Overcoming Low Self-Esteem Part 1: Identifying Your Anxieties
By Dr Becky Spelman
Low self-esteem is best defined as a lack of confidence and the constant feeling of doubt about oneself and how you’re perceived by others. People with low self-esteem often come across as awkward, incompetent and fragile. They have a hard time not just with social mobility but also maintaining a sense of social parity.
However, living with low self-esteem isn’t a life sentence. With the right tools and willingness to grow beyond your current limitations, it can be overcome. Although, doing so depends on how much you’re willing to apply yourself.
Becoming Aware of Your Anxious Predictions
The first step is identifying and then tackling the anxious predictions that are making you feel uneasy in social settings. Once you’ve done this, you can address them one by one. And you can do so at your own pace, making consistent progress. It prevents from overburdening yourself, which can result in failure and disillusionment.
This involves developing three core skills, which are:
Awareness: Observing and recording what is going on around you and how it makes you feel.
Rethinking: Stepping back, using your discernment and questioning your negative thoughts.
Experiments: Using real experiences to create a more positive perspective and outlook.
In this post, we’re going to focus on cultivating your awareness.
How to Identify Your Anxieties
Real change is only possible when you’re able to rationalise what is happening to you and why you react in a certain way. It means becoming aware of your anxious predictions. These are the thoughts that are limiting your ability to live a balanced life. You anxious predictions are the worst-case scenarios that prevent you from taking action.
Secondly, you need to find out what precautions you’re taking prevent yourself from getting into these hypothetical situations of anxiety. The best way to do this is through journaling. It’ll help to have the following parameters marked off in a small notebook you can carry around with you. Every time you feel anxiety coming on, you’ll want to make a note of following:
You might regard this as an obvious suggestion. But it’s something that should definitely not be overlooked. Without the context of time, you’ll deny yourself one of your best tools for self-analysis, and that’s identifying patterns in your behaviour.
These aren’t your feelings or how you react to a situation – but the situation itself. What was going on when you started feeling anxious? Try and go into as much detail as possible. What were you doing, where were you, who was present, what was happening? The more you can remember, the better.
Emotions in the Body
Anxiety is an emotion in and of itself. But it often presents with others such as fear, worry, panic, stress, frustration and many more. Identify these emotions and give them a score out of 100, with 100 being the most severe and score between 5-10, meaning there was just a hint.
What was going through your mind at the exact point and just before you began to feel anxious? And also, as your anxiety developed? Your main focus here is thoughts about the future. These predictions are your anxiety in action on the mental level. Record them word for word. Again, give each a mark from 0 -100.
If you’ve perceived a negative threat, your next logical step is to try and find a way to avoid those situations. The precautions you take will reinforce your thinking and entrench you deeper within the feeling of low self-esteem. What steps of avoidance are you taking? What are you doing to protect yourself harm?
About the author:
Dr Becky Spelman PhD is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.
***If you’re struggling with depression and think you might benefit from speaking to someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.
Dr Fennell, M. (6thOct 2016). Overcoming Low Self Esteem. Robinson; UK 2nd ed. Edition (6thOct 2016).
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