Maybe it’s a British thing, but how many times were you told not to “be big headed” as a kid? Or to “stop showing off,” or perhaps, “stop boasting” by teachers or parents? It’s almost as though whole generations of kids have been brought up somehow allergic to expressing any kind of pride in themselves or their own achievements.
I don’t know why we ever thought this was a good idea. Seriously, I don’t.
For years, I’ve struggled to believe in myself; to recognise that I was worth anything as a person, to see my own talents, abilities and value to the world. What changed that was when someone told me to start keeping a record of the things in life that I was proud of.
From big things, to tiny things; from climbing mountains in Africa, to baking a particularly outstanding batch of chocolate brownies, everything counted. I began to make a note of them in a book, making a habit of recording at least one thing – but preferably three – at the end of every single day.
Just doing that simple thing improved my self-esteem, by helping my recognise the things that I was doing that were positive and which I should be proud of. It also meant that, when my mood was low, I had something to look back on and see what I had done to remind me of more positive things.
Having got into the habit of recording my achievements, it’s something which I continue to do now, and still find helpful. Although I now do it in a different way, using a smartphone app called Pin It or Bin It (produced by Liverpool University and available for Andriod). The app, which is awesome and I highly recommend, uses some of the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy not only to allow you to ‘pin’ positive achievements but also to help you ‘bin’ and move on from those less awesome moments in life that you’d rather forget.
As I mentioned earlier, far from all of the things that I record in the app are enormous achievements. They’re nothing that will win me an Olympic medal or a Nobel Prize; far from it. In fact, they’re exactly the kind of thing that, when I was little, had I talked about them over the dinner table, I would have been told to “stop being big-headed”.
So now, I’m really glad to have somewhere I can record them for posterity and take pride in being me.
More about Self-Esteem
I’m not a mental-health expert, or qualified in any way. So here’s some really helpful information about Self-Esteem, including about why it’s important to focus on the positives, from the amazing people at MIND:
A response to The Daily Post: Record