Advice for Dealing With Low Self-Esteem, Overthinking, High Expectations and Addiction
Here's how face fear and to stop beating yourself up
Do you hate yourself? Those are strong words but it's possible. I know there was a point I sure did. I know others loathe who they are too. It's easy to get stuck down an emotional dead-end and not even want to look in the mirror. You can't love someone if you can't love yourself. You can't enjoy life when you don't even like yourself.
Think this doesn't apply to you? Perhaps not, and if so, great! But I bet you treat yourself the worst, talk to yourself the worst and break more promises to yourself than anyone else in your life. Our self-disrespect is an odd blind spot, be wary of it, for all happiness flows from within.
A great deal of your problems stem from the gap between who you are and who you know you can be.
The only reason why that gap exists is because of fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of suffering and effort, fear of finding out you are really a loser.
Headline news: You’re not a loser. You’re just someone who hasn’t started to become who they were meant to be. Yet.
Here's the truth no one likes to hear: Life is scary and you're scared. It's OK. Everyone is scared. Don't be ashamed. It's what you do with that information that matters.
Mike Tyson's coach and mentor Cus D'Amato said of fear:
“The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It's the same thing, fear, but it's what you do with it that matters." - Cus D'Amato
You can easily be a hero. In fact, you can't be one without being scared. You need fear as a first step.
The way to close that gap and find peace is to start facing fears. That's heroic.
Why You Must Face Fear
It's heroic because most people don't do it. The human brain is addicted to comfort and we spend an inordinate amount of time chasing it. It's the secret addiction driving our lives.
We seek comfort as an escape from our lives and ourselves, even if it’s only momentarily.
You’re miserable, overthinking and beat yourself up because you’re avoiding discomfort and avoiding fear. What else is addiction other than defaulting back to comfort with a substance or a behaviour even if you know it's bad for you? It's choosing comfort over growth, it's choosing comfort over fear, it's choosing the wrong thing over and over again.
To break the cycle of overthinking, self-loathing, even addiction, you must face fear.
There is no other way.
This sounds terrifying and difficult, but here's the kicker: You can never avoid fear. It will come to you one way or another. Right now, it’s coming to you with all the neurosis and existential pain that happens when you run away from hardship.
Instead, it could come to you with all the discomfort of growth.
You suffer now, or you suffer later. You have to choose.
How to Face Fear
Facing fear doesn’t mean you should undertake daily self-flagellation and a brutal self-improvement regime, it means starting by having self-compassion and not wanting to sell yourself short.
Start with small fears first then work your way up. Resilience is a muscle. You must allow it time to strengthen and grow.
Spiritual author Geoff Thompson decided to face fears in his life when they became all-consuming. He did this by drawing up a "fear pyramid" of everything in his life holding him back, starting with a mild fear of spiders at the bottom, all the way to physical confrontation at the top.
He then went about challenging each fear until he had mastered them all. This included becoming a doorman of a rough club in Coventry city centre to embrace the violent confrontation that scared him so greatly.
Incremental growth is the only way. There is no shortcut. Face small fears at first to prove to yourself of that which you are capable.
Action cures anxiety quicker than any self-help book or talk ever will. You need to show your brain you can do it.
Confidence and self-esteem flow from winning small battles.
This is important work. You will never find inner peace and a way out of the trap without facing fear.
Facing fear is how you develop fortitude, strength, integrity and courage. Begin to reframe facing fear from something difficult to something positive, it is giving something to you, it is net a gain, not a loss.
So start with a tiny fear, as small as making your bed, not eating sugar, 20 push-ups, writing down some goals, a cold shower, having a difficult conversation with someone. This is where it begins.
In a year’s time, you’re going to wish you started today.
It’s all scary. Life is scary. But within you in an invincible summer ready to push back against fear and show the world, yourself and the universe who you can be.
Think this sounds silly? Then I ask you, what else is the purpose of life than to grow into who you know you can be?
Choose your flavour of problem, raise the quality of your problems, make your problems about bettering yourself rather than hiding from yourself.
This is your life. Begin slow, it doesn’t matter. But begin. 1% of a change every day. Small steps. You don't run out of hell, you claw your way out.
365 to the power of 1 is 1 but 365 to the power of 1.01 is 37.7
Face fears. Conquer fears. Grow confident. Develop self-respect. Change your life. It's a cycle. Become the person you can look at in the mirror and I promise all of these problems will dissolve. All of them.
You’re the result of a million years of evolution, honing and perfecting you into a problem solving, adaptation machine of survival and victory. Act like you got this, because you have.
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