When writing my Defining Core Values post, something dawned on me—my core values squarely fit into the bottom three categories of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The next level up in his hierarchy is Esteem which revolves around self-worth, accomplishment and respect.
A side note, I learned there is a difference between confidence and esteem. According to Elizabeth Perry, article linked below,” Your self-esteem affects how you see yourself. In contrast, your self-confidence dictates how you perceive your own skills and talents.” Knowing this difference, I realized it isn’t confidence I lack, but self-esteem. I know I am good at problem solving (confidence), but I doubt if the solution is good enough (esteem).
Negative thinking about myself really did a job on my esteem. There are a lot of tools to use to tame negative thinking. The first step always seems to be acknowledging the thought as negative–I’m not good enough; I’m a fraud and it’s only a matter of time before everyone finds out; Everyone thinks what I did was stupid; etc. Next steps can vary.
What has worked for me was either:
- Ignoring the thought and refocusing on what I was doing–the actions verses thinking
- Changing it to a neutral or positive thought
- Asking myself is that how I would talk to someone I love
I believe my success to reducing the number of negative thoughts running through my head was due to consistently using one of these methods.
After noticeable success, I became paranoid—how do I know the thought was not from my inner knowing trying to lead me to action I needed to take? Nicole Kalil states it best in her book Validation is for Parking, “The distinction to keep in mind is how the message is being said…<are you> bullying yourself…Your inner knowing or hard truth will speak to you from a place of love, caring, and waiting the best for you.”
I also find my inner knowing will state a fact without any negativity. Whenever I’m challenged by something and frustrated with myself, the thoughts of being a failure and less than a person would be the negative thought. Me realizing the failure and thinking maybe I need to step away and come back to try again later is my inner knowing. Both thoughts acknowledged the failure; my inner knowing was kinder and more realistic on how to tackle the issue.
So, when the first thought when I woke up this morning and caused worry was, “I need to work on the leadership deck”—that is the inner knowing. If it was negative thinking, it may have said, “I am going to fail at next week’s leadership meeting.”
Weeks of life left: 1,168
Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay
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