I have come to realise through reading “A New Earth” by “Eckhart Tolle” and a lot of self analysis, that a lot of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are caused by our ego (I am not good enough / Lovable) which is triggered by our self esteem being low. I have never seen someone with depression and high self esteem. However I have met lots of people with big egos and depression. I myself would have been included in that last statement.
Over years of being told by our role models, parents, teachers, friends and TV that we can or can not do things, we start to believe them. However negative remarks are much more sticky than positive remarks. We have all been given complements that we have just said thank you for and not thought twice about them ever again. We have all had negative comments that we have played over and over again in our mind. This is a survival mechanism from when danger lurked around every corner. So we had to be extra careful to remember dangerous animals, poisonous plants, and any number of creepy crawly’s. because at one stage in our evolution our lives depended on it and the lives of our fellow man. Whereas nowadays we do not need to remember the negative comments as much and because of that we need to focus more on the positive comments.
As children negative comments build up in our mind and bit by bit day by day they erode our self confidence, our self belief and our self esteem starts to falter. Our self image starts to get set in stone. I can’t do this or I can’t do that, or I’m no good, or nobody loves me. So we start building defence mechanisms in our mind to protect us from the pain. This is when our ego comes to our defence. It either kicks in and starts tearing others down, to make it feel good, or it starts bragging, to make others feel bad, I’m so great you’re not.
A big one is I’m right you’re wrong. We all have friends who can’t be wrong. That is because they see it as a direct attack on their flimsy self image, or that somebody will actually see them for what they really are which is someone who is no good. That fear of being found out, is often so painful they will avoid it at all costs, even to their friendships. I have definitely been guilty of all of the above.
Once our expectations of our self are set low enough we start criticising our selves. We don’t have to wait for other people anymore to put us down, we start doing it ourselves. “It’s not perfect”, “I didn’t do that brilliantly first time”, “I always”, “I never”, essentially we are saying to or selves that we are not good enough, in one way or another.
What happens if you keep criticising yourself. Will you be motivated to do things? Will you be confident? Will you be full of energy for things you have to do? Will you be anxious about things you have to do because you know you’re not going to do it well? Because you know you’re going to mess it up. How many times are you going to play that over and over in your head before you’re completely terrified about going outside? “What is the point in going out or getting out of bed”, “I’m just going to screw up” Does this paragraph sound and look like depression and or anxiety?
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO what can you do? This is the cool bit 🙂 what if you used the same habits of playing things over and over again in your mind, to your advantage? You’re already doing it, just make it work for you? What would happen if you started looking for the good in you? Would you start feeling good?
I hear you say, but I am no good at some things, “I always mess up” or “I never do it right”. You have to watch those words, because they are all lies that you are telling yourself. We quickly forget what we are good at. You get up each day and dress yourself and don’t think twice about it. Of course it’s easy we have practised it for years. But do you congratulate yourself on that success every day. NOooooooooooo! You just pass it by and beat yourself up over little mistakes you make and you play them over and over blocking out any chance of seeing any good that you’re doing.
You do some things perfectly, you are always good at some things, the things you have practised until you mastered them. Often people beat themselves up for years saying “I’m no good at this”. Until one day they master it and stop thinking about it. Then they never celebrate that achievement and move on to the next thing they are going to beat themselves up about. Have you done this, I know I have.
This is where you take charge of your thoughts, this is where you take charge of your life and good feelings and start building your self esteem.
Try writing down all the things you did well today, it may be getting the bus on time, to finishing a project, even write down the things you did half right. Its better focusing on the bit you got right, rather than the bit you got half wrong. Because focusing on the bit you got wrong will only make you feel pain and you will want to run away from it. Whereas when you focus on the bit you did right you feel good and will have no problem improving on it.
I have heard stories of people whose achievements for the day, was getting out of bed. But they gradually improved and now coach people with similar problems to them selves.
How about focusing on building other peoples self esteem? How would you feel every day if you only seen the good in other people? How would they feel? And would them feeling good make other people feel good?
You are in charge and because of that there is no chance of getting depressed or anxious. With a little practice you could be building up the most amazing person that has ever walked this planet.
Build the habit of loving yourself.