Answer this question honestly…
When you do something wrong, get down on yourself or analyze your self-talk do you say… "I am _________" versus "What I Did Was _________"?
Which One Of These Boosts Your Self Esteem And Which One Kills It?
What this really gives you insight into your level of self esteem and self confidence.
If you associate negativity with YOU versus with your behavior, what may seem like a subtle difference but in reality is a really BIG deal.
When you associate flaws, setbacks, deficiencies with YOU, the implication is that you are inherently THAT person.
In other words, you have associated a negative self-image around you which often has 3 incorrect assumptions:
1. That you are inherently deficient in that personality trait, skill or capability when in fact many others started exactly where you are today and have since improved
2. That you are not seeing beyond where you are today, that you have given up hope and see no alternate path for yourself in regards to this part of your life
3. That you do not possess greatness including the ability to overcome challenges and learn new things everyday – perhaps the most limiting belief of all because this one saps HOPE
Now, let's examine the case where you blame your BEHAVIOR instead of your SELF for whatever negative situation or thought that occurs in your life.
Blaming your behavior tells us many things about your self confidence:
1. That you expect more of yourself which tends to tell us that you have a strong sense of self esteem and self confidence
2. That you understand there is a clear difference between what you COULD do (your potential) and what you DID do (your behavior)
3. You will work hard to change that behavior now that you realize you underperformed as to your true potential
4. Your negative thoughts, guilt, etc…is temporary and will only last as long as it takes for your awareness to sink in and for you to change your behavior
Do you see the powerful difference between singling out your behavior in a situation over your core ability?
Let's say you want to lose 20 lbs and on the 5th day of your diet and exercise plan you completely miss the mark by not meeting your goals.
You could take the approach of reinforcing the belief that you just can't stick to a diet or exercise regime and that you are incapable of sticking to a disciplined plan – in other words you give up on yourself and your ability to stick to a plan.
Alternatively, you could look at this fifth day as one where your behavior was unacceptable and does not meet your own expectations. Maybe you met up with some friends and then used that as an excuse to not stick to your diet.
The difference is important isn't it?
In the first case, you blame yourself further reducing your self esteem and making it less likely you will ever achieve your goals.
In the second case you isolate the behavior that led to the temporary failure making it much more LIKELY that you will reach your goal. Your self-esteem in this case actually improves because you are tackling and taking control of the situation.
Be honest, listen to your inner voice and share with us which way you tend to think about setbacks or challenges you face.
Do you blame your SELF or do you blame your BEHAVIOR?