Tag: emotions

Have you lost your self identity?

Did you know that there are so many people who lack self-identity, particularly in this day and age where so many individuals are so consumed with being liked by other people? People even use Facebook and Instagram to seek validation. These individuals are so busy comparing themselves to others through their friendship circles or social media. The truth is, you will never be fulfilled when you compare yourself to others. This pattern of behaviour only creates indecisiveness, self-doubt, trust issues and low esteem. When you are unaware of your real identity, when you consciously or subconsciously look for constant validation from others, you will feel unfilled and insecure.

This pattern of behaviour can become almost addictive if it’s not managed. You will never really be sure of who you are if you consistently want others to confirm that for you. I am conscious that it may seem odd to know who you are, but how can someone truly love or like or treat you the way you deserved to be addressed if you don’t know yourself? How can you live life to your full potential if you lack self-identity or awareness? Try not defining yourself by who people think you are. Individuals who lack self-identity often identify themselves by their past, status, career or self-image.

Here are some simple ways to reclaim your identity if you believe that you have lost it.

When did you lose your identity?

It’s compulsory to identify when you lost a sense of yourself. This process will enable you to know how to reclaim your identity. For instance, if you grow up in an environment where you were not allowed to feel your emotions or no one spoke about their feelings, then it’s hard to connect with your inner child. It means that you may have a wounded child that is still playing up within the adult. It means you may have learnt not to be in tune with your emotions and often find ways or things to distract yourself, as feeling your emotions may be too painful, confusing or even uncomfortable. When you have identified the cause, then you can begin to start the journey of understanding who you are. In addition to accepting who you are (the good, bad and ugly) after all, no one is perfect.

Journal writing

Keeping a journal account of your emotions and awareness of yourself will help you to understand your thoughts and learnt behaviour that may be preventing you from your personal best such as, low self-esteem or self-sabotaging behaviour. For instance, if you believe that you are not good enough based on childhood experiences or past experiences, then you could transfer this learnt behaviour into all areas of your life, including work and personal relationships. Consequently, having people-pleasing tendencies or continually looking for validation prevents you from your inner power and you end up giving it away to others. Understanding yourself will contribute to a higher esteem, and you will became less emotionally dependent on others to make you happy, like or love you.

Understanding your personal qualities

It’s important to take time to understand, appreciate and value who you are, since you certainly can’t expect someone to understand or value you if you don’t. Conduct a self-assessment by creating a list of your natural gifts and talents to gain a deeper awareness of yourself. Ensure that you carry this exercise completely on your own instead of asking others, as the whole concept of this exercise is for you to understand yourself as opposed to what others think of you.

Breaking the negative cycle

When you are indecisive, it causes self-doubts. Self-doubt creates distrust, and this could contribute to low self-esteem. The more you understand yourself, the happier you will be and have less self-conflicting thoughts. When it comes to developing yourself, you are the only person that is responsible for your development. Any word that begins with “self” means that you’re accountable for that area of work, so getting others to build your esteem or identity would always be non-effective. So no matter how challenging this could be, you have to recognise that the results will be highly rewarding and it will help your decision making and help you take more control of your life.

Learn to enjoy your own company

If you don’t like or appreciate your company, how do you expect other people to like or enjoy your company? Start off by writing a list of things that you enjoy doing. Creating a list of hobbies will help you to be more fulfilled and enjoy your company. Having time with family and friends is highly essential and useful for your emotional wellbeing. However, it’s equally important to create time alone and enjoy your hobbies. You will never really appreciate how much you enjoy an activity on your own unless you try.

Avoid distractions

Too much distraction can be a hindrance to yourself, since continuously distracting yourself blinds you from developing areas such as your awareness and esteem, as you may be consciously or subconsciously avoiding having a relationship with yourself or numbing your emotions by:

  • Using drugs and alcohol.
  • Being overly busy, engaging in non-productive activities.
  • Working long hours.
  • Being too sexually active with multiple partners.
  • Overeating.
  • Oversleeping.
  • Choosing partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them.
  • Continuously having one relationship after another, and not having time to pause.

Learn to be emotionally available to yourself so that you understand and identify your emotions by frequently understanding the reasons why you feel the way you are feeling, such as “why do I feel sad, why do I feel vulnerable?”

How to not lose yourself in your relationships

Being in love feels good, but always avoid losing yourself in another person. No one wants to be hurt within a relationship but every relationship we pursue is a risk, as you can never control another person’s behaviour or actions.

What is self-discovery? Most people would think that this is a strange question, as generally, people are more interested in learning about the behaviour of others rather than themselves. Unfortunately, many people lack self-identity and often build their esteem in their relationships, careers, financial status, or their appearance. Some of these individuals spend the majority or part of their lives looking for answers or acceptance but take very little time to understand themselves.

Learn to be more self-contained by following the tips below. Knowledge is power but always remember, knowledge without action is useless. Are you treating yourself in the same negative ways that your parents treated you when you were little? Are you punishing yourself the same way your parents did? If this is the case then it’s time to end the negative cycle. You are now the adult in your life so learn to comfort yourself, even if your parents didn’t know how to.

The past has no power over you and there is more power in the present moment.

How to rediscover your true self

Make a happy list

Make a list of things that you enjoy doing that makes you happy. It is essential to ensure that you participate in these hobbies on a regular basis. For instance, if you enjoy going to the gym, try and set aside regular days to go on a weekly basis to establish a regular routine.

Be honest with yourself

Write a list of all the different areas of your life including work, family, friends, hobbies, and relationships. Rate the amount of time that you invest in each area, from a scale of 0% to 100%. 100% is the most you could invest in each area and 0% is the least. Once you have established how much time you invest in each area, write down how much time you invest in your relationship with yourself. If you discover that the score is higher in other areas, then this is an indication that you have been giving very little to yourself. The main incentive is to ensure that you give the very best to yourself in order to give the best to others. For instance, it’s no point committing 100% to your job and committing just 10% to your self.

Make positive friends

It’s mandatory to have friends but more importantly, it’s more effective when your friends are positive friends. Positive people motivate, support and encourage you, particularly when you need emotional support or encouragement the most. On the other hand, negative people often celebrate the downfall of others. Consequently, they could project their negativity into you, which could make you feel worse about yourself or others. In addition, there are health benefits in relation to being positive or positive thinking; it could lower rates of depression, anxiety, and stress. The truth is, you attract people who are most like you. So the key is, if you want positive friends then you have to begin to be more positive yourself.

Become more self-reliant

It’s important to have a good support network of people in your life. However, it is also very important to draw strength from within and acknowledge your own personal power.

Here are 7 basic ways to become more self-reliant:

  • Accept responsibility for your own life choices
  • Make your own decisions – whether they’re good or bad. Indecisiveness is the root cause of low self-esteem
  • Learn more practical skills – the more practical skills you acquire, the more fulfilling your life would be
  • Look after your body
  • Recognise and accept your feelings
  • Find healthier ways to express negative emotions
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.

Get professional help when needed

Ensure that you get professional help if you have underlying issues that could be getting in the way of your best self. It is healthy to get help and support to deal with any negative issues with a professional, in a confidential and private space as opposed to trying to be emotionally dependent on someone to fix or save you. The only person that can help you be the best you can be is yourself, period.

 

 

Low self esteem and relationships – Part 3

Anyone can suffer from low self esteem. Regardless of how great your childhood may have been, there may be some experiences that could impact your esteem, such as:

  • Divorce/relationship issues
  • Death of a loved one,
  • Unemployment
  • Life threatening illnesses
  • Failing an exam
  • Financial crisis
  • Housing issues
  • Family break down
  • Stress or depression
  • Dealing with challenging issues within the work place.

All of the above issues could affect anyone. However, people that have ongoing issues associated with low self esteem are mostly individuals from dysfunctional homes, who have been emotionally deprived based on what these individuals have witnessed. These experiences include being sexually, emotionally or physically abused.

There are also incidents where one or both parents may have been polygamous, experienced poverty, suffered with drugs/alcohol abuse, been emotionally unavailable or have had mental health issues.

The sad thing about life is that when babies are born, they are not programmed to dislike themselves; they love everything about who they are, until negative things about them are brought to their attention, particularly when the reflections that their parents projects are negative. Consequently, they will have a negative view of themselves, as babies see themselves as their parents see them. Parents are like a mirror as babies are born with no self identity.

That is why it is very important for parents to love and help build their child’s esteem. If you often hear that you are bad, ugly, dumb, will amount to nothing or that you are useless, then that will be how you perceive yourself and you will surely believe what you have been told by your parents.

Unfortunately, low self esteem becomes more apparent within inter-mate relationships than any other area of a person’s life. People with low esteem can appear confident in their appearance, by the way they speak, class, position within their career and how well they carry out their duties at work. Deep down however, they have a negative view of themselves. 

When your esteem is low you choose partners that are mostly emotionally unavailable or dislike men or women that treat you well. As you are so used to being treated badly, you subconsciously attract partners that reinforce the negative emotions from your childhood. For example picking partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them; partners that are overly selfish so work hard for love by putting them as the main focus within the relationship; partners that continuously cause you emotional pain, to keep you more insecure, anxious and paranoid; partners that will abandon you if you have issues with fear of abandonment; partners that have fear of commitment or intimacy, so they can love you from a distance.

How to overcome low self esteem 

Love yourself 

Self love is important and is the most useful way that you can have more satisfying and fulfilling relationships. When you learn to love yourself, you’re more equipped to give and receive love. After all, you cannot give the best of yourself to others until you give your best to yourself first. This is called being self-nurturing, not selfish. Most people always put everyone else before themselves. When you act in this way, you will always be secondary within relationships, in addition to being drained and not having much to give to yourself. Make yourself a priority and create some ‘me time’ to recharge yourself.

Acceptance

It is essential to be aware and accept who you are as an individual (the good, the bad and the ugly). It is impossible to make the change that you want unless you know that have the problem in the first place. There is nothing worse than living in denial.

Take time to understand yourself 
 
The more you understand yourself, the more you will discover the root cause of the low self esteem. Once you realise the root cause, take responsibility to work on yourself and forgive people that have contributed to your low self concept, such as your parents. It’s not emotionally healthy to blame people – doing so can make you a victim and you could become emotionally bitter. Instead, learn to take control of your life and give yourself the love that you didn’t receive from your childhood

Evaluate your relationships 

Ensure that you are not giving too much within your relationships and receiving very little back. A relationship should be reciprocal. When you often give too much to another person, they lose respect for you, so if you want others to respect you then start by respecting yourself. If you don’t, then you can’t expect others to do the same. 

Learn to forgive

Forgiving others helps you to let go of the emotional pain which you may be carrying around. When you hold on to the pain that others have caused you, particularly your parents, you are more likely to be subconsciously drawn to a partner that has similar characteristics as your parents. Consequently, your negative experiences will be constantly repeated from an emotional level. If you find it difficult to speak to the person that has hurt you, you can always write a letter but don’t send it. Just bin it or burn once you have written it.

 

How self-sabotaging behaviour affects relationships

Self-sabotaging behaviour is when an individual is consciously or subconsciously doing things that are harmful to themselves. The root cause of self-sabotaging behaviour stems from childhood. When infants are born they have no self-identity, or awareness of themselves. They learn and develop their self-worth through their parents. Consequently, their parents represent a mirror of themselves, and children develop a sense of identity from as early as four years old. 

Children develop their sense of self and self-esteem slowly as they mature into adolescents. Identity is highly imposed and encouraged by environmental and cultural factors. 

Once a child incorporates a negative learnt behaviour, it is likely that they will transfer this behaviour into adulthood. 

People with self-sabotaging behaviour often do things that are harmful to themselves and their relationships. 

In most instances, they have a negative view of themselves and feel that they are not good enough. As a result, they enter relationships that are toxic and often do not value or appreciate healthy relationships. 

Signs of self-sabotaging behaviour 

Continuously finding negative ways to numb your emotions

You avoid feeling and dealing with negative emotions by overeating or comfort eating, particularly when you have weight concerns. When feeling vulnerable you tend to eat to numb your emotions. You feel guilty for eating so much,  then eat more again to overcome the guilt. This repeated cycle could be addictive and hard to break. In addition, you take recreational drugs, use sex, over spending, or dependent on alcohol to feel better.

Procrastination 

There are 24 hours in a day and it’s important to utilise your time productively and wisely. When you keep putting things off and spend a lot of time doing unproductive things, it hinders your self-esteem this includes; spending an excessive amount of time watching TV, playing computer games, or speaking on the telephone. Making excuses and putting things off affects your personal growth and development and could lead to fear of failure (starting things but never finishing).

Attracting dysfunctional partners

When you consciously choose men or women that are emotionally unstable. You are only going to make your life miserable. If someone is emotionally, physically or financially unstable they are unable to provide the security that you need to compliment you within the relationship. For instance, if you attract men/women who are emotionally or physically abusive, then your relationship will always be based on fear and as a result, you could lose your sense of your self and begin to believe that their behaviour is acceptable or “normal”. You may subconsciously attract partners that are a negative reminder of your childhood. Consequently, your potential mate will continuously reinforce the negative emotions from your childhood, which could be a hindrance to your self-worth.

Desire to have promiscuous relationships 

If you have strong desires to have promiscuous relationships, particularly if you often don’t use protection or have risky sexual encounters, then you are putting yourself and relationships at risk of STDs and impacting your emotional well being in a negative way. Sex addiction including, pornography, paying for sex, escorts or prostitutes can affect your self-esteem and your finances. These experiences could lead to fear of intimacy and cause difficulties in being fully committed to one person within a relationship. 

Fear of commitment 

People with self-sabotaging behaviour often have a fear of commitment as they struggle to be fully committed to themselves. They become afraid when their relationship is getting intense or when their spouses are becoming close as they have a negative belief from previous experiences or childhood that “people that love you will hurt you”. In order to manage with this belief system, they develop a coping strategy of loving from a distance or hurting people that love them before they get hurt. 

Fear of failure 

When you have a fear of failure, you continuously keep putting things off and often not accomplishing your goals. You start things but don’t finish it. If you don’t set goals or pursue them, you’re only making your life unfulfilling. As goals give you a vision, purpose and direction in life.

Why ignoring negative emotions can be dangerous

Emotions are a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. Your emotions represent who you are, it can help you to make sense of self, environment and the relationship that you have with others.

Emotions can be both positive and negative. Regardless of whichever one it is, it is important to understand and feel it. People who have grown up in an environment where they were not allowed to express their views or talk about their emotions, often struggle to deal with negative emotions. For instance, people who have anger problems may have suppressed their emotions for a long time, particularly towards people who have hurt them as a child. As result of this, they often get very angry at anything and everything as adults since they have not been allowed to express their views or emotions as children.

In addition to this, children who have experienced or been exposed to severe emotional pain during childhood, subconsciously develop a coping mechanism to emotionally shutdown, when feeling negative emotions, such as; fear, loneliness, vulnerability, sadness, jealously, failure, rejection or abandonment.

Often, individuals that do not know or acknowledge these emotions use, people or other things to distract themselves, including food, inappropriate sexual activities, drugs, alcohol, and even dysfunctional relationships. Our emotions represent who we are and often tell us many things about ourselves. It is not always easy to understand your emotions, but doing so will enable you to build your esteem and take more control of your

wellbeing. It is important for you learn to understand and take control of your emotions since avoiding them can lead your emotions to control you. If this habit is not tackled, it could lead to mental/ emotional issues such as: anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, dysfunctional relationships, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal idealization.  

 How to deal with your emotions positively

It is important to identify and acknowledge the emotions, which you are feeling, rather than ignore them. Emotions are very powerful and can influence the way that we behave and the type of people we attract.

Keep a journal of your thoughts and emotions to gain a deeper perceptive and understanding of the root cause of what you are feeling or where it is coming from.

Try breathing or relaxation techniques, if you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.

Talk to positive family members or friends about your concerns and how you are feeling. If you feel that you want to speak to someone neutral, then seek professional help from a therapist to explore your emotions.

Emotions do not always represent the reality of what we feel. For example, you may feel that people will abandon you, this may not be the reality. However, there may be underlying issues that may be associated with your childhood or past that has not been addressed.

It is best not to respond immediately to negative emotions such anger in the moment. Always take time out to calm down or reflect before responding to negative situations. Often, you may say or do something that you may later regret.

Self-care can increase your ability to deal with negative emotions, such as exercising. Exercise can help to increase the happy hormones and help you to be more mentally at peace with yourself.

 

 

 

Low self esteem and relationships – Part 2

A disabled person often is described as someone who is physically restricted and may have challenges carrying out day to day tasks such as, walking, exercising and not having the ability to do things that most of us may take for granted. However, a person with low esteem could emotionally restrict themselves in many ways within personal/professional relationships, career choices, or not having the courage to pursue desired goals. 

Low self-esteem is often a root cause of unresolved issues from childhood, where one or both parents didn’t love, nurture or speak highly of a child when they were growing up. These unresolved issues could also be a manifestation of childhood issues that a parent may have unconsciously transferred onto their children. Since when babies are born they have no self-identity or awareness of themselves. Consequently, they look up to their parents and mirror what they sense, see or hear. So if their environment is negative, child would often have a negative reflection of themselves. 

Unfortunately, when these emotions are not dealt with, it can have a negative impact on personal relationships. For instance, people with low self-esteem often look outwardly for love, approval, happiness and acceptance rather than within themselves. This process can be deflating as you are allowing another person to dictate your whole existence, including your happiness, emotional well-being and the choices that you make.     

People with low self-esteem, have a very strong desire to be loved, and can often demonstrate this by working too hard for love and giving too much of themselves to others. Although low esteem is a learnt behaviour from childhood or past experiences, I can reassure you that you can overcome it with the right support, patience and a positive mindset. 

Here are some useful tips: 

Avoid giving the best of yourself to others but not yourself. 

It is good to be giving and supportive but it can be unbalanced if you’re giving the best of yourself to everyone one else, but not yourself. When you put others before yourself too often, you’re unconsciously sending a message that you don’t deserve the best and you are content with being secondary. If you want the very best from your relationships, you must learn to give yourself that too. If you are struggling with this approach then imagine investing the same time and energy that you give to others. 

Never settle for less in a relationship. 

If you settle for less within a relationship, then you cannot get upset when you get less. People treat you based on how you treat yourself. If you have a desire to be in a relationship, take your time and get to know if  the other person is right for you, instead of dating men/women that are married or emotionally unavailable to you. 

Find out what you want from a relationship before pursuing one. 

When you have a low self concept, you can get so consumed with not wanting to be on your own and overlook the characteristic of your new mate by unconsciously trying to seek approval or being overly focused on the relationship. Hence not taking time to evaluate if the person is able and will to meet your emotional needs. Consequently, you could discover the true characteristics of your mate later on, which you may not have been aware of initially. 

Never make your spouse more important than yourself. 

Two people are equal within a relationship. When you are always focused mainly on your mate, by doing too much to make him/her happy, including spending all your time thinking or talking about him/her even when you’re away from them is not good. Consequently, you’re making your partner too important and unconsciously distracting yourself from your our personal growth. When you make your partner more important than yourself, you are making them the main focus within the relationship and this will be the dynamic of relationship.

Set clear boundaries and maintain them.

Having boundaries within a relationship, helps a person to understand what is expectable and what isn’t. Always speak up if someone crosses the boundaries, if you don’t it will only get worse. 

Have time for your friends and family and avoid neglecting them because you are in a relationship.