Most of the problems of the people of the world today are caused by one thing, whether it’s wars or suicide. It’s not religion and it’s not money. It’s what we used to call ‘inferiority complexes’ but now call low (or lack of) self esteem. It’s the job of a coach, councillor or motivational speaker to tackle this very modern problem. So many people feel they’re not good enough, that they’re not loved (or not worth loving).
So many things batter our self confidence every day. Is there anything we can do about it? Well yes there is and that’s what we’re going to be looking at. First though, can you spot if you or someone else has low self esteem? The obvious symptoms are perhaps an overt shyness or withdrawal from social situations.
That’s what you’d expect but it’s not always the case. Most people who are walking around out there with low self esteem may appear fine in most social situations – they may even talk too much, always about themselves, with no empathy or consideration for others. They may appear to have ‘the gift of the gab’ or be (as they say in the North East) a ‘jack the lad’ – but these too may be masks. They may be so helpful and considerate to others to avoid thinking about themselves. Or they may just be negative and miserable most of the time, not wanting to reach for their goals, or even set them, so convinced are they of failure.
This is simply not good enough. Marriages have been wrecked, lives have been lost, fortunes have been left unclaimed because of this unnecessary waste-of -time behaviour. I want to be coldly brutal here. You do not live in a soap opera. There is not a requirement for terrible things to happen to you to give your life a meaning or purpose.
There is no such thing as good or bad luck. There is only good or bad attitude. A positive mental attitude is nothing less than mental health. A consistent negative mental attitude is nothing short of mental illness. Most of us are fortunate that we have nothing wrong with our brains. This means we can choose what level of self confidence we have. That’s right. You can choose whether you want to be a party-pooper, miserable low achieving waste of space or you can choose to be the real you.
All you need to do is to follow this one simple exercise. That’s all. It’s easy (the only challenge is not being so limp and weak that you won’t even give it a go.)
So here’s the cure for a poor self image. This is the mechanism of how self image works. I dare you to try it.
Stand in front to the mirror and look yourself in the eye while you say out-loud, “I like myself”. It must be said eyeball to eyeball, out-loud, in the mirror. Twice a day: before you go to bed and just after you get up. Do it every day for 21 consecutive days.
I bet you don’t want to do it? I bet you’re thinking ‘my self confidence is ok. I don’t need to do this rubbish’. Think it’s corny do you? Embarrassing? No-one else is around, no-one can hear you! You are not in a soap opera. Oh dear. The truth is that it’s hard to say out-loud to yourself something you don’t believe. Now isn’t that interesting?
Now what happens when you say that is this. Your subconscious starts to look through his notes, “What’s that he’s saying? ‘I like myself’, well it’s got ‘I hate myself’ down here. Are you sure?”
So you say, “yes of course, I read this article which said I’ve got to say ‘I like myself’ in the mirror. So, ‘I like myself’.”
“Tut tut tut. Not what I’ve got.” said your subconscious. I’ve definitely got down here that you hate yourself.”
“No! I like myself! I’m going to say it over and over!”
“Sorry mate, I’ve got 30+ years of you saying you hate yourself and loads a documentary evidence to back it up.”
You see your subconscious is a jobs-worth.
He’s not at all interested in your self image, only in what he’s got down in the book. If it’s in the book, that’s what he’ll work from. The only solution to rewrite what he’s got in the book. To do it we need to do the exercise for 21 consecutive days. Eyeball to eyeball in the mirror and out loud.
Whoever designed the human brain made it 21 consecutive days. We don’t know why. 19 or 20 days doesn’t work, I’ve tried it. You’ve got to do 21 and if you miss one you have to start all over again.
So after 21 consecutive days this is what happens: “I like myself”
“Ok, have it your way. I, like, myself. Done. Happy?”
And then of course it’s in the book. Now when you have problems and come unstuck – you’ve got backup because your new self image had been saved. You’re not going to waste time wallowing in self pity – you can move straight on and get ahead.
Now you can continue doing the exercise but add a new phrase to the book. How about, “I’m always on time”, “I am wealthy”, or “I am loved”. Make sure all your phrases are personal, positive and in the present tense (i.e.. not “I will be happy” or “I am not sad” but “I am happy”). Your subconscious always ignores “nots” and any tense other than the present.
We create the world in our own image. We find what we are looking for. All around us is a 360° mirror. Wherever we go, wherever we look, there we are. We colour the world with our beliefs. This is why so many people run into trouble when they realise after many years of fruitless labour that they cannot change the external world.
We can’t change the external world except by changing our internal perception of it. The good news is that we have total control of our internal world. We own the exclusive copyright to our individual internal worlds. No-one is going to know (or care) how we change it. We could believe that the world is a grim and lonely place, full of meanness and evil. That could be our internal perception of it.
There’s a lot of external evidence to suggest that the world is that way, but confusingly there’s a lot of external evidence that the world isn’t that way at all. We can choose to focus on different things. Our task here is to decide what would be the most useful and productive things to focus on. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘Well that’s just denying the facts. There is suffering in the world’. Well yes there is but there’s also joy. When you were having a good laugh watching that comedy television programme you weren’t thinking, ‘it’s wrong to laugh at this with all the suffering presently going on in the world.’ You chose for that moment to focus on something else.
As we’ll discover the more and more we look at this, you’ll find all around you what you are focusing on. If you want the world to be free of suffering you must focus on the joy, the ideal outcome, to tackle the problem efficiently. Focusing on the suffering will cause an overwhelming downward spiral that will help no-one.
You are driving you. Don’t drive yourself where you don’t want to go. Don’t drive yourself off the road. Put yourself into top gear and cruise along in the direction of your dreams.