“Hold onto yourself.” This phrase is one to keep in your back pocket, particularly during life’s challenges.
Holding onto yourself means connecting with your inner self; the one beyond self-doubt. It means really being with yourself and not looking to others for your self-worth.
In the face of adversity, self-esteem can take a hit.
We may believe that we aren’t good enough or can’t make it; and the adversity we are experiencing just seems to prove the negative beliefs we have about ourselves even more.
When experiencing life challenges, instead of allowing the difficulty to influence your self-esteem negatively, allow yourself to see the lesson inherent in the challenge and let the adversity build yourself up, rather than down.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
What is there here for me to learn?
How can I understand myself better through this difficulty?
What are my strengths and how can I use them to see this situation through?
How have I overcome adversity in the past?
The answers to these questions can provide you with a different path, and one that may provide guidance and direction.
There are often lessons inherent in life’s challenges, if we look for them. A medical diagnosis, for example, can reorient someone toward what’s really important in life. In the face of adversity, the likelihood is that there is an inner truth we can uncover.
Difficulties in life can help us to know ourselves deeper.
They can be an opportunity to connect with who we are and what we need. For example, the loss of a job can be met with panic or direct us toward our life’s true path.
Sometimes we get so bogged down with what we’re lacking, that we miss the gifts that we possess internally. When your self-esteem is low and self-doubt is high, focus on your strengths. If you don’t know what your strengths are, get clear on them. Write them down. Focus on them. Use them.
When you start to think thoughts like “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why can’t I ever ___?” your self-esteem will plummet. Watch your thinking and allow yourself to focus on what you DO have to offer.
Remember the times that you have overcome adversity in the past.
What happened? What did you do? How did it turn out in the end? Was there a lesson you came out of it learning?
Recalling times that we overcame something difficult in the past can give us the courage to move forward during a current life struggle.
It’s often helpful to practice acceptance of our current circumstances.
When we resist what is happening, we suffer. Allowing life’s challenges to define who we are as a person is a waste of time and energy. We then have less time and energy to rise to the challenge.
When faced with adversity, don’t take things personally.
Understand that challenges happen to everyone. It’s what we do with these challenges that create our character and cultivate resiliency.
Chances are that you’ve experienced many challenges in life and have come out the other side. This is resiliency. You’ve made it!
And you will make it this time, too.
Jennifer Huggins, Psy.D is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in West Los Angeles, specializing in Trauma and Chronic Pain. In addition to these specializations, she helps her clients heal depression, anxiety, and reduce stress though the use of cutting-edge treatments and empowering them to thrive in their lives. Her passion is helping clients find hope when its been lost.
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