You know me: I love me some good brain science! Understand how the brain works and what comes with the “human package," and we unlock the secrets to creating the results we want in our life! Right?!?
While that statement is true, it’s not an easy task at all. Neuroscience is making new discoveries every day. My favorite brain doctor is Dr. Daniel Amen and I follow him on Instagram because he puts out such good brain information!
On top of evolving information, we are just plain busy, and improving things requires introspection, which requires some quiet time. How many of us get enough quiet time for personal reflection?
Here's a good place to start: in order to be efficient in this world, our brains make us creatures of habit. The more things that we can put on auto-pilot, the less energy our brains use to maintain the status quo. If you are alive and breathing, your brain is happy and wants to maintain that status.
How about this idea? If we could lock-in thinking about ourselves a certain (positive) way, we could ignore all the things that drag us into a negative space. After all, the human package comes with something called cognitive bias which means that we see what our brain is programmed to see. It takes a lot of time and effort to retrain our brains, but habits are like a crock pot: once you set it, you can forget it.
Let’s explore five different ways to retrain your brain to improve your self-worth.
Drop the Comparisons
I talked about this in last week’s post. Now I want you to think about it from a retraining your brain perspective.
The problem with making comparisons is we tend to compare our weakest points with somebody else's strongest point. If something isn't your strength, it isn't your strength.
My brother is an extremely talented artist. He can draw and paint and see possibilities where I only see supplies. I can lament until I’m blue in the face that I wish I could paint as well as he does, but I just don’t have the aptitude. When I compare my artistic abilities to his, I always come up short. When I was young, my brain was trained to only see this short-coming of mine.
Now that we are older and far wiser, I have retrained my brain to look for the way I am creative, and that’s in the written word. Now my brain just looks for evidence to support my belief that I am creative with the language arts.
If I had spent years trying to change the situation and put myself on a level with painting like my brother, it would have just wasted my time. While you can almost always improve your skills in something, that may never be enough to overtake someone who's just "got it" if you don't. That's okay-- your time is better spent cultivating the things you've "got"... if you give yourself permission to do so.
Identify Where Things Aren't Working
Why are you feeling insecure? This can be a critical question to answer as it gives you clues into places where you're not feeling validated or good about yourself. A little investigation can use these points as markers to indicate areas where you might need work.
This is where my downloadable free guide Get Real with Yourself comes in handy! It can jumpstart your personal reflection when you only have a few minutes to dedicate to it!
Put Worry to Rest
We love it when other people have a high opinion of us. But this is a double edged sword-- to a certain point it feels good, but it can become problem when someone's opinion of us becomes higher than our own. All of a sudden you feel pressure to live up to their expectations of you. If you're spending more time concerned about what someone else is thinking, you're cutting yourself short.
Instead, focus on checking in every once in a while with those around you that truly matter to see where you stand. Then spend the rest of your time paying attention to doing the things which create more value and self-worth in your own life.
In one of the great ironies of life, I was just coached on this myself this morning! I sometimes get the feeling that others think I am doing retirement “wrong” because I started my own business instead of living the stereotypical life of retirement “leisure”. My coach helped me realize that this thought doesn’t serve me at all. All I have to focus on is that I’m doing retirement exactly right for me.
Where are you letting worry about what others think affect you?
Understand No One is Watching
This is a close corollary to what I just said above. Sometimes we become self-conscious because we think everyone around us is watching us. We can even begin to think every move is under judgment. The truth is, very few people are paying attention. Everyone’s life is busy with a million different things, the reality is that they don’t have time to fixate on your life anyway! And for those who do, do they matter? The only person who it matters if they're watching you... is you! What you think of your actions is what counts.
Put in the Work
In the end, nothing is going to change unless you're the one to change it by retraining your brain. Worrying about your self-worth gets you nowhere. It's up to you to put in the effort. Download Get Real with Yourself. Jot down where you might need to do a little brain retraining. And then put the thought work in, or journal it, or talk to a coach about it – just take action!
As I said before, we are creatures of habit, so let’s make sure those habits are serving us in the best possible way!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: “You are not responding in the way I imagined you would respond when I acted out this conversation in my head. Stop it!”