If you have a pulse, you have probably struggled with low self-esteem from time to time. You want to feel like a good person but no matter what you try, you just can’t seem to find any lasting satisfaction with who you are. You spend countless hours wishing you could fix yourself because you think you’re the problem. You beat yourself up and hide the parts of yourself you don’t like. At times you feel better but it is not long before you’re back to square one: Fraud.
But what if you have the problem all wrong? What if the problem isn’t you? What if the problem is how you relate to yourself? The way you buy into those negative thoughts? I am not saying you’re flawless, and some amount of constructive criticism is a good thing, but how do you know these negative thoughts are true anyway? Have you ever had a thought that you were sure was true, but realized later that you were totally wrong? Has your mind ever been wrong about anything?
You spend countless hours wishing you could fix yourself because you think you’re the problem.
I have always struggled with low self-esteem, living in a constant second-guessing loop. Happiness only lasted but a few before the depression kicked in and the suicidal thoughts flowed. I never felt I was good enough, and would sometimes wonder if anyone would miss me if I were to drop down and die. A little dark, I know, but that is what a life of living in a bubble of low self-esteem looked like.
So many opportunities were missed and so many chances at creating wonderful memories gone because I never felt I was good enough. Often, I cried myself to sleep wondering why? Why couldn’t I just snap out of it?
Having an introverted personality only made things worse, because then now everyone just assumed I had an attitude and arrogance problem. To be honest, I hated that I failed to go after what I wanted, I hated that I couldn’t participate in activities and conversations I really wanted to, I hated that I shied away from people and couldn’t easily form friendships, and in the end, I started hating myself.
I never felt I was good enough, and would sometimes wonder if anyone would me miss if I were to drop down and die.
So this article is for anyone that has been or is in the same boat, I just want to let you know that you are not alone, and even if it may seem far-fetched, it is possible to step out of it.
Is it an overnight achievement? No! Far from it actually; it is an ongoing messy process that involves falling every now and then but having the determination to keep trying after each fall.
Something that has helped or rather let me say is helping me remold the way I think and carry myself is the quote by Steven Furtick that states that the thoughts you keep in a loop, determine the direction of your life.
The practice of mindfulness is a way of being aware of the present moment, with an attitude of openness, curiosity, and non-judgment. Being mindful is to observe your moment-to-moment experiences; your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. You let your thoughts and emotions arrive and pass through your mind, but do not react or get carried away by them.
I am not saying pretend to not feel or think what you’re feeling or thinking but rather do not dwell on them, do not let them consume you.
I am asking you to try and spare even just 5-10 minutes of your day every day to practice some mindfulness steps such as those listed below:
Look in the mirror and tell yourself daily affirmations.
Think about things you are good at — what are your strengths?
Celebrate the small things in your life — give yourself a pat on the back when you achieve even a small thing.
Challenge your negative thinking — look for alternative explanations and put things into perspective.
Think about things you can change — don’t worry about things you can’t change.
Avoid trying to do things perfectly — perfection is not possible.
Stop beating yourself up if you make mistakes — everyone makes mistakes.
Do things you enjoy — it’s easier to be positive when you are doing things you like
Be with people who don’t bring you down.
Volunteer to help people — this can make you feel better about yourself.
The things we do repeatedly and consistently end up shaping our future. Whether we’ll be successful or not often depends on the quality of our habits.
To borrow the words of Aristotle, We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Kabuku Chileshe Kabwela is an embodiment of multiple skills, talents, and interests that seamlessly merge to create her life, work, and career. She is a Zambian-based trained communication and PR specialist with an ability to string words together in the art of creative direction and storytelling.
Her hobbies include writing, traveling, thrilling adventure, crafting, and music.