Many people come to an awareness of what they need to do to improve their self esteem. This can be a short process or one that takes a frustratingly long time. There are some who refuse to acknowledge their reality, even if they are aware and there are some who can’t wait to move into a new life, however difficult that might become. It is down, usually to the individual how this process goes. One thing we can say is that moving forward to improve self worth and esteem is a choice and that choice has to be made and followed through. It is our responsibility to ensure that this happens once that choice has been made.
During therapy, I am often confronted with an attitude in clients of resistance to change. They often say they can’t, won’t be able to and get stuck in over thinking things to the point of paralysis. I strongly challenge my clients in this phase and make it clear that it is their responsibility for their thoughts, desires, plans, behaviour, choices, priorities, attitude, values, happiness and self esteem. Many find this a difficult concept but realising that they are ultimately responsible for themselves is key to the process. Essential also is a willingness to accept that and move forward. The solution is always in their hands. This challenge will often help and it is vital that a therapist really does challenge the client to look at their responsibility to move forward. It is fine to talk but what is the point of therapy without the proverbial light in the dark tunnel? Self discipline is another matter that comes into the equation. This is the willingness and determination to face the hurdles that will inevitably come in the process of changing the long held view of self.
No one cares about your wellbeing and future as much as you do. The only person who will be self-disciplined for you is you. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) this isn’t something you can delegate to other people or expect them to do for you.
Accepting that it’s your responsibility to be self-disciplined requires you to see things as they are, embrace reality, and act based on that awareness. It sounds easy when I put it like that, but the number one obstacle that blocks people from doing what they want to do is part of their sub-conscious waiting to be rescued. They are waiting for someone to come and make all the hard decisions, endure the discomfort and take responsibility for them. This is not going to happen. I am sure that many of you would agree with the quote below from one of my favorite authors :
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. It is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.” M. Scott Peck
Keep the following in mind:
Realise and accept you have a problem and only you can set the solution in motion. Others may be able to help but you need to initiate. To not do this is delusion and not living in reality.
Stop talking your problem. Talk the solution. Talking about your problems all the time is to pile misery upon misery. Be proactive and preventive. Look forward and take measures to ease problems before they overwhelm.
The power of focus. You can be putting tremendous energy into something, but is it the right thing? Many people expend huge amounts of energy and creativity trying not to do something and maintaining a false blueprint. Refine your focus.
Analyse your language and excuses. As discussed in an earlier post, our mind will process any message we give it. Start turning language into more positive affirmations:
“I am stuck “becomes” I am in a difficult position but I will do my best to move forward”
“I can’t” becomes “I want to/would like to”
“I am not able” becomes “I want to try”
Have a strengths and achievements list. In a journal, maintain a list of strengths and achievements. Keep the list up to date and bring in a reward system.
Fight the critic. You will no doubt encounter resistance along the way and your critical voices will remind you of the original message received long ago. Challenge and counter these voices often. Take leadership!
Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self respect leads to self discipline. “When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” – Clint Eastwood.