To some, “Being The Best You” leads to the belief that one must be perfect — and not achieving such is a sign of failure or feeling “less than.” To others, personal best means working hard, being genuine, learning that what some people call failures are opportunities for learning on the path to success. Too many people, unfortunately, fall into this first category which can lead to anxiety and depression.
Why do so many people believe that their personal best in “not good enough?” There are many reasons for believing so. Perhaps you are carrying messages acquired in younger years. Parents, caregivers, peers, classmates and even so-called friends may say things that we accept as fact. Later on in life, coworkers, work supervisors, partners or spouses may further reinforce feelings of low self-esteem or self-mastery through their words and/or actions. Wherever these messages originated, if heard often enough, we may come to define ourselves, our view of others and our view of the world, through the lens of others. If these messages are positive, we may accept them as part of a belief system that promotes peace, joy, and creativity. If on the other hand, we take on negative messages received by others as our own, we may develop a negative belief system that stifles peace, joy, and creativity, leading to anxiety and/or depression. This negative belief system (also referred to as “core beliefs”) leads to maladaptive thoughts and behaviors keep us from developing our true selves (or the person we want to be), keeping us stuck in a cycle of despair or hopelessness.
Some examples of negative core beliefs include, but are not limited to, “I’m stupid…I’m incompetent…Nobody likes (or love) me…I can’t do anything right…Everything I do leads to failure…I’m not worthy…If I fail at (fill in the blank), I’m a failure” (add your own negative core beliefs). Whether your negative core beliefs were acquired during your formative years, or acquired or reinforced as you got older, it most likely keeps you stuck in a very dark place.
So, let’s shed some light on what you may be experiencing — anxiety, sadness, depression, despair, hopelessness, frustration, confusion, anger, etc. You may knowingly, or unknowingly, engage in self-sabotaging behaviors such as avoidance, isolation, perfectionism, addictions, codependent or unfulfilling relationships (feel free to add to the list).
The first step is awareness. This means identifying your negative thoughts and belief systems, analyzing what purpose they serve (or don’t serve), and actively creating a “new narrative,” (a new story) of the life you want. Of course, this may be a tall order for many of you. After all, all you know is what you’ve come to think and believe. The thing about it is, you’ve come to accept as fact what others have told you and made it part of “your truth,” instead of challenging whether these messages are valid, realistic, exaggerated or overinflated, or distortions of the truth. The fact is, many of you blindly accept as fact, as reality, the images and messages created for you by others, rather than actively challenging these negative thoughts and core beliefs as externally created and self-imposed. As it is often said, “perception is reality” and in being so, you may have crafted a self-perception that fails to acknowledge personal strengths and resilience.
Depression, anxiety disorders, stress, and worry can make it difficult to find joy, meaning, and purpose in your life. We all need support at different times in our lives. Most of my clients seek help when their current way of dealing with life’s challenges no longer works for them. With a caring, non-judgmental and solution-focused approach, we will explore your issues and challenges in a safe therapeutic environment at my private practice that offers counseling in Delray Beach, Florida, or through remote online therapy from the comfort of your own home that will allow you to learn more effective ways of managing your anxiety and stress. Let’s walk the path to freedom from anxiety together.
If you’re ready to let go of the sadness, fears, worries, or anxieties that are making life difficult, you should sign up today for my weekly newsletter series “Freedom from Anxiety and Depression” for regular tips to improve your mental health.