.
Add to this the constant comparison with what can seem to be the perfect lives of other people, as displayed across all your social media platforms and in advertising, and you can begin to understand how it can erode our dignity.
You might feel stuck in your negative mindset, stuck with the negative self-beliefs and expectations that were laid down in your early childhood. Everyone was telling you who you were, what you could or couldn’t do, how you were expected to behave and what you were expected to do. These messages stay with us into adulthood and are not always serving our best interest.
But your mindset, your set of beliefs and expectations about yourself and the world, can be changed. You can choose to reprogram your subconscious with beliefs that can help you feel better about yourself. Even better, just deciding to reboot your self-worth is a huge step in the right direction.
Approaches that may once have seemed a bit out there are now mainstream. Self-hypnosis, for example, is no longer for old hippies. Now you can easily incorporate this technique into your life by using a variety of apps or you can buy an audio MP3 downloadable hypnosis recording which will guide you, to a variety of outcomes eg stop smoking, lose weight, better self-confidence, dating to name just a few. And the internet makes the facilities even easier to find and to learn about, so you can easily discover what works best for you.
The following approaches are accessible and effective and can be used separately or in combination:
- NLP (Neuro linguistic programming)
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Hypnosis downloadable audios
Changing your Negative Self-Talk
Changing your negative self-talk, your negative mindset, is a critical element in all these approaches. Negative self-talk, also known as your Inner Critic, is perhaps the dominant aspect of poor self-esteem. It keeps you down and passive. Negative self-talk keeps us small and safe. It reasons that if you don’t take risks, you won’t get hurt. And it speaks with the voices of the convincing adults from your childhood.
The good news is that you don’t need a magic wand to change your Inner Critic. You just need to look it square in the eye and challenge it. YOU are in charge of your destination after all and you can CHOOSE to listen to this negative self-talk or do something about it.
Try this short exercise to start bringing your negative beliefs about yourself out into the light.
- Close your eyes and take three deep, slow breaths.
- Relax your mind and then think of five things you like about yourself, and five things you don’t like.
- Observe your reactions, the images that come into your head, the words or phrases that pop up.
- Write them down.
I know this might be a bit of a mind read, but chances are the ‘don’t like’ column is quite a bit longer than the ‘like’ one. For the moment just look at the ‘don’t like’ column. How do they make you feel? Anxious? Guilty? Powerless?
And now the ‘like’ column. Are these good strong likes or are they a bit cautious, a bit tentative?
The images, phrases, words, and emotions that these traits evoke tell you what your self-beliefs are. Negative beliefs can make you feel anxious, afraid or guilty. But written down in the cold light of day you can look at them and judge for yourself. Are you, in fact, selfish/stupid/clumsy/no good with money? What is the evidence? Where does that belief originate? If you close your eyes and focus, whose voice is saying that? A parent maybe, an older sibling, a former partner or colleague? A so called ‘friend’?
Negative thinking feeds on fear. Not the reasonable fear of danger if you’re in the wilderness surrounded by bears, but the generalized anxiety and fear of failure that surrounds us in the twenty-first century. So many of us live in a constant state of fight or flight. We have countless calls on our time and attention, and we’re always trying to get ahead. We are often juggling many responsibilities and dealing with work, family life and just trying to get through the everyday! We’re stressed, and our stress hormones are invariably high, keeping us in a negative thinking mode. If your self-beliefs and self-worth are grounded in fear, anxiety, expectation, or failure, the stress and negative thinking caused by that continually reinforces the problems and the vicious cycle continues! It’s like going around and around in a hamster wheel!
The way to change this is to reprogram your mind. I have done this with my clients through NLP (neuro linguistic programming), timeline therapy and hypnosis. There are also other techniques and useful modalities that I highly recommend…like meditation, affirmations, visualization, EFT, self-hypnosis and hypnosis audios (which I also do). These all draw on something you’re already very good at and turn it around. Imagination. The power to imagine possible further scenarios or to visualize past events is key to stop “catastrophizing” (negatively imagining the future) and brooding or rehashing what you imagine as past failures.
You can use these techniques by themselves, or in combination to positively reset your self-worth. Let’s go over briefly some of these techniques.
Neuro Linguistic Programming
NLP can be used for personal development, phobias, improvement in the workplace performance, personal happiness to anxiety disorders.
The popularity of neuro-linguistic programming has become widespread since it started in the 1970s. NLP was developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler, who believed it was possible to identify patterns of thoughts and behaviors of successful individuals and teach them to others. NLP was made famous by Tony Robbins in the 1980s and has helped people achieve many different goals.
NLP uses perceptual, behavioral, and communication techniques to make it easier for people to change their thoughts and actions. NLP relies on language processing. NLP is not hypnotherapy. It operates through the conscious use of language to bring about changes in someone’s thoughts and behavior. An NLP coach can guide you through to identifying your limiting beliefs, patterns and behaviors and help set you on the right track.
Meditation is a powerful way of dealing with the stress of twenty-first-century living and builds your self-dignity. It’s one of the best ways to gain self-knowledge and to reflect on your true self. It gives you the chance to unplug from daily life for a while and deeply tune into your inner wisdom. Within your inner wisdom is where you will find and become acquainted with the real you who is powerful and awesome.
A meditation practice will positively impact your self-worth because it gives you the space to find it within, and to love yourself just the way you are. It keeps your focus in the present, undistracted by thoughts of the past or anxieties about the future. As a bonus, meditation is also good for your physical health. Your stress levels and your blood pressure will go down, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll think more clearly.
You can find meditation groups and classes in most areas, or you could even use one of the great apps available to learn to meditate. Many of the apps have guided meditations and instructions to help you get started.
Affirmations can sometimes get a bad rap – those silly memes that pop up on social media can seem simplistic and even patronizing. If you’re not feeling great about things, then being told that life is all unicorns and rainbows is not helpful.
But personalized affirmations can be useful tools in replacing some of that negative self-talk with messages that are more realistic and encouraging. You can combine these positive words with other techniques such as EFT and visualization to add extra punch to your self-work.
If you do the foundation work of identifying your negative self-talk and beliefs, you can then turn them around – come up with counter-messages that are meaningful for you. As long as you write these positive affirmations in the present tense, whatever resonates with you is what will work. Write them on post-it notes and place them around your home. Put affirmations on your phone calendar, so they flash up as reminders and start your morning off by reading them or saying them with an enthusiastic voice. Repetition creates its own hypnotic positive talk to your subconscious and trains it that THIS is now your new reality. Your subconscious mind will do what you tell it to do, so affirmations can actually be very helpful if you set aside time each day, or on your morning commute to work (in your head) or while you are exercising. Make it a habit and it will be then automatic to you and you will reap the rewards.
You probably don’t realize that you already ‘do’ visualizations every day. Whenever you daydream or think about your next holiday and even what you want to have for lunch – that’s visualizing. Visualizing is just imagining what you want.
You’re already very good at visualizing, and using visualization consciously harnesses that powerful tool! But instead of imagining adverse events, now you control the process and focus that power on getting what you want, starting with more self-confidence. You can visualize yourself in different situations being confident and capable, for example. There’s no wrong way to do this, and it takes as little as 5-10 minutes a day to activate the part of your brain that creates your reality.
You can incorporate visualizations into your meditation practice, journal them or even make a vision board with the things you experience during visualization.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping)
At first, you might think Emotional Freedom Technique looks as odd, wacky and as funny as it sounds. But it does work.
EFT uses the same principle as acupressure and uses physical tapping reinforcement together with positive affirmations to clear emotional blocks. It can help with an issue that is causing you difficulty, such as one of your negative self-beliefs. Using this as an example, you might repeat to yourself “Even though I am feeling X, I still completely love and accept myself.” At the same time as saying this, you would tap in a set pattern through nominated parts of the face and body.
To learn more about this process, search for EFT online. You’ll discover thousands of videos and websites that will give you all the details. This could be an option that may work for you. Just remember there is no right or wrong modality, or no wrong or right one that is a one size fits all…it’s about finding ways that will work for YOU!
Hypnotherapy and Self-Hypnosis
Hypnotherapy is based on the power of suggestion and using the unconscious mind to change what may seem like fixed beliefs or states of mind. You don’t lose consciousness, and you can come out of the hypnotic state at any time. Contrary to the popular view of hypnosis, you always stay in control . It is powerful and can help you dig deep and change those negative messages laid down in childhood and reinforced by expectation and experiences.
Hypnotherapy has been used by psychotherapists for decades to change patterns of thought and feelings that are no longer serving you. It is extremely effective for challenging self-doubt and boosting self-esteem.
You can even learn how to hypnotize yourself. Self-hypnosis draws on visualization and gets you into a relaxed meditative state to replace that negative self-talk with more positive self-beliefs. There are a variety of books and programs available to teach you simple techniques for self-hypnosis.
These use relaxing music and the power of suggestion for your unconscious mind to fix limiting beliefs you may have about yourself or states of mind. They can be anything from quitting smoking, losing weight, going off to sleep, building confidence, millionaire mindset and so on and so forth. They are an incredibly powerful way to help build the language and thoughts needed for you to change habits and negative language, so that you can get the desired outcome.
Part of the process of rebooting your self-worth is taking control and believing that you can change your beliefs about yourself and your capabilities. And you can decide to do it your way, that way that suits you best.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything you can do…there are more options available than ever before for you to take control of your life and work through the beliefs and thought patterns that are holding you back from being your best you. Just realize that you CAN change your beliefs about yourself and live the life you have dreamed of…you are NOT stuck!