Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Let’s talk about SELF, ourselves!
Self-love, self-talk, self-esteem, and generally how you feel about yourself and your performance.
The (creative, female) brain is very powerful and super interesting! That’s why I regularly create polls or questionnaires directed at women in different professions or with different interests.
Something that often pops up through these surveys is the fear of ‘not being good enough’. It is actually one of the biggest issues women deal with.
The fear of ‘not being good enough’ is very real, in the sense that it is on almost every ambitious woman’s mind.
But is it real?
Who will determine if you're good enough and how do you measure yourself?
Do you compare yourself to others?
Do you let others bring you down?
Do you believe in your own abilities?
This fear can stem from core beliefs you have developed about yourself because of your education, your environment, your experiences, opinions of others, etc. and, the deeper those beliefs are rooted within you, the harder it will be to overcome them.
The first step is to be aware that you have this fear. As soon as you realize it is there, you can ask yourself the question: is that fear justified?
If you find that it is, and you are absolutely sure, the solution can be as simple as going back to the drawing board, the dancing studio, the stage, the sewing machine or the typewriter (I still remember those!) and practice your craft. To be good at something and develop skills, you need a bit of luck, some talent, and a looooot of practise.
But if you find that it isn't justified or you just don't know, you can start by trying to figure out how this core belief was created, what event(s) sparked it, which other issue(s) is (are) related to it, which situations reinforce the fear, etc.
This is easier said than done, and a coach or therapist can explore with you how you can dig into what you really think about yourself, and potentially change those thoughts.
Self-talk has a huge influence on self-love and self-esteem. It is our internal voice that determines how we perceive daily situations, what we are thinking about when we do certain things, and how we interpret that. It includes conscious thoughts and unconscious assumptions and beliefs.
Most of the time our self-talk is reasonable like, “I should start preparing for my presentation” or “I’m looking forward to the weekend”. However, some of it can be negative. Because self-talk has such an influence on the way we love ourselves and what we think, it is important that we learn to be aware of it, challenge it and change it.
Becoming aware of, challenging and changing negative self-talk takes practise.
When I coach clients, I use EFT – Emotional Freedom Therapy – to guide them to find these beliefs and assumptions about themselves, and to help shift and release the blockages caused by it.
You, by yourself, can learn to spot when you are having negative thoughts about yourself, and then challenge them to try and think differently. You will probably be surprised by how much of your thinking is inaccurate, exaggerated, or only focused on the negative of a situation.
Challenging your negative self-talk
Disputing your self-talk means challenging the negative or unhelpful aspects. Doing this enables you to feel better and to respond to situations in a more helpful way.
Whenever you find yourself feeling depressed, angry, anxious or upset, use this as your signal to stop and become aware of your thoughts.
A good way to test the accuracy of your perceptions might be to ask yourself some challenging questions. These questions will help you to check out your self-talk to see whether your current view is reasonable. This will also help you discover other ways of thinking about your situation.
Four types of challenging questions to ask yourself:
1. Reality testing
What is my evidence for and against my thinking?
Are my thoughts factual, or are they just my interpretations?
Am I jumping to negative conclusions?
2. Look for alternative explanations
Are there any other ways that I could look at this situation?
What else could this mean?
If I would be positive, how would I perceive this situation?
3. Put it in perspective
Is this situation as bad as I am making out to be?
What is the worst thing that could happen? How likely is it?
What is the best thing that could happen?
What is most likely to happen?
Is there anything good about this situation?
Will this matter in five years’ time?
4. Use goal-directed thinking
Is thinking this way helping me to feel good or to achieve my goals?
What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
Is there something I can learn from this situation?