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Rebuilding Self Esteem Part 2 🧠
A Guide to Rebuilding Self-Esteem Post-Abuse Continued (10min Read/Listen)
Healing from abuse involves reconstructing self-esteem and addressing Complex PTSD.
Engaging in personal growth and learning helps reshape mental perspectives and enhance self-confidence.
Celebrating both minor and major wins reinforces a sense of progress and self-worth.
Rebuilding trust is crucial after abuse, and seeking professional help can guide positive change.
Recovery is a continuous path towards empowerment, self-love, and recognizing one's unique value.
As we started to discuss last week, the journey to reclaiming one’s life after enduring an abusive relationship is both intricate and intensely individual.
It's a journey marred by the echoes of negative thoughts and self-talk, intertwined with the painful remnants of traumatic experiences.
For survivors, especially those grappling with the silent tumult of Complex PTSD, this journey is about much more than just healing—it is about reconstructing one's self-esteem, rediscovering one's worth, and learning to trust again.
The ever-evolving realms of neuroscience and psychology offer illuminating insights and concrete steps for those who are navigating through this rebuilding process.
It’s crucial to integrate these perspectives to foster healthy self-esteem and cultivate a strong sense of self, so I wanted to do a Part 2 on this topic to cover the other 5 tactics I'd suggest for rebuilding self-esteem!
5 More Tips for Rebuilding Self-Esteem
1. Embrace Continuous Learning: The Compass to Empowerment
Continuous learning is a great way to reclaim self-worth through knowledge, providing survivors with new perspectives and tools essential for personal growth and high self-confidence.
This is not just about learning new things; it's about reshaping the mental landscape, transforming negative beliefs, and mitigating self-esteem issues that may stem from past mistakes or lower self-esteem.
Continuous learning and self-improvement are pivotal in re-establishing a robust sense of self-worth. It allows survivors to gain new perspectives and tools, fostering personal growth and high self-confidence.
Learning stimulates the production of neurochemicals like dopamine, enhancing mood, motivation, and the perception of pleasure!
How to Start:
Read Self-Help Books and Attend Workshops
Equip yourself with knowledge and tools to foster personal growth.
Here are some books I recommend:
No Bad Parts by Dr. Richard Swartz
Organize Tomorrow Today by Dr. Jason Selk
The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
The Biography of Estee Lauder
Explore New Skills
Delve into learning new skills, broadening your horizons, and stepping out of your comfort zone.
We offer tons of free courses, workshops, Q&A's, and more inside the Trauma to Transformation Community!
Joining is a free way to have a support system, and to ensure you're continuously learning all that you can about what you're going through.
2. Celebrate Small Victories: The Fuel for Self-Worth.
Celebrating achievements, big or small, is a pivotal first step in fostering a positive self-image and high self-esteem.
It’s about relearning to appreciate the good things in life, shifting the focus from negative experiences and negative views, and allowing oneself to revel in each achievement and positive feedback received, be it from a good friend or family member.
Recognizing and celebrating each accomplishment, no matter how small, fosters a sense of progress and achievement, acting as reminders of one’s strength.
How to Celebrate:
Set and Achieve Manageable Goals:
Establish small, achievable goals and revel in each accomplishment.
When I work with clients, I have each of the set goals for our time together, not just for the whole program, but for each time we meet!
At the end of each meeting, we take a minute to congratulate ourselves for hitting the goals we set for that meeting.
This may seem silly, but it's a small W in your subconscious!
Now, I'm not one for random positive affirmations shouted at the bathroom mirror, but science does support recognizing and celebrating small wins, practicing positive self-talk, and replacing critical thoughts with positive affirmations.
I've even written about how to take Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) to Positive Empowering Thoughts (PETs) before, check it out below!
3. Pursuing Personal Growth
The pursuit of personal growth is integral in navigating through difficult situations and cultivating good self-esteem.
It’s an exploration into one’s own needs, an adventure in meeting new friends, and a dive into understanding and overcoming mental health issues.
It’s about acknowledging and learning from past mistakes while keeping an eye on positive goals, guiding one towards a more fulfilled and content outer life.
While continuous learning is more focused on the acquisition of new skills, personal growth is more focused on learning more about yourself!
What do you value? What are your personal goals? What are your personal needs? What are your hobbies? What things do you like to do alone? What triggers you? What deep work do you need to do with your own Parts?
The pursuit of personal growth stimulates brain regions associated with motivation and goal-oriented behavior, promoting feelings of accomplishment and self-worth.
How to Start: Relearn How to PLAY!!
You read that right. Personal growth doesn't always have to be kum-bah-yah in the forest, it can be FUN!
One thing I've noticed over and over again with my clients is that they've forgotten how to play.
Oftentimes, they don't even know how to have fun anymore...
This makes sense because as we get older, it becomes less and less "OK" for us to cut loose like we're kids again.
Well, here's the good news, playing is amazing for your brain, and for sure counts as personal growth!
Here are some of the benefits of play:
Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Increases Creativity & Problem-Solving Skills
Improves Memory & Cognitive Function
Promotes Emotional Well-being
Boosts Productivity & Motivation
Enhances Physical Health
If you'd like to learn more, I wrote a whole blog about the Neuroscience of Play, you can check it out below!
Different people play differently, so I discuss how to find your Play Style in the blog.
4. Rebuilding Trust: The Cornerstone of Relational Repair.
Trust is the building block of any healthy relationship, and it is crucial to repair this foundation post-abuse.
Rebuilding trust is not an easy task but by setting achievable trust goals and gradually progressing to more profound discussions, survivors can cultivate trust, first in themselves and then in others.
How to Rebuild TRUST
I was talking with one of my clients yesterday who's a People Pleaser who's been burned many times by trusting too easily.
She wanted to know how to determine who you can trust, and who you can't trust, and she was amazed to find out that it's not that you either do or don't trust someone, there's an equation you can use to know what level of trust to give someone.
It's called the trust equation!
Here's the equation, C + R + I/SO.
The C stands for Credibility.
Does this person have a history of providing accurate information or do they have direct knowledge about a particular event or topic? If someone is credible, when they tell you a story or give you some information, you trust its accuracy.
The R stands for Reliability.
They are deemed reliable if they consistently demonstrate the following three qualities:
Commitment to follow through
This means you can count on them to do what they say they will do.
The I stands for Intimacy.
This means expressing vulnerability and being open about who we are as people.
It's a willingness to talk about things that are past the surface-level stuff.
And finally, SO stands for Self-Orientation.
This refers to our focus and how much we align with the interests of others.
Highly self-oriented people are hard to trust as they are more interested in themselves than those around them.
Now that you know the equation, here's how I use it.
When I meet with someone I've never met before, or who is trying to get close to me, I keep a mental checklist of the trust equation, scoring each area with a Y/N.
Over time, I start to figure out how much I can trust them based on their score.
If they have 4 Yes's, I know I can trust them. If they have a couple No's, I know what to be aware of when interacting with them.
One caveat, if they score a No in Self-Orientation, meaning they are more concerned about themselves than others, this cancels the whole equation, and I cut ties with this person.
You can't trust someone who's only ever got their own interests in mind.
5. Seeking Professional Guidance
Last but certainly not least is seeking out help!
This could be a licensed clinical psychologist, therapist, coach, or counselor, all of these kinds of people are trained to help you navigate this difficult time.
They can provide a structured environment to explore and understand your experiences, fostering positive behavioral change and mitigating negative thought patterns.
As you know, I highly recommend Internal Family Systems (IFS) Psychotherapy, as it's what I practice, and use for myself as well.
IFS has helped many of my clients learn to appreciate or work with the inner critic in their heads that's preventing them from believing in themselves.
I've written extensively on it as well, here's one of the blogs I wrote on the IFS:
Other types of Bottom-Up approaches to healing in a clinical setting include:
Internal Family Systems
Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)
And of course, Top-Down therapies can be very useful as well, once you've worked with what's stored in your body!
Here are some Top-Down therapies you can look into:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), including Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
I also wrote a blog that helps you determine if Top-Down or Bottom-Up is best for you, here's a link to that as well:
There's a big difference between these modalities, so it's important to know which will support your personal development best.
One Step At a Time
The path to rebuilding self-worth is not a quick fix; it requires time, patience, and the conscious effort to learn, grow, and evolve.
The integration of neuroscience insights, and practical psychological strategies, can act as a guiding compass for survivors, illuminating the way towards empowerment and self-love.
For those enduring the aftermath of abuse, remember, that every effort you make, every bit of knowledge you acquire, and every small victory you celebrate, is a step toward living your best life.
It’s about changing the emotional appraisal of our own worth, from one tarnished by abuse to one that recognizes and embraces one’s unique value.
The journey may be long, and at times it may seem daunting, but remember, the transformation from survivor to an empowered individual is a journey worth every step.
So, good luck on your voyage towards rediscovering and embracing your worth and building the blocks of your self-esteem on a regular basis.
And until next time... Live Heroically! 🧠
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