Self-Esteem Hack, Part 2

Let’s say you come up with a specific trait you don’t like about yourself and you feel it has nothing to do with what other people think of you. My friends tell me this. “I don’t care if anyone else doesn’t like it, I DON’T LIKE IT.”

So you are tuning in and trying to figure out what it is you judge yourself about and you say, “I’m too bossy.” Or you say, “I’m too lazy about my schoolwork.” Or you say, “I don’t like my face.”

It’s really hard not liking yourself, have you noticed? Feel in your body the moments you are judging yourself. How does your chest and abdomen feel? Your face and shoulders? Notice how you carry yourself when the thoughts are there, “I don’t like myself”, “I don’t like my face.”

NOW - for an experiment, think about the people you love the most, the ones who are really there for you and you for them. The ones who you admire their best qualities. Maybe it’s a grandparent, a mentor, a best friend or your partner.

Do you like them because of their face, hair or whether or not they get everything done they want to get done (not “lazy")? Do you like them because they have a toned body?

I used to spend a lot of time with my grandma as a child. We would bake sugar cookies, sew little pillows from scrap material, go out and look at the constellations and tell each other stories. Do you think I ever once cared about the way her legs looked or her hair or if she took a nap every day instead of cleaning up the coffee rings on the countertop? I cared about the time we spent together. I cared that she listened to me and laughed when I said something funny. I cared about the way I felt when I was with her which was relaxed, appreciated and seen. I didn’t ever notice if she was 58, 68, or 88.

There’s this sneaky little critic inside the mind and it’s the thing we think other people are using when they look at us. It’s also the thing we are using when WE look at us.

Ask yourself then, what is the part of you that believes everyone else is judging you? What is the part of your mind that believes you aren’t good enough? I mean, what is this thing? You know how this thing feels when it takes over your body. You know what it says to you. It’s that part, this entity, that needs questioned not the specifics it uses to distract you. In other words, it keeps saying, “Look over here, look at your arms, look at your work ethic, look at your this or that” but you don’t ever question the critical part itself. Maybe this PART of the mind is delusional. Maybe it was put in place a long time ago to protect you but now it’s not reporting accurate information. If I never cared about my grandmother’s hair because I loved her, then other people who love you don’t care about your hair either. It’s YOU who is doing the criticizing and it’s only a part of your mind that is afraid of being hurt - it’s not your whole mind.

But earlier I said self-hatred hides because we are not specific about it. So let’s take a specific issue. “I don’t like myself because I am too lazy about my schoolwork.”

Let’s break it down. While you are busy judging yourself, maybe the times you have been “lazy” you have been actually resting, reflecting, or marinating in the ideas before you bust out getting whatever it is done. How do you know what lazy really is then? If it was actually marination time?

Maybe you think your arms are too flabby. Have you every been around someone who doesn’t have flabby arms, maybe they have perfectly toned ones? But have you ever found that person to be really intimidating? So how can you really know your arms are supposed to look like their arms? In the grand scheme of things - the all and the everything of life - can you absolutely know how you are supposed to look to someone else? Maybe you having mismatched socks helps someone calm down. Maybe you not being a certain age helps someone feel like you know what you are talking about or maybe you being a certain race, height, or gender is just exactly what the doctor ordered.

You never really know. This is why the critical part is delusional. It thinks it knows - but it’s just a part that came into existence a long time ago to help you make sure you didn’t get in trouble. But now, you are an adult and you can relax a bit.

Self-esteem Hack, part 1

Self-esteem Hacks

So often we have a self-esteem issue that is underlying our behavior and beliefs. We discover it in therapy at the moment we begin making excuses for why we don’t go out and get the things we want. There is a moment where we realize we don’t like ourselves.

So when we come to this realization people will often ask, “So now what? Now that I know, what do I do?”

It’s here that almost everyone stumbles and doesn’t know what to do.

This place feels so subjective. A teacher I know always says that in order to heal something you have to get VERY SPECIFIC about what needs the healing. The idea is that our self-hate hides in lack of clarity or lack of specificity. That’s what maintains it. Lack of clarity.

So I want you to try something to help you learn more about what is going on in your unconscious. Take a minute, get out some paper, and WRITE DOWN THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU SPEND TIME OBSESSING ON.

Maybe you only have 2 - 4 people. That’s fine. Just write them down. I’m sure you have those people that you go on and on about in your head creating stories. If you don’t know who they are I bet your family members know who it is you obsess on. Take your time finding your people.

Now make a few notes next to each one about how you compare yourself to them.

“Well, this one has more friends than I do. That makes me feel insecure.”

“This one achieves more than I do”.

“This one doesn’t respect me.”

“This one doesn’t listen to me.”

Whatever it is write it and be as detailed as possible. These are the clues we need!

Finally, I want you to write the things about these five people that are less than ideal. They have some negative traits, everyone does. Go ahead and be as specific as possible and write down these negative things. You are allowed to judge them right now. You are allowed to say whatever it is without justifying it. (“I know they don’t mean to but...”). Forget the justification!

Now - I’m going to ask you a few questions.

  1. Are you creating a self-esteem picture about yourself based on what you believe these people think of you?

  2. How influenced is your self-esteem picture by the person’s negative traits (not their positive traits)?

  3. Ask yourself: Do I respect this person... is this person that I am so worried about someone who I respect their way of thinking, behaving, believing, etc.?

Really tune in here. How do I feel about them? Not how do they feel about me.... How do I feel about them? You might find something interesting here if you really look.

If we look at the first question. Am I creating a self-esteem idea of myself, in my head, based on what I think they think? Is that true? Do I really know what they think?

Do I respect these people that are so important I am creating my whole self-esteem around them and what I think of them and what I think they think of me?

Do they really know you? This is important. I mean, do they know you inside and out? Do they know how good you are with children or dogs or cooking or budgeting or gardening? Do they know what makes you passionate? Do they know what makes you smile or relaxes you? Do they value the things you value so that the question even matters? For example, you value animals and they don’t value animals, then why does it matter what they think of you on this particular topic? There is actually no common ground on this issue. If you value budgeting money and they don’t value budgeting money then does it even matter what they say about you on this topic?

If you value unconditional love and they value conditional love, does it matter what they say about you? If you value sobriety and they value drinking, does it matter what they say to you on this topic?

What I see often (almost every day) are very wonderful people with tons of empathy and lots of good qualities, but they don’t like themselves because they create their self-esteem based on people who don’t value them. Read that sentence again and see if it applies to you in any way.

There’s so much more we could do on this topic but I’ll save that for part 2.

Have a wonderful day!

I lost my old blog

I lost my old blog when I updated my website in June. I had lots of posts over there about parenting and Hakomi and being a teenager. But I have decided it’s a good thing because I am going to commit to doing one post a week to get us back in contact with each other. So stay tuned and look for what’s coming next. Have a great day!