Take me, for example. I have a wonderful husband who frequently proclaims his love for me, and badgers me with cat-calls whenever I change in front of him. And, physically, I’m in the best shape of my life, having just met my goal weight after years of having babies.
I share this, not to boast about my successes, but rather, to prove a point. Anyone, no matter how put-together they may seem, can struggle with low self-esteem. From the outside, you could say that I seem confident and self-assured. But, because of my mental illness, I’m actually excessively embarrassed by, and extremely critical of, all my infinite short-comings.
But that’s the nature of depression. This disease has a way of using our weaknesses against us to fuel self-doubt in the depths of our souls. To survive the battle, you must learn how to determine the difference between helpful thoughts, and unhelpful thoughts.
Example of Unhelpful Thoughts: “I can’t believe how thin and gorgeous So-And-So looks! I wish I looked like her. I’ll never look that good. How does she DO it? She seems like she has everything figured out. I wish I had even ONE thing figured out. Is that spaghetti sauce in my hair?”
Example of Helpful Thoughts: “Wow, So-And-So really looks good these days! I’m really glad she seems to be doing well. Her strengths are so much different than mine, and I bet she could teach me a lot! Oh, is that spaghetti sauce in my hair? I have document this!”
It takes practice and it’s not going to work every time, but there is almost always a way to find the positive when negative emotions consume you. But, if those happy thoughts are hard to come by one day, try distracting yourself. Keep your mind busy with something productive to quiet down the inner turmoil.
Above all, keep patient. Try reflecting on how you really see yourself, and see what positive changes you can make in your life. Start small and work slowly. Remember, there is a reason you are alive right now, equipped with the talents and gifts that you have. Utilize these treasures, and you’ll find that, as you contribute to the happiness and comfort of others, your confidence will slowly start to build. Then, you’ll finally start to see yourself as the valuable person your loved ones cherish.
Melanie McKinnon is a wife, mother of 3 plus 1 in heaven, and a barre fitness instructor. She loves writing, Diet Pepsi, hugging her kids and dating her husband. On her blog, Melanie Meditates, you will find subscription box reviews, her experience with anxiety, depression and loss, stories about her life as a mother, and some tips for maintaining sanity. She hopes to encourage and inspire anyone fighting a daily battle.