creating sustainable results in growth and performance
No one was born with low self-esteem, no one was born with an eating disorder,
no one was born biting their nails or with a tendency to procrastinate. All
habits are behaviors we learned and practiced so often that they have become
second nature. And because they are part of our second nature, and not our
first, we are closer to our true selves without them. We only feel they are
part of us because we have practiced them for so long and are conditioned to
have them. We often end up feeling that they are who we are. They are not.
They are habit. The majority of us can overcome our limiting habits. Habits
are quite simply things we have learned. They are thoughts, behaviors and
actions we have practiced over time. Low self-esteem is a habit, a behavior
you have learned and practiced so often that it has become second nature. Your
brain has been wired to believe you are not good enough. But it doesn't have
to be this way.
Yes, the power of learned behavior is staggering, but it can be unlearned.
Just as it took time to develop a particular way of being, it takes time to
discard behavioral elements that no longer serve you well. If you are willing
to consider the possibility that your behavior involves a set of choices, you
can alter behavior by altering the choices you make. When you make decisions,
you are actually processing external and internal stimuli in rapid succession
and making a series of decisions that are reflected in your behavior. Once you
are open to reviewing your behavior, you can make choices that allow you to
modify your behavior.
You can learn how to make simple but highly effective changes and gain more
confidence and control. You can become freer and happier. Make a firm
commitment to change and start right now learning how by clicking through the
links on the
Self-esteem is based on self-image, a mental
'picture' of yourself, describing what sort of person you think you
are. It helps you to make sense of your experience and evaluate it
and to organize and control how you behave. Your self-image is
"reflexive" meaning that it is the cumulative effect of reactions
from others that provides the basis of what kind of person you think
you are - your self-image. It is also based on how well you
If, over time, you are constantly treated as someone
who is attractive and/or clever, you tend to come to think of
yourself in those terms. If others behave as if they expect you to
take decisions, exert authority and provide leadership, you will
probably come to think of yourself as having 'leadership qualities'.
If your opinion is repeatedly disregarded, you acquire the belief
that your ideas are not worth very much. The effects of these
reactions are much greater on young people, of course, because they
do not have any experience of different reactions to set against the
ones currently being experienced. It is why the influence of
parents, teachers and upbringing generally are so important in what
our enduring self-images become.
Changing Habits takes much repetition: Habits become automatic -
routines that take hold over time, without our realizing it. So, bringing them
into awareness is a crucial step toward changing. As we pay more attention, many
situations become cues that stimulate us to break old habits and try new
responses instead. The more we mentally prepare for a task the more we activate
a part of the brain that performs executive functions and moves tem into action
(the prefrontal cortex). Without preparation, the prefrontal cortex does not
activate in advance. Thus the greater the prior activation, the better we do at
the task. Such mental rehearsal is important for overcoming old habits and
replacing them with a better way.
The prefrontal cortext becomes particularly active when we have to prepare to
overcome a habitual response. Old responses don't just magically
disappear. It takes commitment and constant reminders to stay focused on undoing
those habits. Over time, the need for reminders will diminish as the new
behavior becomes a stronger pathway in the brain.
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