Gael's Blog

Confidence Challenge: October 2014 Stop self-poisoning your self esteem

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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Last week in my art class I mistakenly took a swig a deadly poison. I had put paint solvent (a colourless liquid) in a beaker and placed it to the right of me. Unfortunately I had also filled a similar beaker with drinking water. I had placed that one to my left so I wouldn’t confuse them.  But of course I did. And as a result, ended up in the Accident  and Emergency department  at our local hospital.

The medical service I received was speedy and faultless.  After various examinations and observations I was discharged home a couple of hours later.  It seemed that, although I had only swallowed a minute amount I must have instinctively spat the vast majority out.  On realising what I had done, I went into shock and so my brain had not recorded a memory of what happened directly after that.

Of course I was very relieved to find that I had done no major damage to my internal organs and would survive!  But my pleasure at receiving this news was short-lived.  Instead of celebrating, I started poisoning my self-esteem. My mind filled  with a constant stream of self-accusations:

  • how could you be so stupid?
  • just think of the shock and grief you could have caused to your family
  • you totally disrupted the art class and shocked your teacher
  • the person who had to take you to A&E was already having  a very stressful day
  • the health service is desperately short of cash, you gave it unnecessary expense

…and so on and so on.

Does this sound a familiar reaction to you?

I wouldn’t be surprised.  Bashing our self-esteem is a common reaction after making a mistake or doing something that with hindsight seems very stupid.

Luckily because I happen to be in the business that I am in, I realised what I was doing. So I started quickly doing some confidence repair work.

Your Confidence Challenge this month is to watch out for poisonous self-reproach in response to making an error. Unless you are a saint you should get some practice in confidence repair work.

Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t tell yourself to stop this kind of toxic self-talk – that wont work. Instead, distract yourself with positive action.
  2. Contact a friend or family member who loves you and is likely to comfort you and say encouraging words.
  3. refrain, if possible from telling your story to anyone who is likely to add to add to your own self-esteem bashing (e.g. How could you?!  Why didn’t you … etc ). You may need to inform some people who will react this way. Apologise but don’t join in with unnecessary self-reproach.
  4. Look at a photo or video clip of someone you love – preferably one that makes you smile.  (I looked at one of my grand-daughter Her face was covered with the avocado she was attempting to eat.)
  5. Make, (or promise yourself) a self-nurturing snack. Physical treats are good because we often feel like a naughty 3 year old.
  6. Put on some music that evokes good memories for you
  7. Note what you have learned from the experience. Also think about how you could put this learning to use.

Don’t forget you make a comment on my blog below. I would particularly welcome any other tips you may have to share.

Have a good month

Gael

 

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26 Responses to “Confidence Challenge: October 2014 Stop self-poisoning your self esteem”

  1. John Simpson says:

    Very good, Gael. You have put the learning to good use with this blog, and I will try to remember your advice the next time I do something apparently stupid! I don’t think it will be a long wait!

  2. Mariana says:

    It’s hard to find experienced people about this topic,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

  3. Kailey says:

    I can already tell that’s gonna be super heulfpl.

  4. Help, I’ve been informed and I can’t become ignorant.

  5. Finding this post. It’s just a big piece of luck for me.

  6. Essays like this are so important to broadening people’s horizons.

  7. Haha. I woke up down today. You’ve cheered me up!

  8. Until I found this I thought I’d have to spend the day inside.

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