THE SELF ESTEEM KILLER
One of my Coachees ,Stewart loves to analyse every situation, everyone and every time. Inevitably it so happens that instead of becoming clearer, things just keep falling apart. While chatting with him the other day,I found d he doubts just about everything. While he was articulate and systematic, a side of him suddenly became visible..A Sense of Doubt about his own understanding, bordering on his Self Esteem. He rarely took any giant steps in life, appeared very critical and pretending to know it all.But within things were very different.
The moment we began to ‘analyse his analysis’ of every situation , his thought process fell apart. It dawned on him , that in the garb of all the analysis and discussion, he was covering up his own fears about himself and what he thought he should be. He had difficult becoming WHO he thought he should have become , and struggled constantly to prove his worth. All the analysis was one of the ways to ‘prove’ his worth. Instead of ever facing his fears about himself ,he ended up making the DOUBTING himself and everything around him part of his system. The Doubting protected him from exposing his own inability to make any good reasoned decisions.
When we went deeper into his thoughts, we found that his auto reaction to any situations outcome, was always filled with doubt…about himself, about his reactions, about his performance and about WHO he is. What he thought about himself was based on the benchmarks set by others for him. He struggled with these for years. His benchmarks seemingly had no reasonable basis or even a faint possibility of appearing in his life. He resisted admission to the doubts but covered up by all the analysis and at the end usually would decide not to act and justifying it too.
The net result….No action, No decision, feeling low, very demoralized and less fulfilled. Fortunately he gathered the courage to re-program himself to get rid of self doubts. He took the DECISION to get RID of Self Doubt.
Where do these come from? Doubts?
Expectations-Failure to reach those expectations-Feeling of Incapability-Low Self Esteem- Doubt
Does that mean we live life without expectations?? The Answer is No..We must have expectations, but if we cannot get to where we started for..We need to learn and begin again..It can be about the situation, about others and about you..But that is where is ends..It cannot take over life and living. The doubts originate from factors like ‘expectations’ other people’s as well as our own. The benchmarks you set for yourself may sometimes be totally off the mark, difficult to achieve or not even your own. This leads to our very own ‘DOUBTS’ about us and our capabilities. Many dreams remain unfulfilled, thanks to Self doubt.
The after effects to self doubt are usually the scary part…once we doubt ourselves, there are various things that we don’t do or do. We avoid taking action fearing failure or putting ourselves in a situation where we feel we may lose face. We constantly focus on working around those areas where we feel we are lacking to prove ourselves…..What are we doing in the process??? The constant measuring up to our own benchmarks or to that of others can lead to simply focusing on areas of lack rather than on areas where we have capabilities which either we refuse to acknowledge or to be grateful for.
We need to set standards and benchmarks which are not too far away from what we can achieve. IF the gap between the benchmark and our own capacities and skills is too big, it will be difficult to achieve and also to ever feel good .Doubts will continue to creep in.
As an example , we all know very well that,we can’t jump to the peak of Mt.Everest , we have to climb up in the way we choose and feel good at every milestone that we cross. If the only time we will feel good is when we reach the peak…we will have a very unfulfilling journey to the top.
What do you think Self Doubt can do to our Self Esteem ??? Kill it!!! Healthy introspection is healthy and good but constantly measuring yourself up , can lead to extreme stress and a demoralised state. You will always be ‘I still have not done this or achieved this ‘ mode. The focus is on what you don’t have or you have not done, rather than what you do have or what you have been able to do.
In short , Self Esteem and Self Doubt just can’t stay together. You have to get rid of one of them..I know what you would like to get rid of…Self Doubt…and it’s crucial for your Self Esteem.
Healthy Doubting is good for analyses but not good if doubts lead to freezing your actions or when they give you a sense of lack or when they make you feel lesser. Doubts in such cases will only push you backwards…..
IF you can focus on what you have instead of what you don’t….life becomes much simpler..If you set benchmarks which are the smaller goals of your big benchmarks….you will feel more fulfilled at achieving the smaller benchmarks and not a sense of lack. And for once , if you stop proving yourself to anyone…yourself or to others….you would get a sense of WHO YOU REALLY ARE. From there on, set new signposts, new benchmarks which are achievable in your circumstance, within your capacity, get to each of them at your pace and see you SELF ESTEEM soar.
There are too many things and people that you could compare yourself to and feel miserable because it’s humanly impossible to be all. BUT if are aware of WHO you are, you can feel proud of YOU, be happy with WHOEVER you are and grow gradually from HERE.
If At All, We need to learn to Doubt our Self Doubts
Your Coach and Friend