How Negative Self-Communication Can Cause Low Self-Esteem
What is negative self-communication. It is what you think about yourself deep down inside. It is what slips out of your mouth under tension. The deep down thoughts and words are negative. They can be negative toward the person thinking them, negative toward others, and negative toward situations.
An example of the negative thoughts and words toward the person thinking and speaking them may be as follows. If a person has problems learning in school and no one encourages them, they may find themselves thinking that they are stupid, slow, thickheaded, etc. As a person progresses through school, they may notice that almost every time they answer a question posed by an instructor, it doesn't seem to be what the instructor feels is a valid answer. Soon they become cautious about raising their hand and participating in discussions. When the thoughts of inadequacy are firmly set in their mind, they will speak about inadequacy especially when under pressure. It can be rehearsed so many times in a person's mind and then in their speech that it becomes automatic to think and speak in a negative manner about their academic abilities. As an adult a person may be trying something new like learning a new job. When they make a mistake, the first thing that may slip out of their mouth is something like, "I'm so stupid" or "I can't do anything right." Time is not taken to think about whether this is a valid statement about them or not. A person is now on negative overdrive.
A person can become so negative about a job or relationship that they can work themselves out of a situation by constantly dwelling on the negative aspects. This can cause them to eventually remove themselves from the job or relationship and verify all the reasons they made the move. If they had centered in on the positive aspects, they may have been able to remain and grow right where they were.
The more negative thoughts permeate the mind and mouth, the more the negative is believed and acted upon. Many people are not pleased with their physical appearance and find they spend very little time in front of the mirror in the morning. It is painful to have a mirror reflection reinforce to the mind physical flaws like extra weight, scars, thinning or missing hair, etc.
In speaking to my sister, who is one year younger than I am, we compared how we feel about our physical appearance. When we were children, our parents taught us to pray before we went to bed every night. We included such things like asking God to bless those we loved and then thank Him for our blessings. My sister has a very positive image of herself and has had this image all her life. She shared with me that she has always thanked God for such things as her ears, nose, mouth, feet, hands, etc. She continues this habit even as an adult. It never crossed my mind to thank God for my physical body. I became a master at "putting myself down." I felt if I could poke fun at myself, it would stop others from poking fun at me.
I am in the process of speaking positive about myself and my life. It has changed my life completely. It is wonderful to look in the mirror and thank God for my physical body and also for friendships, loved ones, family, the ability to overcome and succeed. I have found that the more that I give thanks, the less I feel that I need to say negative things. This has taken a period of time to change the negative into positive but every day I lean more to a very positive outlook instead of a negative outlook. Low self-esteem ruled my life in the past but it is quickly becoming a distant memory.