September 7, 2023

How to challenge a negative view of self 

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Since we spent last week investigating what it means to reframe a person’s perception of their own sense of self and circumstance, I wanted to use this week to build on this concept. Issues of self-esteem and poor views of one’s self are issues that any mentor will come across over and over again. Poor self image can cause serious ramifications; it can cause anxiety and depression, even suicidal thoughts. It affects the way a person presents to the world and can deeply impact relationships and livelihood. A person’s sense of self is not an area to be taken lightly. 

When a client calls themselves a failure, a loser, stupid or worthless, even just in passing or seemingly as a joke, it comes from a sense of low self-image. One thing I like to explore with them is, “Where did you hear this? Where does this feeling come from?” It is rarely a new thing; it’s almost always something that has been part of their self-image for a very long time. It’s often an echo from the past, sometimes to do with trauma. But more than that, the initial criticism of themselves has been reinforced by a pattern of events, circumstances and conversations and thoughts. 

My Understanding

I have found that when I ask, “When did you start thinking like this?” invariably, they will instantly know the moment; “I remember this event, this moment, this feeling…” 

I remember feeling certain that I was a terrible writer because when I was in school I had difficulties with spelling and grammar and poor grades. It affected my sense of self and how I saw my own intelligence. This was until university. My wife, Adrienne, was a junior primary teacher and taught me how to spell and use correct grammar. This was a helpful and positive step that helped me adjust to a deficit. It gave me confidence in myself that I could improve with the proper concentration and a good teacher. Afterwards, I began to recognise and focus on my strengths; I had always excelled at math, been good with people and was strong leader. I may not excel in English, but I have gotten better and I am aware of my own unique strengths. 

Our Skills are Valued

In the Bible there is a clear understanding that God designed us all to have different skills, and wants us to recognize these in ourselves. These skills are all valuable, especially when we work together. Much like a body; one person might be an eye while another might be a mouth. We need both to be able to operate efficiently. 

Next time you meet with a client who is suffering from a low view of self, ask them these questions:

  • What has contributed to this belief about yourself? 
  • When did these negative feelings begin? 
  • What do you like about yourself? 
  • What are you good at? 
  • What do these skills allow you to offer others? 
  • Who in your life makes you feel valued for who you are? 

A quality mentor helps you see what you do not see. Who is helping you see? Can we help you find a quality mentor? Contact us for a confidential chat 

Have a passion to catalize self-reflection in others? Consider where you are on the mentor growth track. 

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