When we’re trying to make changes in our lives, sometimes it’s easier to stop doing something that is already in our routine, rather than adding something.
Off that principle, below are a few tips you can use to throw out those unhealthy behaviors and usher in positive ones.
Stop Taking Things So Personal
Many people take things personally because their sense of self-worth is being threatened — and they don’t realize it.
Take for example when a wife asks her husband, “Did you do the dishes?”
At face value, there’s nothing personal about this question. Yet, his sense of self-worth can be instantly triggered. At a body level, he’s thinking, “Well, if I didn’t do the dishes I’m not doing enough — which means I’m not enough.”
When you notice you’ve taken something personally, simply take a breath and tune into your body. Ask yourself if you’re making up a story. “Is it true that her asking if I’ve done the dishes means I’m not enough?” Of course not. When he sees this, he’s able to respond calmly and not from a defensive position.
Now, he’s using the language of his nervous system rather than his analytical mind. This is important because if he tries to use logic to defend himself —
“Well, I’ve been working all day and then I took the dog on a walk and I haven’t had time…”
— he’s really trying to justify to his partner that he is, indeed, worth something (which can lead to a more intense conversation than is necessary.)
Because at the end of the day, “Are you worth something?” wasn’t the question. It was simply, “Did you do the dishes?”
Stop Trying to Use Positive Affirmations
A positive affirmation is lying to yourself until you believe it’s true. The issue with this toxic positivity is that your body doesn’t believe anything that’s not based on experience.
So say, for example, that you’ve been bullied for years for being overweight. If you look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re beautiful and strong and resilient, it likely isn’t going to make a big change in how you see yourself.
Why? Because your body hasn’t had the experience of actually seeing you as beautiful, strong, and resilient.
Instead, you need to create some action to go with your positive affirmation. So instead of looking in the mirror, go outside for a walk. Now while you’re walking, tell yourself how beautiful and strong and resilient you are.
Now, your body is going to believe you, because it has a real, positive experience to tie to these words.
However, for some people, their self-esteem issues go very deep – and they’re not able to heal themselves on their own. In this case, it may be time to seek support from a therapist or look into private residential treatment options.
Stop Scrolling Endlessly Through Social Media
In the last year, our phones have become an even bigger part of our lives than pre-2020. Many of us have found more time on our hands… which leads to more thoughtless scrolling through our social media feeds.
Many of us know that the people we see online are performing a role – they’re trying to look perfect (when they’re really not.) And even though we know this, it’s very easy to get sucked into the story that their lives are better than ours:
“I wish I could travel as much as she does.”
“Look at how to fit he is – I could never get to that point.”
“She has so many friends! My friends barely talk to me.”
Next time you’re scrolling, notice the feeling you get after reading each post. Are you feeling genuine happiness for a friend that got a promotion? Or are you feeling jealousy that their career is moving faster than yours?
As soon as you notice your mood is taking a dive, close the app and jump up and dance around for a minute. Getting some movement in your bones will help shake away those negative thoughts. When you’re done, find an activity that doesn’t include feeling bad about yourself.
There are many ways to feel better about ourselves, and it depends on each individual what works for them. Try out these options, and even more! See what feels good and what doesn’t.
At the end of the day, working toward a goal of improving your self-worth is an awesome step to take in itself.