Mental health

Ugly Truth 39: Low Self-Esteem & Five Things You Can Do About It

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember ~ the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” -Zig Ziglar

Dear Readers,

The role self-esteem plays in our personal wellness cannot be understated. Certainly, the things we say to ourselves have the power to significantly alter the way we perceive the world and our place in it. During early childhood, we begin to develop our sense of self based on the stability of our environment and the temperament of our caregivers. Likewise, unfavorable conditions such as abuse, abandonment or trauma often complicate the path to becoming a wholly healthy and well-adjusted person. In the event that self-love has been lost, there are five steps to improve self-esteem including changing the narrative, proper goal setting, accountability, practicing gratitude and repetition.

 Changing the Narrative.

Understanding cognitive dissonance is probably the single most powerful tool when working to improve self-esteem. So often we fall into patterns of thinking that include self-loathing or reflect the criticism of our parents. Learning to detect and dismiss distorted thinking is extremely difficult and requires a great deal of practice. Consider the things your inner monologue is telling you throughout the day. If your self-esteem is suffering, chances are these thought patterns are deeply negative and self-deprecating. Therefore, learning to reassign value to ourselves can be deeply useful. The good news is the human brain is indeed malleable, and our thoughts can be reshaped in a relatively short period of time by altering our behavior.

Proper Goal Setting.

When setting goals, we often fall into the mindset of going big. However, sometimes less is more. The ability to set an appropriate goal for yourself can aid in improving self-esteem by providing momentum from short-term goals to long-term ones. Similarly, acknowledging your accomplishments (rather than your shortcomings) is a positive tool that can bolster your confidence by highlighting your capacity, rather than your inability or unfinished business. Additionally, the cycle of self-discipline is highly reinforcing, and most likely to keep you motivated during times of lulling productivity.

 Accountability.

Personal accountability is essential when wanting to redefine any part of yourself, and self-esteem is no different. Put simply, be the change you want to see and do not make excuses. If you want to lose weight, set your alarm an hour earlier and carve out time to exercise. If you want to sleep better at night, shift your routines and follow through. So often, the solution to improve your relationship with yourself lies within your willingness to start a positive change. So, simply begin.

Practicing Gratitude.

Mindfulness, meditation and gratitude is a meaningful component of any walk toward wellness. Shifting our inner perspective from negative to positive esteem starts with recognizing our immediate surroundings as good and helpful. Take five minutes each day to figure out how being grateful translates in your daily life. Maybe it’s a mental list, a moment of silence, or a journal entry. Likewise, practicing gratitude invites us to restore a sense of agency by properly aligning our focus with our priorities in the present moment rather than what should have, could have, or would have been.

Repetition.

Like any good thing in life, improving self-esteem takes time and practice. In fact, all of the steps above require a great deal of both to offer meaningful change to your life. There will be road blocks and setbacks aplenty, but do not be discouraged. The important thing is that you return to yourself each day, and continue to let your love language to yourself take precedence.

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Mental health

Trauma Confession Series: Mourning

Grief of this sort is a necessary and restorative process that permits a person to bring new life and a renewed sense of hope to childhood hardship and deprivation. Looked at in this way grief allows us to cleanse ourselves of hurt and loss and continue to grow and to expand our sense of ourselves.

– Synergia Counseling, Victoria, BC

Dear Readers,

Welcome back! This is part III of a series exploring the impact of childhood trauma, what we can do to heal, and the insight I gather through my own journey. For further resource please also visit Trauma Confession Series: Overcoming Avoidance and Trauma Confession Series: Love After Abuse.

Forgive my absence. It has been my experience that the process of mourning childhood loss has devastated my ability to create content. Today, I hope to take a step back and examine what this means and why it’s important in the recovery process as it relates to surviving childhood trauma.

Grief or mourning often results while overcoming the avoidance of past trauma by confronting the truth of what happened to you. You may find yourself feeling sorrowful or resentful for the deprivation or abuse you experienced. You may feel an intense rage toward your perpetrators for what they took from you. You may experience significant disruption to your typical internal experiences and dialogue. This type of grief is different from traditional loss, and may present itself in the form of regression. Regression is described as a return to a state of consciousness that reflects the age or mindset you were in at the time of a painful or violating event.

Acknowledging these psychological phenomena as they are occurring can be a challenge. Many people may not even realize they are grieving due to the flailing it may cause, and may display outwardly uncharacteristic behavior such as irritability, agitation, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, crying spells, flashbacks or depression. You might also notice frantic efforts to avoid psychological anguish such as increased distraction, substance abuse, or other self destructive patterns.

The important thing is to acknowledge, accept, and allow this grief to run its course while realizing the wealth of wisdom that can come from it. Acknowledging our mourning rather than trying to suppress it teaches us value of self. It allows us to accept the painful experiences we have endured by acknowledging they were unjust, undeserving, and have no bearing whatsoever on our worth. Allowing these sensations to well up and wane is extremely agonizing, but it also allows us due process. When you resurface again, you will be all the stronger and wiser for it.

This is not easy! This is legitimate self-work that requires exposure and suffering. It is no wonder why so many, myself included, prefer concealment or denial. Personally, I consider this one of the most difficult steps toward recovery from trauma, as it often results in a significant return of symptoms related to mental illness. Just as we must overcome avoidance by staying in the presence of pain, we must also acknowledge and empathize with the child in us who was slated or abandoned.

Synergia Counseling has published an exceptional blog on the topic of Adult Grieving in Response to Childhood Loss or Trauma. In it they explain the self awareness that may be lacking, the unmet needs of a thriving childhood, and the emotional or intellectual development that may halt as a result of exposure to trauma.

Acknowledge.

Accept.

Allow.

You will tremble, cry, rage, languish, and writhe – but – you will also stabilize, heal, resolve, strengthen and ease again.

Additional Reading:

From Bustle, 11 Signs You Might Be Repressing Negative Childhood Memories

From Psychology Today, 9 Steps to Healing Childhood Trauma as an Adult

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!