Are your thoughts wearing you out? Do you spend too much time second-guessing and stressing about things you said or did, wishing you would have done something differently, believing something about yourself that may not be true? What if you could tell yourself a different story. What if life is more about what we think about the things that happen to us, instead of what actually happens to us. Who would you be without your negative thoughts? Self esteem is merely the absence of that critical inner voice. The good news is that you can increase your self esteem by simply learning to notice, name, challenge and then replace your negative thoughts with more productive thoughts (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and in this process, create more positive, permanents changes in your brain. (a process called neuroplasticity).
The most common thinking errors include:
All or none thinking: Seeing the world as black or white, all or none, good or bad
Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation without any supporting facts
Catastrophizing: You magnify the importance of negative things or minimize the positive
Should statements: Should statements generally cause guilt and rarely motivate us
Personalization: Blaming yourself for something you were not responsible for
Do you recognize any thinking errors you have made? Can you think of the most recent event? What was the thought? Now give it a name (i.e., is it your anxiety talking, your depression, your insecurity, your eating disorder?). Is there any evidence to support that thought other than your feelings (because feelings are not facts)! What would you rather tell yourself about the event? If you are having a hard time answering that last question, all you have to do is think about what you would tell your best friend if she/he were in your situation. It takes practice but is very simple. We need to learn how to treat ourselves like we treat those we love. Notice how that affects how you feel about yourself in general. Keep practicing. It works. Change does not happen all at once. It happens one step at a time and awareness is the first step.
Feeling Good (the New Mood Therapy) by David D Burns, MD
Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky