I’m talking about Project Awesome again today, which aims to help teens go from feeling awful to feeling awesome about themselves.
In my book The Harper Effect, Aria is a talented musician but she sees herself as a failure next to her superstar sister Harper who travels the international tennis circuit. Aria has spent her life negatively comparing herself to her sister and now has deep seated beliefs that have led to low self esteem. None of her beliefs are actually facts though. They are her opinion.
This is an issue most teens have and that’s what these videos and blogs are about—changing your mindset so you go from feeling awful to awesome.
We covered step one last week in which we talked about making an Awesomeness Journal. Today we’re going to talk about how to stop evaluating yourself and your actions negatively. Some people think it’s good to be critical of yourself to keep you grounded or to stop you getting too big for your boots. But you wouldn’t be critical of someone else when times are tough, making them feel bad by criticising them for how they’ve reacted in a tough situation—so why do it to yourself?
So here’s an example; you’re in a tough situation—your teacher feels you didn’t put enough effort into your science homework and has asked you why you deserve not to fail. Afterwards you tell yourself you should’ve done x or the teacher just doesn’t realise you’re hopeless at his subject, or you’ll tell yourself you’re pathetic for not explaining your mom was sick and you ran out of time for homework or you make a sweeping judgement that ‘you’re useless’ and you always mess up and you’ll never be any good at science. This leads to you feeling low and you are likely to isolate yourself, or overcompensate by being extra nice to friends to prove to yourself you’re not a mess up, or you might let others walk over you or not take up an opportunity that comes your way because you think you’re pathetic and don’t deserve it. So now you’re feeling pretty awful about yourself.
What can you do?
Time to get out that Awesomeness Journal and mark up a new section for self-evaluation. You need to write this down as doing it in your head confuses and doesn’t stick in your subconscious.
Most of our critical thoughts about ourselves are OPINIONS and not FACTS. So stick to the facts when you evaluate yourself. Are you really pathetic and useless or is the truth that your mom was sick and you ran out of time for homework? Do you really always mess up or is it just something that happens sometimes. Everyone messes up sometimes. Has this situation happened before? If it has, perhaps you can get more organised and do homework on the day it’s set, but it doesn’t mean you’re pathetic—it means you need to get more organised.
If you’re finding it hard to evaluate your own thoughts about yourself in a given situation, pretend your friend has come to you with the same situation. How would you advise them? What other perspectives are available? Did everyone get a low grade? Was the teacher in a bad mood? Did you have a lot on that week?
With a more balanced critique of your actions, and a method for separating opinion from fact, you really will start seeing yourself in a different light.
I hope step two really helps you and make sure you subscribe to receive live notifications for the next video in which we’ll cover the core beliefs we have about ourselves and how to change them.
If you’d like to send in comments about how you are going with your Journal, or how you cope with low self-esteem, I’d love to hear from you. Or just comment below.
With STEP THREE you’re half way through.
STEP THREE IS ALL ABOUT IDENTIFYING AND ADJUSTING CORE BELIEFS ABOUT OURSELVES.
See you next week.