During one of our many chats, my oldest brother remarked about a recent blog post that I made, feeling that I should take my own advice when it comes to things, and it honestly made me feel like I should really do that. The problem is that it’s been so easy for me to give advice, mostly because others ask me for it, but for me to take my own advice is something I had not thought about, mostly due to my wanting to please others.
The thing was that he was right, and he still is.
Spectrumites, from every part of the Spectrum including myself, want so much to belong, to fit in, to want to be or look “normal.” We worry about that need to fit in that we often times ask others for their advice to our problems. It makes the change to trust yourself more challenging that others. In fairness, being able to trust ourselves, to trust our gut, our feelings, can be refreshing, but it can unnerving at the same time. It feels especially so if you’re prone to think of others opinions as more important than your own, as I do.
The question for us is only how can we trust ourselves? Two articles might help us out in this regard, one from is here (https://www.cognitivehealing.com/personal-growth/strategies-to-build-up-self-esteem/)
Here’s the highlights that I read from the articles, with my insights afterwards. First are the highlights on the aforementioned articles:
1. Change your Faulty Perception about Self
In order to build your self esteem, you need to attack these negative labels and begin to focus on your strengths. Start using some affirmations, like,” I am learning to like myself”,” I am good in art work”,” I am beautiful and people like me”. In this way you attack your faulty perceptions.
Attacking negative labels is a daily challenge, but by using positive affirmations, you can feel bolstered on your best days. It’s tough, but I feel like it can be done.
2. Keep promises to yourself.
For instance, you might make the commitment to create and sustain a boundary. You might make the commitment to take a walk or see the doctor for a checkup. You might make the commitment to go to bed earlier or go to church every week.
In my life, boundaries are very hard to maintain, especially when people ask you for advice all the time, while you’re trying to decompress and recharge from the day, but again, but promises made need to be kept, if only for yourself if anything.
2. Don’t listen to the Critic
Do not blame yourself for every thing that happens. Try to be objective and look in the situation without using your colored perception about your self, which happens to always attack you. This way you learn to stop finding fault at every thing you do and become more complacent with yourself.
3. Speak kindly to yourself.
“Everyone has these awful voices in their heads.”
Fortunately, this is a habit you can reduce or even eliminate. For instance, the next time you make a mistake and blurt out “You’re so stupid,” catch yourself, and instead say, “That’s OK. It was just a small slipup,” or “Yes, that was a big mistake, but I’ll learn from it, and I love myself anyway.”
I combined these two into one, mostly because one feeds into the other.
These two are the big ones I know I need to work on, especially when I’m very hard on myself. I know that I’m prone to say “I’m sorry” in situations that it wasn’t needed and I know that I’m very critical on myself, to mask the person I am. I’ve always felt that, no matter what I do, that my efforts aren’t good enough.
I need to keep myself from doing that and I feel like I’m not the only one, but again, with work, we can do it. We need to be the person we want to be, not what everyone wants us to be, which leads me to the next points…
3. Let Go of the Judge Within You
When you have low self esteem, you tend to discount the facts and believe in your judge which tells you, ”you are no good”,” You always fail”, “It does not matter what you want” and so on. When the judge evaluates you like this, you tend to listen to the judge and fail to look into the facts. In new situations, try to examine the facts. Just because it happened in your childhood, does not mean that it will always happen in the future.
4. Set Realistic Goals and Do the Best
People with low self esteem tend to sometime set themselves for failure by setting idealistic goals for themselves and then beating themselves up when they fail to reach them. This damages their self esteem.
In order to feel good about yourself, you need to set realistic goals which are practical, possible, and attainable. It is also important to break your goals in short term objectives which are like baby steps created in small increments, to help you reach your long term goals.
These are another group of points that I feel need to be combined, because they feed into each other. The key in both of these points is to not be so self-critical or grandiose with our plans, instead, we need to do the best as we can with what we can, or what we have. Be happy with the progress we are making, small as it might be. We need to be happy with the plans we make, but also we need to know that our efforts matter.
5. Make friends who make you feel better
If you spend time with people who are always critical with you, undermine your capacity, and make sarcastic and demeaning remarks, you will end up feeling bad about yourself.
1. Avoid people who undermine your self-trust.
While you probably didn’t have control over having negative people in your life when you were a child, you do have control today. Think about the individuals who surround you. Do they support you? Do you really want them in your life?
6. Value Yourself as a Person
Listening to your favorite music, engaging in your favorite sports, doing art and craft, engaging in hobbies that you enjoy, going to the park, taking nature walks, taking a mental health break day, and indulging in social and recreational activities, will eventually fill the inner void that was created due to low self esteem.
Admittingly, I am a people-pleaser, not a people-eater.
The problem on my end is that, being a people-pleaser means that I tend to value everyone’s opinion of me instead of trusting my opinion. Much like Monk said, it tends to be “a blessing and a curse” and it’s something that I need to really reconsider.
Thanks to the help of a good friend, though, I am now able to see that in me and I feel like all Spectrumites have this tendency to want to be like everyone else, to the exclusion of what I feel is really me. Those whom I consider friends are given that title because of their loyalty, their kindness and willingness to listen. Sometimes having that support helps, especially in the darkest times in my life and I do value and respect those people whom I consider friends. It’s just me needing to remind myself that I matter, and I feel like Spectrumites might feel the same way.
So, let’s be the people we want to be and trust our own feelings and opinions, it’s something that we need to do, more for ourselves than anyone else. The reason to do this (and start today) is mostly because it’s our life that we’re living, not someone else’s. It’s quite all right to ask for advice, but in the final play of the game, we’re the ones who will (and must) live with the decisions we make. There will be decisions that will be tough, even difficult, to make, but they must be done.
That’s not to say that it’ll be easy to do so at first, but trust me that I believe that you can do it!!! So, my advice for you, my readers, is to Trust in God for His plan for you, whatever that might be, but also trust your own instincts, trust what you feel and, as always…