I myself, like most, have low self-esteem days. These days come on the tail end or beginning of a funk. There are many ways to improve your self-esteem and to kick depression’s butt. In part four we talked about positive affirmations – self-talk. I’m going to approach it from yet another angle today.
We are going to look at the one thing we do that kills our self-talk faster than anything else. We down play complements. Someone says, “Great job on that report”. We say, “Not a big deal, or just doing’ my job, or it could have been better, or did you notice the type-o on page…” Another way we down play complements is we fail to say “THANK YOU”! Someone says, “What a lovely outfit”. we say, “What this old thing, or I got it at such and such store for $9.95”. In essence, what we’ve just done was said to the other person, “What are you stupid? Have you no taste? What’s wrong with you?”! In doing so also we self talk and we hear “I have no taste. I was stupid to wear this today. What’s wrong with me?” How rude, to both yourself and the other person. Experts vary on the number of times we negative self-talk and the number of positives it takes to replace each negative. For the sake of argument let’s say we self talk 500 times a day. Usually, unless you’ve practiced positive self-talk, 497 of those will be negative. Again for the sake of argument, let’s say it takes 3 positive to replace 1 negative (those numbers are very low by expert standards); you’d have to say 1500 positive things to yourself every single day. Okay I want to hear 1500 right now. Right! It is easier to stop saying the negative than it is to have to say 1500 positive. So what is the easiest way to do that? Learn to say “Thank You” whenever you get a complement or positive comment.
Saying, “Thank You”, is polite to the other person. What it is telling them is that they have good taste, they are kind for saying something and that they are brave to say something in an era where it is easier to say nothing at all. When someone says, “Great job on that report”, Say, “Thank you, I worked hard on that, I appreciate you noticing”. You’ve just given them at least 3 positives, thus replacing one of their negatives. They now feel better about themselves, about you and they are more likely to point out the positive again and again. You’ve also given yourself at least 3 positives replacing one of your negatives.
Practice saying “Thank You” every time you get a complement for the next couple of days, then report back how tough it was, how it made you feel, etc…