Self-esteem is essentially confidence in your worth and abilities. It’s incredibly important for men- especially in the society we live in today.
Unfortunately for most us, our self-esteem is in tatters by the time we reach adulthood.
An overly-sexualized society where pornography slowly seeps into the mainstream juxtaposed with all the rules of what it means to “be a man,” as well as unhealthy doses of guilt brought on my misguided feminism has caused so many of us to lose our way.
We’ve developed horrible mental habits that make us approval seeking and rejection prone — full of negative beliefs and assumptions.
It’s my hope that highlighting some of these bad mental habits will make you more aware of them and help you overcome them in your life.
1. Mind Reading
Mind reading occurs when you assume you know what people think without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts. An example would be: “She thinks I’m a loser”.
2. Reasoning Emotionally
You’re guilty of this when you let your feelings guide your interpretation of reality. For example, “I feel depressed; therefore my marriage/relationship is not working out.”
This involves not taking responsibility for changing yourself. For instance: “My girlfriend is to blame for the way I’m feeling now” or “My parents caused all the problems I have today.”
4. Comparing Unfairly
You interpret events in terms of standards that are unrealistic by focusing primarily on others who do better than you and then judging yourself inferior in the comparison. “He’s more successful than I am” or “Everyone did better than me on the test.”
5. Using Negative Filter
Focusing almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom noticing the positives. “Look at all the people who don’t like me.”
This happens when you assign general negative traits to yourself and others. For example: “I’m not attractive,” or “He’s a horrible person.”
7. Trivializing Positive Accomplishments.
Trivializing the positive accomplishments or behaviors of yourself or others. For example: “That’s what a good girlfriend is supposed to do, so it doesn’t count when she’s nice to me,” or “Those successes were easy, so they don’t matter.”
This happens when you focus on the idea that you could have done better in the past rather than on what you could do better now. For example: “I could have had a better job if I tried,” or “I shouldn’t have said that.”
9. What If
Asking a series of questions about “what if” something happens and never being satisfied with the answers. For example: “Yeah, but what if I get nervous talking to her?”
10. Catastrophe Thinking
This involves having the belief that something that has happened in the past or will happen in the future is so terrible and unbearable that you won’t be able to stand it. Example: “It would be absolutely terrible if we broke up.”
11. Focus On Judgement:
Viewing yourself, others and events through black and white evaluations such as good/bad or superior/inferior as opposed to simply describing, accepting and understanding. You continuously measure yourself and others according to arbitrary standards and keep finding that you and others all fall short. Examples: “I’m really bad at math,” or “If I try to go out and meet random women, I won’t do well,” or “Look how successful he is. I’m not successful.”
12. All Or Nothing
You view events or people in all-or-nothing terms. For example: “I get rejected by everyone,” or “It was a waste of time.”
Assigning general negative traits to yourself and others. For example: “I’m undesirable,” “She’s a real bitch.”
Perceiving general patterns of negativity based on a single incident. For example: “This always happens to me. I always fail.”
Attributing a disproportionate amount of the blame for negative events to yourself and failing to see that certain events are also caused by others. For example: “My relationship ended because I failed.”
How many of these habits do you clearly engage in?