Sense Of Self ~ Low Self Esteem ~ Social Isolation
My counsellor has suggested that I have a poor sense of self. If you read my post Borderline Personality Disorder, you will know that I didn’t really know what that means. So, I did what I do, and undertook a little research.
It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story. ~ Patrick Rothfuss
In psychology the sense of self is defined as the way a person thinks about and views his or her traits, beliefs, and purpose within the world. Then the people in white coats talk about self-image and self-esteem. Do I have a poor self-image and low self-esteem? Some psychologists say the characteristics of genuinely poor self-image and low self-esteem are;
- Social withdrawal
- Anxiety and emotional turmoil
- Lack of confidence, depression or bouts of sadness
- Less social conformity
- Eating disorders / alcohol and or drug abuse
- Inability to accept compliments
- Being unfair to oneself
- Focusing on negativity
- Exaggerated concern over what others think
- Self neglect
- Treating oneself badly, but not treating others badly
- Worrying if you have treated others badly
- Reluctance to put yourself first
- Reluctance to trust one’s own opinion
- Expecting little out of life
It doesn’t feel like I have low self-esteem, in fact I often feel exactly the opposite, but from time to time I have probably done stupid things that tick all of those 15 bullet points.
How do I recover from this? I am not going to stay on this dismal road to the dark end of the swamp for much longer. I know the root cause of my problem, I wrote about some of this in Sometimes I Act Insane, and I am taking steps to address the underlying trauma. But what about some short-term fixes?
There is nothing better in life than commitment to personal development and lifelong learning. ~ Lailah Gifty Akita
After a little bit of research, it turns out there are some self-help techniques I can use, and these basically boil down to learning, changing, and doing. To recover from chronic low self-esteem is basically making oneself do good stuff:
- I need to take good care of myself. Stay sober, eat well, avoid excesses, (too much coffee for example), get plenty of sleep, fresh air, and exercise.
- Stop comparing myself with others, and with things that happened in the past. I can’t fix the past.
- Learn how to say ‘No’ I can be a people-pleaser at times.
- Forgive my stupid mistakes. Instead focus on my abilities, skills, and accomplishments.
- Avoid and ignore negative feelings, thoughts, places, people, and things.
Sounds easy. I bet. If it was easy there wouldn’t be such a huge range of organisations, therapies, and medication to help one deal with, and recover from a poor sense of self, low self-esteem, and social isolation.
I will let you know what happens next.