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Today we’re going to look into adjusting biased expectations. What are biased expectations? They’re negative thoughts about yourself that occur when you’re in what you perceive to be a difficult or awkward situation. In these situations your negative core beliefs come in to play and you go ahead and make predictions to yourself about how things are going to turn out in this situation. These predictions tend to be negative and lead to anxiety.

You will likely

  • Overestimate the likelihood that bad things will happen •

  • Exaggerate how bad things will be •

  • Underestimate your ability to deal with things if they don’t go well •

  • Ignore other factors in the situation, which suggest that things will not be as bad as you are predicting.

For example if you have the core belief ‘I AM STUPID’ you’re likely to have a rule or assumption that you must never show others how stupid you are. You therefore avoid situations like quizzes. But what if you HAVE to participate in a team quiz at school? Your biased expectations are likely to be that you’ll make the team lose and suddenly you’re feeling very anxious.

So you need to challenge this biased expectation by pretending to be a lawyer or someone else, looking at yourself. Remember the core belief about yourself – I’m stupid – is opinion not fact.

So in this situation where you think the team will lose because of you, your natural reaction is to refuse to take part. This means you never get to challenge that biased expectation. In this instance, you need to change your behaviour by going ahead with the quiz. It’s likely that you’re no dumber than the average class mate and by going ahead, you’ll actually prove that to yourself. This means you can challenge your expectation and therefore also the core belief about yourself – perhaps you’re not so stupid after all….

This is just an example. If you use your Awesomeness Journal to write down some of the biased expectations you have about yourself, and then determine to change your usual pattern of behaviour to see if your expectations are true, you’re on the path to better self esteem. So for instance, if you think you have nothing to contribute to a group school assignment because you’re shy, then challenge that expectation of yourself by making yourself contribute. So go do some research, make a valid contribution and realise that you can be shy while still contributing to a group project. How good will you feel about yourself after that?

I hope step five really helps you in the steps to feeling awesome about yourself.

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.

This information is sourced from the Centre of Clinical interventions.

This is the final step in Project Awesome. You can also watch the video of this information here. Next week we'll see how some of you are going with your Awesome Journal and improving your self esteem.

Cya then.

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