How Learning From Successes Can Boost Your Self-Esteem
Learning from successes can boost your self-esteem because you can learn more about yourself and your strengths. Virtually everyone excels in at least one area (often more than one area); this can help you to learn where your best skills lie and to do more activities that enable you to take advantage of these advanced skills more often.
When you do something well, you feel a sense of accomplishment, pride, and confidence surge in you because you were able to achieve something that either helped yourself and/or helped others. In many cases, you were the best person for the task and were more easily able to achieve it than other people would have. Therefore, other people will look up to you because you were able to complete the task and/or achieve the feat so quickly and easily as compared to others.
When you are having a difficult time or struggling with challenges, it is important to look back upon your successes and realize that you have the capability of doing great things and succeeding at whatever you are doing. Sometimes, life “throws us a curveball” that makes us uncomfortable and causes us to struggle a bit with tasks that we are not used to completing and have a hard time completing at a high level.
The key is that we must remember that even during these difficult times, we have the capability to adapt and succeed. Reflect back on those times when you’ve had successes, especially those tasks that others struggled and they called upon you to do them. Whether it was an issue with a computer or electronic device, an item at home that needed repairing, or just offering helpful advice to someone dealing with a situation you dealt with before, you were able to succeed where others couldn’t or would have a harder time succeeding.
By reflecting on your past successes and realizing you have the capability to adapt and do many tasks well, you will realize that whatever present challenge you’re facing can be overcome as well. You just have to focus on the task at hand, utilize the lessons you’ve learned from having past successes, and put the work in to overcome the present challenge. By taking time to reflect and learn from your past successes, you can keep your self-esteem during times of great difficulty and be able to overcome virtually any challenge that comes your way.
If you want to start feeling more energetic and getting more done then it is important to think about the way you are managing your emotion. Emotion and energy levels are intimately linked and understanding this connection is the key for many people who want to feel more awake and productive.
Why Emotion Affects Energy
The brain is essentially a large web of connected neurons which psychologists call the ‘connectome’. This connectome fires as we experience various things in the world or as we remember certain things and this then creates a variety of different subjective experiences for us.
At the same time though, our brain’s unconscious processes pay close attention to the nature of what we’re focused on and then produce neurotransmitters accordingly. If what you’re seeing is important then your brain will produce things like dopamine which make us more motivated and help us to remember things better. If what we’re seeing makes us scared and is at all associated with pain or bad things happening, we’ll produce norepinephrine (adrenaline) and become more focused and anxious.
These same things then in turn affect energy levels. When we’re alert and focused, this triggers changes in the sympathetic nervous system that increase our heartrate, our circulation and muscle tone all to make us more switched on and productive.
On the other hand, when something seems dull and uninteresting, our brain tells us we’re safe and able to go back to relaxing. Thus it will produce GABA and melatonin which settle us down and make us sleep.
The Optimum Emotional State for Energy
Boredom then is absolutely fatal for energy levels. If you find your energy flagging one of the very best things you can possibly do is to switch up your environment or make the task you’re performing more interesting. This will immediately tell your brain something interesting is going on and you’ll become more alert and awake again.
This is also why depression and sadness are so bad for your energy levels. When you’re depressed you struggle to be interested in anything or to care about anything. By doing something that makes you happy you can produce serotonin and oxytocin which will make you more positive and interested again. This is why spending time with friends, laughing or even exercising are so energizing.
Setting Up Your Environment for a Better Self-Image
Our environment dictates how we will behave. If we live in a bad neighborhood, we will always be on the watch for crime. Crime can happen in good neighborhoods too, but the chances are less. Environment plays an important role when trying to set up a positive self-image. The wrong settings will make it much harder to accomplish. Use the following to create an environment that raises your chances of success.
Although more of a mental environment setting, meditation can be a great way to clear your mind, focus on good mental images, and reduce stress. The benefits of meditation are numerous. For instance, people who meditate reduce their risk of disease. They tend to be less depressed and have less anxiety. But perhaps one of the most important benefits of meditation is control of mind. This is a crucial aspect of maintaining a positive self-image. Your mind is clearer, your memory is better, and you can focus more easily.
Avoid Negative People
If you are constantly surrounded by negative people, it is going to be difficult not to be sucked into that negativity. The best solution for this is to avoid these people altogether. This may be easier said than done when you have no choice but to deal with them, sometimes on a daily basis. But you have to do your best in minimizing contact with these people.
Increase Exposure to Positive People
If you cannot avoid negative people, try increasing your exposure to positive people, which you should do anyway. Positive people are easier to hang out with. They will be helpful to you and will make you happier overall. They can also point out when you are making negative statements and help you adjust back to positive ones. Their positivity becomes addictive.
Get Your Financial Situation in Order
One of the biggest stresses in life comes from not having your financial situation in order. Take the steps necessary to make sure that this is not an issue with your life. If it means working more hours or taking on a second job, that is what you should consider. Keep in mind that when you gain a more positive self-image, your work situation and prospects for employment are going to improve. So you will not have to work extra hours for any extended period.
Setting up the foundation that is the most optimal for creating a positive self-image will go a long way in helping you provide a better life for you and your family.
Negative Habits and a Positive Outlook
We’ve all been unhappy at one time or another. Yet, when you look back at an unhappy time in your life, did you really want to be there? Did you actually want to be unhappy? You see, unhappy people do not want to be unhappy. They are just the same as successful people. They want to achieve goals and get to where they want to be. They want to make their dreams a reality and change their own personal circumstance in the process. In short, unhappy people want to be happy. So, why aren’t they?
The main reason is that unhappiness produces stressful and unhappy emotions. This stress and these emotions combine to cause unhappy people to take actions that are designed to keep them stuck in the very situation that makes them unhappy. They actually begin to develop the habit of being unhappy. Yes, you read that correctly. Unhappiness can be a habit. So can under productivity. So can failure. Any negative emotion can and will become habitual if experienced long enough. Negative thoughts produce negative actions which cause negative results. These negative results, in turn, produce more negative thoughts that reinforce the process. The end result is a habitual and cyclical negativity.
Habits occur because the brain loves to be economical. You see, thinking about something costs calories. Habitual behavior is largely unthinking behavior. So, when habits form, the brain becomes more efficient in how it uses energy. This is a biological imperative that developed back in the days when we hunted and gathered food that was scarce. The more you can “autopilot” behavior, the less likely it is that you’re going to starve.
Breaking negative habitual behaviors isn’t hard if you approach the problem correctly. The first step is to recognize the negative behavior for what it is. Remember, habits are ingrained, unthinking behaviors. Many times, people with bad habits don’t know they have them. To find a negative habit, you have to look for repetitive actions. Are there things you do, time and time again, that always turn our badly? There’s your negative habitual behavior.
Once you identify the bad habit, you begin to take conscious steps to modify the negative behavior. This means that you act contrary to the way you usually act under the circumstances. In other words, if you usually turn right in a given situation, you force yourself to turn left. You do the opposite of what it is you usually do. The end result is that you begin to break the habitual behavior that has been causing you so much trouble.
Have you ever put a smile on your face when you just weren’t feeling it? It’s hard to do, but the results are much better than if you frown. There are events and periods of time that truly test our strength and threaten to destroy the happiness that took so long to find.
Although the word, “fake” implies that you’re being deceitful, it may be a good tactic to use when you’re feeling down and out and need a boost to your well-being.
Most of us aren’t comfortable with not telling the truth, so faking happiness may not appeal to you at first. But, going through the day with a positive outlook – even though you may feel the opposite – can actually bring feelings of happiness.
It could be because of the way others react toward your demeanor. If you’re sad and downcast, others will treat you differently than if you approach them smiling and self-confident.
Several phrases that have developed over time seem to validate faking happiness to achieve it. “Grin and bear it,” and “Turn your smile upside down,” are just a couple of cliché phrases that indicate you should smile when you don’t really feel it – but eventually the feelings will be real.
Dozens of studies have been performed on the subject of happiness. One telling study had persons holding a pencil in their teeth causing them to smile – while other persons held the pencil with their lips, mimicking a frown.
Then, both groups were asked to look at cartoons. Those with the fake smiles rated the cartoons much funnier than those with frowns, indicating that even fake smiles can cause a higher level of happiness.
A recent test on those whose abilities to frown were impaired by Botox injections were happier than those who could frown easily. That study also indicates that even a fake smile is better than none at all.
Those who lack confidence are sometimes told by counselors and life coaches to fake self-esteem and confidence – just to see how it feels. Those who act more confidently than they feel are better able to project confidence to others.
Know that you don’t need to be happy all the time. Having periods of being unhappy can better help you focus on what needs to be changed in your life so you can recognize happiness when you do find it.
Finding a “happy balance” is a better way to pursue happiness and help you cope with anything that comes your way. By recognizing the emotions you’re feeling, you’ll become much better at coping with them.
How to Deal With a Difficult Emotion Using Mindfulness
Mindfulness has a great many uses and is often prescribed by self-help gurus, doctors, writers and others as a tool anyone can use to improve their mental health.
Often this focusses on the long-term benefits of being more present and aware. At the same time though, mindfulness can also be used like a scalpel to deal with more acute problems. Here we will look at how it can be leveraged for instance to tackle specific emotions as they arise.
Turning Towards Emotions
Normally when we experience negative emotions, we react either by trying to ‘fight them’ or by trying to suppress them. This can be described as almost ‘turning away’ from our emotions to try and deny them their power over us.
Unfortunately, this ultimately tends to result in our becoming more stressed or upset as the emotions bubble under the surface, or as we frustrate ourselves in trying to fight them.
Instead though, mindfulness teaches us to turn towards our emotions. What this means, is that you are going to listen to the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing and then simply acknowledge them. Now you say ‘I am stressed’, ‘I am embarrassed’ or ‘I am upset’. Don’t be ashamed or upset that emotion exists but simply recognize that you are currently in that state.
People get upset sometimes. People get angry sometimes. But if you’re simply aware of your condition, then you can be aware that perhaps the thoughts you’re thinking aren’t completely objective. What’s more, you should keep hold of the knowledge that emotions aren’t permanent. In other words, you’re feeling angry right now and as such your thoughts shouldn’t be taken too seriously. But in a few hours, you will likely feel better and then the world will seem like a brighter place again.
This creates a subtle but powerful shift. No longer is the world a terrible place and thus you are upset, now you are upset and thus the world seems like a terrible place. The difference is that you now know that belief is not true.
What’s more, being aware and accepting of your emotions in this way will allow you to assess them in a kind of ‘debriefing’ and to look at what triggered them, how you dealt with them and what they made you think and do. The more you break down and intellectualize your emotions, the more you will find you gain control over them.
If you know that feedback is good for you, why do you sometimes respond defensively when you hear it? It’s natural to want to protect your feelings, but cutting yourself off from useful input interferes with learning and growth.
Fortunately, defensive mechanisms are learned behavior that you can train yourself to overcome. The next time you feel like you’re under attack, keep these points in mind.
Accepting Feedback – Understanding Your Defense Triggers
1. Examine your past. Feeling like you’re being judged unfairly can dredge up unresolved issues from earlier years. Ask yourself if you’re responding to the immediate situation or still caught up in trying to justify yourself to a parent or ex-spouse.
2. Consider the source. Maybe you’re okay with feedback in general, unless it comes from a stranger or someone you don’t get along with. Keep in mind that strangers and adversaries may bring up valuable information your loved ones tiptoe around.
3. Keep it private. It’s more uncomfortable being lectured in front of an audience. Let others know that you’d appreciate talking one-on-one.
4. Reframe conflicts. Airing grievances has its upside. You bring disagreements out into the open where they can be resolved instead of festering into something worse. Plus, the process of collaborating on solutions tends to deepen the connection between colleagues, friends, and family.
5. Shift your mindset. Look at feedback as an opportunity to grow instead of a sign you flunked some big test. You’ll feel empowered rather than threatened.
6. Affirm your value. Shore up your self-esteem so you’re ready for your next performance review or family meeting. Remembering your accomplishments as a top salesperson or gourmet cook will give you the confidence you need to brush up in a few more areas.
Accepting Feedback – Working on Communication Skills
1. Slow down. Pausing for a deep breath will give you time to calm down and hear what’s being said. That way you can decide how to respond instead of automatically shutting down or lashing out.
2. Listen to your body. If being defensive has become a habit, you may need to watch closely to notice the symptoms. Check whether your pulse is racing or your jaw is clenched.
3. Face your feelings. It can be hard to look at ourselves honestly and navigate a sensitive conversation. Acknowledging that you’re stressed or uncomfortable makes it easier to deal with your emotions.
4. Avoid retaliation. Your first impulse may be to strike back by pointing out the flaws in others. If you resist that temptation, you’re more likely to have a productive discussion.
5. Offer validation. Let others know that you respect their opinions and want to understand their point of view. Repeat back what you heard in your own words. It will give you time to think and show that you’re sincere about collaborating on solutions.
6. Search for truth. Sometimes feedback is off base and delivered without much skill or good intentions. Before you dismiss it entirely, remember that there may still be some valid insights buried in there. Think it over or ask someone you trust to help you sort it out.
7. Suggest alternatives. Receiving feedback skillfully doesn’t always mean acting upon it. That decision is up to you. You may want to explain your position and express your willingness to work things out some other way.
Constructive feedback helps you to enjoy more happiness and success. Being open to comments and criticism will strengthen your relationships and put you on the path to achieving your potential.
When you need a little boost in your self-esteem, or you need a booster for your mojo, grab a cup of your favorite coffee and pull up a comfy chair. Watch this video and take the messages to heart – you can decide to change your whole life, starting right now. Let’s do this.
Beating overwhelm is a necessary part of getting things done. While overwhelm can have a variety of causes, for narcissistic abuse survivors, it can feel like you’re absolutely paralyzed. In most cases, the task that needs to be completed isn’t enjoyable. Or you lack inspiration. Mowing the grass when it’s 90 degrees outside is a good example of both.
Dealing with laziness is an important self-management skill. Getting things done when you don’t feel like doing them is practically a superpower. You’re unstoppable.
Beat laziness and accomplish more each day with the 15 tips I’m sharing in today’s video.
Take frequent, short breaks. Tell yourself that you’ll work for 25 minutes and then take a quick break. Focus with all your might for those 25 minutes, and then relax for five.
Be tough with yourself. Getting started requires the most willpower. Once you’ve gotten started, it’s easy to keep going. Grind your way through the first few minutes and then use the momentum to your advantage.
Stand up straight. Slouching and laziness go together. Stand up tall and straight. You’ll feel better and more motivated.
Monitor your inner dialog. Say positive things about the task at hand. Negative talk will stall your progress.
Stop thinking about it. When you think about doing an undesirable task, you feel uncomfortable. That’s the reason you won’t do it. So, don’t think about it. Keep your mind on something else and get started.
Keep it short and intense. Change your physiology, and your thoughts will change, too.
Use a timer. See how long it takes you to complete the task. Make a game out of it. Another option is to set a timer for five minutes and see if you can perform the task for those five minutes without having even one negative thought. Timers are great for increasing focus.
Get rid of the distractions. Get away from the TV and lock your cell phone in your desk.
Keep your mind on a single task. Ironically, when you have a lot to do, it can be hard to do anything at all. Keep your mind on one task and forget about the rest. When this task is complete, the others will still be there.
Think about how great you’ll feel when you’re done. Thinking about how dreadful the task will be is the best way to ensure that you won’t do it anytime soon.
Be proud of getting your tasks completed. Most of us hate performing a task, and then feel neutral about getting it done. Get excited about completing these annoying tasks. Give yourself a pat on the back when they’re completed.
Start with something easy. When faced with several things you don’t want to do, start with the quickest and easiest. The sense of accomplishment will keep you going.
Make a to-do list.Cross the items off as they’re completed and enjoy the progress you’re making. There’s something satisfying about marking items off a list.
Consider the benefits of the task. Will you get to keep your job? Get a date? Have a freshly manicured lawn? Consider the benefits of the activity. Focus on these benefits and get started before your attention drifts.
Plan a reward at the end of the day. If you get everything completed, do something enjoyable. Meet a friend for dinner or rent a movie.
Laziness is a common dilemma. It occurs when the motivation to do a task is insufficient. There are several causes for this, but the cause isn’t important. Choose a few workable strategies to get you going and put them into action. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at your results.