How to stop belittling yourself
Contributor(s): Alyssa Chang. Alyssa Chang is a San Francisco Bay Area nutrition coach and trainer. She uses her extensive knowledge of neuroscience to help clients improve brain-body connections for healing, goal attainment, and pain-free movement. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and in Physical Education, Nutrition and Health from California State University, East Bay. She is certified by Precision Nutrition, Z-health Performance, and is also certified by the National Council on Strength Training and Fitness.
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Most people have self-esteem issues throughout their lives. Even the most positive and confident people sometimes get discouraged. But what do you do if you constantly belittle yourself and can’t seem to pull yourself together in any way? It’s a slow process, but you can learn to root out the negative internal dialogue and make some changes to finally realize that you are an amazing person.
- There is no such thing as a trivial matter – let the list be long. Go back as far as you want.
- What are your best qualities? Are you creative? Are you kind? Do you help people?
- What have you accomplished in life so far? Finished high school? Passed a difficult exam with flying colors? Learned a new skill on your own?
- Reread this list often, even when you don’t feel dissatisfied with yourself.
Nutrition and health coach and coach
Alyssa Chan is a nutrition coach and coach from the San Francisco Bay Area. She uses her extensive knowledge of neuroscience to help clients improve brain-body connections for healing, goal achievement, and pain-free movement. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and in Physical Education, Nutrition and Health from California State University, East Bay. She is certified by Precision Nutrition, Z-health Performance, and is also certified by the National Council on Strength Training and Fitness.
Our expert agrees: making lists of what you like about yourself is exceptionally helpful. You can also write down what you are thankful for – your health, your job or hobbies, your friends. This will help you see the positive aspects of your life.
- Write the affirmations down on a post-it note and stick it on a mirror. Or write them on the back of your business card and keep it in your wallet to reread from time to time throughout the day.
- You can use affirmations such as: “I love myself”, “I accept myself as I am”, “I believe in myself”, “I am worthy of love”.
- Put a rubber band around your wrist and flick it on yourself every time you start belittling yourself.  X Source of Information
- Acknowledge the thought and then imagine throwing it in the trash can or getting rid of it physically in some way.  X Source of Information
- This won’t get rid of negative thoughts forever, but it will stop you from listening to and dwelling on them.
- Instead of belittling yourself when you have problems, think about how you would help a friend in a similar situation.  X Source of Information
Stop comparing yourself to others. Almost everyone does it, but it can be devastating to your self-esteem. If you compare yourself–your appearance, grades, personality traits, popularity, achievements–to others, you will always be dissatisfied with yourself. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, or cooler than you (at least, that’s how it seems to you from the outside). But those people aren’t perfect either. Focus on your strengths and what makes you great.  X Source of Information
How to stop berating yourself – and start empathizing
Often we drive ourselves into a state of stress – by unrealistic expectations of ourselves or by constantly replaying in our heads situations in which we were not at our best. What can we do to remove from our lives at least these causes of stress sitting in our heads? Here are two ways.
Self-indulgence is a willingness to look at your mistakes and lapses with empathy and understanding. It is the recognition that it is inherent in every human being to make mistakes. Self-indulgence does not mean encouraging passivity – on the contrary, it encourages us to do something to improve the situation, rather than covering ourselves in layers of reproach because of mistakes and failures.
Why is being more tolerant of ourselves a good way to get rid of stress? Because that’s how we chase away the unrealistic desire to be the epitome of perfection.
Do I know how to be self-indulgent? Take the quiz.
Answer yes or no to the following questions.
- Do you have a habit of criticizing yourself (your appearance, career development, relationships. )?
- Do you use negative, disparaging definitions and expressions toward yourself when you make mistakes (insulting remarks, facial expressions, words of contempt, hatred, anger. )?
- When you notice things about yourself that you don’t like, do you tend to shut yourself out?
- When you are hard on yourself, is it frustrating and depressing (instead of motivating and energizing)?
- Are you afraid to accept yourself for who you are (instead of inspiring hope and moral support)?
- When you’re competing against someone, do you keep yourself in the black, making it hard to win in every way possible (instead of taking care of yourself, supporting yourself)?
- Are you used to thinking that others are better off than you are (instead of admitting that we are all human and we all have our problems)?
- Do you tend to judge your emotions and thoughts as ridiculous and worthless?
Count the number of “yes” and “no” answers.
You answered “no” to all the questions. Bravo! You are building a positive dialogue with yourself. You are valuing yourself, encouraging yourself, and this allows you to be more welcoming and much more likely to experience the positives than the negatives. Continue to practice self-indulgence.
You answered yes to at least one question. Sometimes you can be harsh on yourself, rebuking yourself too harshly for mistakes and failures. Did the test help you realize this? Can you see how much it hurts you? Take comfort: there is another way. It is paved with more self-indulgence. It can soften your heart and open access to lasting happiness and well-being. Do the following exercise as often as you can – you won’t overdose!
How do you develop self-indulgence? Exercise
Imagine that you have a friend who loves you unconditionally, who is full of gentleness, tenderness, sympathy and tolerance. He can read your thoughts like an open book, he sees all your strengths and weaknesses. Possessing great wisdom, this imaginary friend is well aware of your history: and how much has happened in your life, and why you became the way you are. He understands that human possibilities are not limitless, and he is very kind to you.
- Think about how this imaginary friend might feel about you and the extent to which he accepts and loves you as you are, with all your little flaws.
- Now get into the skin of your imaginary friend and write a letter to yourself. What would this friend, with his boundless capacity for empathy, say about you? What would he say about the way you sometimes berate yourself?
How do you learn to accept the things you can’t change?
We all have our share of grief and sorrow. From time to time, memories of sad events come alive in us, awakening the same emotions and hurting us; they shadow us and suck the energy out of us. Everything we resist persists. Here, in a few words, is what happens when we refuse to accept a given and let it go.
Ultimately, we have very little control over what surrounds us. But we can control ourselves. If the situation cannot be changed directly, let’s change the way we look at it. And it helps to release tension, to relax.
When you’re relaxed and detached from the situation, you look more sensibly and behave more judiciously. You get to accept as a given the status quo and move on with your life.
That’s what letting go means. Letting go does not mean accepting what is happening, it just means accepting a fait accompli.