When you are faced with a daunting task it’s easy to get discouraged. And it’s easy to express discouragement, doubt, dismay, fear and other negative emotions through negative self talk. Examples:
“I can’t do this.”
“There’s not enough time/money/hands to do this.”
“I don’t know how and I can’t learn how to do it.” etc.
Negative self talk leads to low self esteem
The problem with this is that it amplifies the discouragement. It sets the negative belief in stone as a “truth” that then becomes even more daunting and ultimately impossible to overcome. Then it’s more than discouragement, it’s failure.
There’s nothing like failure to torpedo self esteem: “I can’t even do X (whatever the daunting task was).”
On the other hand, there’s nothing like success to build and reinforce self esteem. But, how to succeed?
Steps to success
First, start with the easy things. If you have three things on your plate, and one is really daunting – start with the easier ones. Build up momentum from successful accomplishments before tackling the harder task.
Break down the task into its component parts. It is very likely that some of the parts are easier. Start with those!
Be realistic about the difficulties. Figure out what you don’t know how to do, or where certain resources may be lacking.
Brainstorm. Get creative.
Ask for help. Other people may have ideas or resources you’ve not thought of. There is no shame in asking for help. People enjoy offering their assistance.
Realize that everything worth doing is only accomplished step by step. Mistakes are not dead ends, but new opportunities to get creative.
Use positive self-talk to create success and self esteem
At every step of the way, pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. When you notice negative self talk, change it to positive talk. For example, when you are stuck it may be tempting to say, “I can’t do this.” Change that sentence to “I can do this.” Doesn’t that feel different?
If that feels difficult to say, try something like, “I’m not sure if I can do this, but I’m trying.” Or: “I want to learn how to do this.”
Making this small shift in self talk can pay large dividends. Negative self-talk guarantees failure. Positive self-talk opens the door to possibility.
Success is created out of possibility.
Self esteem and self confidence are built upon successes, small and large.