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Raise your Self-Esteem by Doing the Opposite

Self-EsteemRemember that Seinfeld episode where George figures out that his life worked better if he did the opposite of what came naturally?

There is a lesson in this for those suffering with low self-esteem. Better yet, it is easy to implement if you prepare yourself properly.

Here’s the deal. Low self-esteem is usually due to a psychological attachment to being perceived in a negative light.

It begins in childhood where thoughtless caregivers treated you harshly, as if your thoughts and feelings didn’t matter. They didn’t spend time with you. They criticized you. They made fun of you.

By constantly seeing you in a negative light, they taught you a powerful lesson – that your existence is a negative.

This alone is not enough to create low self-esteem.

The real problem lies in the fact that you trusted and continue to trust, their judgment.

You had no choice to believe in their perception of you. No child can separate himself from the opinions of authority figures.

In reality, they were wrong about you. Dead wrong.

As an adult you can probably look at your early caregivers more objectively and realize that they were sorely misguided and unhappy people themselves. What business did they have teaching an innocent child about his own self-worth?

At this point, the black hole of negativity in your psyche is quite powerful, however, and you may have a very difficult time shaking the emotional attachment to all the negativity.

In other words, once you got programmed to see yourself negatively, you stuck with that program. You trusted it and took the helm. And you are still playing out that old script if you suffer with low self-esteem.

The bad news: Your negative judgment of yourself is false, but it feels true.

Worse news: You trust your skewed judgment and behave in ways that fulfill all those old, negative expectations. You then create more evidence that you are worthless!

For example, you set a positive goal to get in better shape. You don’t take positive actions, though because you believe there is no point in a worthless person such as yourself attempting to look and feel great. What’s the point, anyway? So, you abandon your plan and eat more pasta and cake.

Now you have more evidence that you really are worthless. People in your life are disappointed and wonder what is wrong with you. You are still being perceived in a negative light.

At this point, however, you are the one setting the trap for yourself.

The good news, at last: Because you trust your own false judgment about yourself, this gives you a clear path forward. In regards to issues related to self-esteem, do the opposite!

Preparing to do the opposite and raising your self-esteem.

The key is to realize that your seemingly natural tendency to do things that prove your low self-esteem are based on a false indoctrination, one that you continue to give yourself in the present.

When you really get this, you will open space in your psyche for other possibilities.

Here are some more ideas:

Baby steps. Don’t think you need to reverse years of negativity in a day, or a week (or a month). Just reverse it one episode at a time and don’t give energy to your missteps.

Notice the immediate rise in self-respect when you do the opposite of what would make you feel low. For example, you feel like stuffing your face with potato chips. You realize that this desire is based on the lie that you aren’t worth taking care of.

So, you do the opposite and resist by doing something else. In that moment, you will feel proud of yourself for the measure of personal discipline you just applied. Enjoy that.

Then, learn to tolerate the self-respect. Yes, happiness and self-respect, when you aren’t used to those states, take some getting used to so that you can trust them. For many, this is unfamiliar territory.

Patience, tolerance for success and baby steps over time will reverse the trend of negative psychological attachments.

To learn more about how to raise your self-esteem and free yourself from self-sabotage, watch our free video, The AHA Solution.

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Raise your Self-Esteem by Doing the Opposite


Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.


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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2013). Raise your Self-Esteem by Doing the Opposite. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 12, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2013/08/raise-your-self-esteem-by-doing-the-opposite/

 

Last updated: 16 Aug 2013
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