There’s a virus running rampant.
When it enters our body, it can leave massive destruction in its wake, causing devastation to our health. Our stress-producing hormones are released, interrupting our normal brain function. And then, like dominoes, our memory, feelings, and emotions are affected, as well as our sleep, appetite, and long-term happiness and satisfaction.
What’s this virus? Our negative self-talk.
Whether we want to admit it or not, words — both spoken and unspoken, by us and by other people — shape how we think and feel, not only about everything around us but also about ourselves. “Your words shape your reality,” explains Marisa Peer, transformational hypnotherapist and author of Mindvalley’s Uncompromised Life Quest.
And when those words are negative, our psyche is in danger of suffering from an array of psychological (and not to mention, physical) problems, which we would need to work on to reinforce our self-esteem.
Self-Esteem: The Power Of Your Perception
Self-esteem is “the overall opinion we have of ourselves, how we judge or evaluate ourselves, and the value we attach to ourselves as people,” according to Melanie Fennell, a pioneer in cognitive therapy in the UK and author of Overcoming Low Self-Esteem.
What Is Healthy Self-Esteem?
Healthy self-esteem is when you’re able to have a balanced and accurate view of yourself. You believe in yourself, despite having a few flaws. You use positive self-talk to reinforce your worthiness. You recognize your ability to contribute your unique gifts to the world.
What Is Low Self-Esteem?
Low self-esteem, on the other hand, is when you believe you’re subpar and often compare yourself to other people. You tend to focus on your weaknesses and constantly worry that you aren’t good enough. You practice negative self-talk and don’t give yourself credit for your unique contributions to the world.
Why Is Self-Esteem Important?
As a matter of fact, self-perception plays such an important role, not only with your self-esteem but also with your health. When you focus on the positive aspects of anything in life, it enables you to develop a resilient and grateful mindset. However, if you focus on the negative aspects, it surely takes a toll on your wellbeing.
Take divorce, for example. It’s a shocking and traumatic event for anyone involved, but it’s an unfortunate part of life for some people. Now, you can choose to see the bright side of it — you have more control over your life, you have more time to yourself, and you can have a better relationship with your children and ex-spouse. Or you can choose to focus only on the negative — you’re alone, you have to face an unknown future, and you see your children less.
One outdated, yet relevant study shows that by focusing only on the negative aspects of life events, such as a divorce, there’s a higher chance that you’ll keep replaying those destructive thoughts and feelings in your head for a long time after. This can majorly affect your self-esteem, leading you to:
- Externalize negative thoughts and feelings about yourself
- Verbal and physical aggression towards others
- Greater odds of having weight issues
Life isn’t always at a plateau and your self-esteem won’t be either. It’s normal to experience moments when you feel down about yourself and moments when you feel good about yourself. But generally, your self-esteem typically sways towards how you feel about yourself overall.
So, don’t allow destructive self-talk to control your self-esteem. The best way to change such negativity is to try — what else — positive self-talk.
Your Words Shape Your Reality
There’s a scene in “The Mindy Project” where Mindy’s cousin, Sheena gives the perfect advice for self-talk:
Sheena: Okay. Now, tell me what you see.
Mindy: Two hot black girls and a fat load in a tracksuit.
Sheena: That’s cold. Now, if the person in the mirror was your best friend, would you be as mean to her as you’re being to yourself?
Sheena: Well, I’ve got news for you. You are talking to your best friend. You.
Sticks and stones may break bones, but according to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman words can change your brain. Their research in their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, shows that when you concentrate on words, be it negative or positive, it stimulates your frontal lobe activity, which then affects your cognitive function.
So, the longer you focus on positive or negative words, the more it affects your cognitive function, which then will shift your self-perception and the people around you. A positive perception will enable you to see the good in others and vice versa with a negative perception.
“Over time, the structure of your thalamus will also change in response to your conscious words, thoughts, and feelings, and we believe that the thalamic changes affect the way in which you perceive reality,” explains Andrew and Mark.
As Marisa best puts it, “use better words, what do you have? A better reality.”
The 3 Life-Changing Words
Words have power. More often than not, your self-talk is unconscious. So, positive affirmations will help if you’re struggling with low self-esteem. Marisa shares three words that will boost your confidence: I am enough.
Let’s say it again: I am enough.
One more time: I am enough.
Marisa suggests repeating these three simple words over and over again — say it out loud, think it in your head, write it on your mirror… the more you tell yourself you’re enough, the more you’ll believe it.
“Lie, cheat, and steal: lie to your brain, cheat fear, and steal back that phenomenal confidence,” she says.
Like what Andrew and Mark explain in their book, the longer you focus on the words, “I am enough,” the more your perception of yourself and those around you will shift. And when you make the effort to be aware of your self-talk, you can channel your inner dialogue in the direction of personal growth, confidence, and kindness.
Elevate Your Self-Esteem
The amazing thing about our bodies is that when there’s a virus, our immune system puts up an attack to neutralize it. And if negative self-talk is the virus, then “I am enough” is your immune system.
It’s time to elevate your self-esteem and rewire your beliefs for a deep and lasting change. Mindvalley’s Uncompromised Life guides you through Marisa’s acclaimed Transformational Hypnotherapy process. It also gives you the chance to experience guided meditation with Marisa herself.
So you’ll learn to develop soaring confidence, love yourself unconditionally, discover your purpose, manifest your dreams, and so much more simple, yet life-altering techniques to finally realize what we all already know — that you are enough.