As we face September and the coming of a whole new school year, we are often faced with the same questions: Am I good enough? What can I do to make myself a better person, the person I truly want to be?
I recently read an article that focused on improving one’s relationships by remembering six negative qualities of past relationships. Instead of dwelling on them, take those negative aspects and turn them into positive aspects to seek and ask for. For example, instead of looking at a past bad relationship in terms of, “I never want to go out with someone who cheats”, think, “I am looking for someone who will be true to me”. This type of thinking trains your brain to ask for what you do want as opposed to what you don’t want. It is a great way of turning negative points in your life into positive points and helping you to further your personal growth. So, for this effort in self-improvement, I suggest elaborating on the example of negative relationships. However, this time we will be using it to improve our relationship with ourselves.
Pick six aspects about yourself that you find negative or that you would like to change. Here are my examples, and remember to replace “I don’t want” with “I do want”:
– “I do want to be fit, athletic and healthy inside and out”
– “I do want to be practical, smart and well-adapted to my world”
– “I do want a job that will provide me with a source of steady income”
– “I do want to live independently”
– “I do want to have routines that keep me healthy and organized”
– “I do want to have social relationships that nourish and energize me”
Once you’ve nailed down some good goals or positive statements about what you want in your life, post these somewhere you can see them every day. Choose to look at this list whenever you have a negative or a self-destructive thought. Remind yourself of what you want: “I want to be fit, athletic and healthy inside and out”, and then move to setting and reaching a goal that will get you there. This way of changing negative cognitions into positive self-statements is a great way of improving your self-esteem and self-image. The way that we look at ourselves is in our control, and when you believe you can succeed, you can do anything!
The important aspect to keep in mind is repetition. Be prepared to tell yourself positive statements over and over again. Be prepared for setbacks; You will have moments and days when it seems like you will not be able to convince yourself of your worth. It is those moments when you will have to be strong and hold on, feeding yourself positive thoughts to replace your negative thoughts. Eventually, with repetition, this will become a habit, an ingrained tendency, that will make your life that much easier! Good luck!