How We Grow Our Own Low Self-Esteem
I did a presentation skills training yesterday and this idea just struck me.
So many people struggle with low self-esteem and yet so many of us build and grow our own low self-esteem every day.
We feed this little monster and it becomes stronger and stronger :-).
How do we do it?
In that training, my students were doing live presentations and when they were finished, I asked them to answer this feedback question "How do I see my own performance?". And as always, they automatically started listing all the negatives.
So, I asked them to search for the things they liked and worked well first and only then look for the things they would like to do differently next time.
And as always, it´s been very difficult.
One could say it is a cultural thing. But it is not. I have experienced this with international groups from all around the world (from Europe all the way to Southern America).
So, chances are, it is more a "human" thing.
For some reason we have a deep rooted natural tendency to search for the negatives first and we see many of them.
And the good things? We either take them for granted or we have so ridiculously high standards regarding our performance that we can hardly see we did something good.
And by doing this, we create a vicious circle. We do something, then we see all the things we did not do quite perfectly and we end up with this feeling "I need to work harder, learn more, become better at.., It is not good enough yet".
And what is funny about this?
When I asked the other students to give feedback to the presenter and tell him "How it looked from the outside", they either did not see the negatives at all or they saw them as minor things. And they saw many more positives than the presenter.
So other people can see it and we cannot. Why? Because we were trained to think this way, we are used to it. It is a habit.
And of course, I am doing it as well :-).
The good news is that we can change it.
The easiest thing we can do is to train ourselves to see a more realistic picture of reality. Let´s consciously focus on good things first, appreciate them and only then search for "what is it I would like to do differenty next time".
And if you cannot see them, ask other people around you, they will help you. It is a journey. Fun and useful. In the end, there are really no negatives and positives. It is all just a learning experience ;-).
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