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Protect your Self Esteem with CBT

May 24, 2011

Let’s face it, we all face challenges.   After all  life is a series of challenges.   And within those challenges its common for us to experience disappointment and frustration and probably  failure in some form along the way.

Two common ways in which may experience the idea of “failure” is when:

-We don’t  get what we want from others

-We don’t  perform  to the level we hoped/expected

Now depending on how YOU VIEW  the idea of failure and therefore the  situation- will result in either you protecting  your self esteem or helping it to  plummet downwards.

People with low self esteem consistently apply a mental filter so that when something bad happens they see that situation as:

  • As Personal  ” this could only happen to a looser like myself”; “People are taking advantage of me, I am such an idiot”- This does not give room for other contributions and labeling just shuts us down.
  • As Stable– ” I  am  no good. ”  “People will never like Me”.  This is too stable because  it implies, this cannot be changed. 
  • As  hopeless – Why can’t I ever succeed? This is never ending so it says, “I should just give up”.
  • As Global or too general : “My Life is a mess”- This does not give us any direction to start.

Self esteem can broken down into 2 different levels.  Implicit self-esteem refers to a person’s disposition to evaluate themselves in a spontaneous, automatic, or unconscious manner. It contrasts with explicit self-esteem, which entails more conscious and reflective self-evaluation. Both types of self esteem are learned responses and therefore can be changed to include different responses.

What to do:

The next time you experience a failure, sense of disappointment or frustration over not getting what you want.  For example,  let say you get back bad feedback on a report at work.

-Ask yourself, How does this reflect you on personally? Then instead of personalizing the loss by either blaming yourself or others do the following :

– Identify what specifically  you did or  didn’t do to contribute to the failure?  For example,  recognize if you  only put an hour into writing the report and normally you give it 3 hours,  then there’s your solution.  If you want to do a better job, then invest more time.

-Then try to look for external or concrete  factors that influenced the outcome.  For example things out of one’s control or other things you were committed to  dealing  with .  So if  you  look back at the calender and realize that you  only HAD one hour  to give because of  other work or  your children, then so be it.

If you blame others and see them as disrespecting you, identify what other factors are going on in their life and try to see if from their point of view. Maybe your wife or co work had other commitments or felt overwhelmed themselves.

-Then look for ways to feel hopeful about the situation by accepting that  not everything in life will always work out the same  and re-igniting  your commitment to any contributions you can to achieve more in your life!

-Remember being successful is more about your self efficacy and your willingness to improve and work at it.  For more read my article on Self Efficacy

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