Happens to all of us, mere mortals. Even those who we see as being beautiful, brainy, successful and rich. Thoughts of self-doubt can be debilitating, crushing our self-esteem and leading to depression. Based on literature that I have read, when a person has very low or no self-esteem, they basically hate themselves to the point that suicide seems the best option. In this respect, self-esteem is important to our well-being, because we could end our lives prematurely if we had none.
Whether it is building up or destroying our self-esteem, it is mostly our own doing. One of the most effective way to destroy self-esteem is by believing self-doubt. Endless stream of thoughts flow through our mind and it is not always positive. How we manage those negative thoughts have a direct impact on how we view ourselves. This is a great article from WSJ, which explains a new technique for dealing with self-doubt. It is called Mindfulness, a form of therapy in which, one observes one’s thoughts, while being aware of the physical senses. It requires conscious effort and time alone during which, we pay attention to the thoughts that are passing through as-if we are a bystander watching ourselves in motion. It is necessary to suspend all critical judgement or denial of the thoughts, though compassionate affirmations are usually helpful. The therapy explains that it is best to allow negative thoughts to come and go without reacting to it. It is by reacting to a negative thought that the thought becomes amplified and could easily spiral out of control.
I have tried this therapy and found it to be quite difficult. Firstly to sit quietly with one’s thoughts for longer than 5 mins takes a lot of effort. After the first 2 mins, I am fidgety and distracted by plans for later. Secondly and the more difficult part of this therapy – withholding the criticism. It shocked me that a lot of the thoughts are accompanied by critical statements, some of which are downright hurtful. The therapy becomes easier with practise and you will notice the benefits of becoming self-aware.
Be Kind to Yourself, even in your thoughts.