The voice of insecurity and doubt can be loud and persistent, taking punches at our self-esteem the longer we give it room to grow.
We can all recall a time in our lives when a hurtful facial expression, comment or gesture stuck with us a long time after it happened. Many of us who struggle with our weight and self-esteem have experienced this in the form of bullying, weight bias or discrimination. These instances tend to add up, often making us feel less secure about ourselves the longer we hold on to them.
The good news is that while we cannot control what others say and do, we can control how we react and whether we let those instances define us.
Overcoming Insecurity, Doubt and Low Self-esteem
Teasing, criticism, looks, accusations, rejections, exclusions and words can all be painful. Sometimes, we try to make our pain hidden, subdued or pushed aside. But no matter what we do with it, the pain tends to lurk around, undermining our sense of security. If we don’t address it, it can hinder future efforts at accomplishing our goals and living a life we enjoy.
Sean G. Connelly, PhD, a licensed psychologist who specializes in health and rehabilitation psychology, says the trick is to re-program negative thoughts in your mind and replace them with positive thoughts over time, as it’s not an immediate change.
Here are some of Dr. Connelly’s suggestions to help you overcome insecurity and develop a healthier, more positive self-esteem.
- Give yourself the right to feel secure and good about yourself. When no one is watching, say out loud, “I have the right to feel good about myself.” Saying them out loud will increase the likelihood that this exercise is effective. You might have to say this numerous times in order to match the feelings with the words. The more you say the words, the further they will be programmed into your mind, and therefore your thoughts.
- Give yourself permission to feel good about yourself. If you were the target of mean comments or actions growing up, you might not have been able to do this. Repeat this until you believe it: “I choose to give myself permission to feel good about myself.”
- Select some affirmation statements to program into your mind for positive thinking. These are statements that empower you to change negative thinking about yourself in areas that are important to you. For example, “I affirm my intelligence” or “I affirm my ability to be successful at what I choose to do.” For a selection of affirmation statements related to self-esteem and weight management, click here.
- Display your most-needed affirmation statements on your mirror and repeat them out loud every morning and during the day until they become a part of you.
- Consider counseling and life-coaching as tools that can help you promote healthier self-perceptions that boost your self-esteem.
With more security and confidence, you can set yourself up for achieving any behavioral goal. As children, Dr. Connelly says that we could not “fight back.” But as adults, we can affirm ourselves and silence the negative voices in our head that keep us from reaching our full potential.