Self-esteem, fundamental for a balanced life
Self-esteem is a fundamental aspect for our psychological balance, because it affects our personal and professional life in a positive or negative way, depending on the level we are at. In order to be able to evolve, on all dimensions of our thinking and behavior it is necessary to cultivate it every day. Self-esteem is the value we place on ourselves, the deepest idea we have of ourselves and the qualities we believe we have. We can distinguish 3 levels of self-esteem:
When we are at this level, we do not believe too much in our resources and we tend to focus mainly on defects. Low self-esteem usually arises from situations of deep insecurity experienced in life.
When we are at the level of an midium self-esteem, we are able to recognize our limitations, but also our resources. However, we do not always believe enough in our abilities. In these cases, we need to encourage and support ourselves consciously whenever needed.
At this level of self-esteem we know our limits and resources and we know how to overcome the former and use the latter. We can cope well with life’s difficulties and have confidence in ourselves. We have a proper image of ourselves, we appreciate ourselves and we love each other.
Therefore, self-esteem is closely linked to problems that arise in life, related to love, family or work, problems that can become stressful thoughts and can turn into dysfunctional beliefs with extraordinary power over our lives and those of us. around us. A dysfunctional belief is a belief, a concept that inspires a negative message. Our unconscious produces such beliefs, which lead to loss of self-esteem and anxiety, can limit and block our personal growth and end up being repeated, (for example, the emotional content we experienced as children, in the periods in which our personality was formed). Much of our actions depend on the beliefs that lead us to produce certain states and behaviors. 93% of our lives are ruled by the unconscious. It may sound strange, but on average, human beings are only 7% aware of what they do, say, think and feel. This means that 93% of our thoughts, emotions and actions are automatic and unconscious. The unconscious can internalize up to ten thousand messages a day and does not forget anything. He is emotional and accepts everything literally. Our unconscious creates its beliefs through lived experiences, especially in childhood. If we have grown up believing that we are not capable, we will spend our lives confirming this belief. We all have our own beliefs that limit us, and therefore we continue to repeat the same mistakes and behaviors. For example: • When I experienced emotional trauma, especially in childhood; • Whenever we have been emotionally hurt; • Every time the pain was so strong that I took it out of my consciousness defensively. We are thus led to repeat the same failed patterns because of our beliefs. Not infrequently, the unconscious makes us repeat and look for exactly those emotional experiences that were shaped during our growth process, because it nourishes and deeply recognizes those emotions. The repetition of patterns that activate us to look for similar situations is activated and thus we return to the state of being the victims of a mental trap of suffering. Overcoming dysfunctional beliefs saves our lives. Thus, a functional belief is a concept that inspires a positive message and can break the compulsion to repeat the mechanism of becoming victims of one’s own suffering. In fact, breaking the compulsion to repeat the mechanism means nothing more than stepping out of the tendency to repeat the same dysfunctional beliefs about ourselves and the world around us that we have built in our minds over time and that are illogical and irrational. The weakening of beliefs triggered a negative thinking mechanism, which, repeated over time, was consolidated in our brain, creating true neural pathways. In reality, the ultimate goal of our action is precisely this, to be able to realize our desires and to overcome the difficulties that life inevitably presents to us. Unfortunately, there are days when we wake up without energy and motivation, we feel irritated and unhappy, to the point where we cannot find reasons to carry out our commitments and achieve our goals. We are afraid that others will not accept us, we believe that we are incapable and do not deserve enough, so our level of self-esteem decreases. It is normal to have such moments in our lives. All we have to do is be convinced that we will overcome them. But if our belief is the opposite, that is, we believe that we will never be able to overcome them and that the same thing will always happen, we just tie our hands with some invisible chains and repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Here are some of the things that can lead to low self-esteem:
• Anxiety problems. From feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, a state of anxiety is generated, which creates a real vicious circle. This gradually leads to an absolute lack of self-esteem and self-affirmation and drastically compromises daily life.
• Affective addiction. The person with low self-esteem can become a victim of emotional dependence, because instead of using their own internal resources, they seek outside support. In reality, this is a substitute for the love we should give ourselves. This creates an illusion, but does not lead to real satisfaction.
• Anticipatory anxiety. Those who suffer from low self-esteem continually doubt their abilities. This is why they live in a constant state of worry, fear, fear and often unfounded nervousness, which blocks actions and does not allow decisions to be made.
• Depression. Loss of self-esteem and depression are closely linked. The lower the level of self-esteem, the higher the risk of depression. The person who has lost his self-esteem constantly feels useless and inadequate and often struggles with feelings of guilt.
• Narcissistic personality disorder. Those suffering from narcissistic personality disorder have developed low self-esteem, a sense of inadequacy and personal insecurity, which compensates with attitudes of power and grandeur.
To overcome the unconscious mechanism of repeating our mistakes caused by dysfunctional beliefs, we should start talking about substitution. That is, the replacement of a dysfunctional belief, which weakens us, with one that gives us strength. To get started you can follow these 3 steps:
1. Become aware of dysfunctional beliefs. Start with the most obvious ones, which you already know partially and which make you repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Write them down and make a list. Here are some examples of how to identify dysfunctional beliefs:
• why do I always consider myself incapable? • What reasoning do I have to attribute this meaning to this event? • What information can I consider to assess my faith?
2. Replace the dysfunctional belief with a stronger, more functional one. Choose one from the list you made earlier and write down what might happen if it were the other way around. Above all, it is important to question the beliefs that weaken and limit you. For example: I consider that I am not able to complete anything. Replace with: I am often able to complete something. It is impossible that you have not completed something in your life. Remember that situation and many others in which you completed something.
3. Take action. When dysfunctional beliefs arise, they first block the action. So take the first step, putting your new faith into action. Remember that thoughts are the basis of any action. Negative thoughts weaken us, while positive thoughts strengthen us. Negative thoughts are generated by our limiting beliefs. Understanding this is very important because it gives us the opportunity to free ourselves from our negative thoughts by understanding the beliefs from which they arise. When you have a limiting faith in your mind, reflect on it and try to understand where it comes from, who inspired it. Through commitment and introspection, any limiting dysfunctional belief can be corrected.