My trainee asked me this week how I work with patients who struggle with self-worth/self-esteem issues. I use many modalities to serve patients, especially around treatment of depression and anxiety. I shared a few of my favorites and thought I’d share with you all as well – never know who it might help.
Many people have heard of affirmations. Well, when I have a patient who is really struggling with negative self-talk/self-worth, it is so important that I support them as they learn to love and empower themselves. It is so critical that I hold space in a non-judgmental way. I ask them to make a list of the painful things they say to themselves in their darkest moments. Statements like, “I hate myself;” “I’m worthless;” “No one loves me;” “No one will ever want me;” etc. Then, I have them start a new sheet of paper and ask them write out the opposites: “I love myself;” “I am worthy;” “There are people who love and care about me;” “I am not alone; I am wanted;” and more. I then have them rip up the first sheet of paper and type up their new affirmations to send in an email to themselves or print for daily view. I challenge them to read these outloud 2-3 times/day until they internalize them. At first these statements may not feel believable but over time they just may, and it’s worth the work. THEY are worth the work; I remind them to say, “I am worth it!”
Core Values Exercise:
In addition to the above, I teach patients that depression/insecurity/anxitey/self-worth are often in some way related to how we live our lives, the choices we make, and how closely our patterns align with our core values. Do you know your core values? What matters most to your integrity? How do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want said/written about you at Core Value Words your funeral? If you’re stumped, browse lists of Core Values online; check out the link below or see the file here as a start. Once you’ve established a list of 7-10 words (more than that starts to feel overwhelming and diffuses the significance of the exercise), create a log to track daily, weekly, and monthly adherance. Each column is a core value, each row a day of the week (or vice versa). Use the lack to track how you’re living. See if your daily words and behaviors are alignment. Be honost with yourself. Define each core value so you know what it means to you and so you have a metric for whether you met it each day, eg. what does living each day with integrity mean to you? Honoring my word, calling back when I say/before I say I will, showing up to appointments early/on time, only saying what I mean/meaning what I say, etc. Look for patterns as you track behaviors each day. Indicate a Plus sign if you met that core value for the day and a Minus sign if you did not or failed to CREATE an opportunity. There is NO such thing as a day without an opportunity to live your values. Not seeing anyone that day? Send a text or email, say a prayer, meditate, etc. Many plus signs under certain categories per week are an indication that it’s time to either make some changes in your patterns to live more in alignment with your values or to reassess your values! Either way, get ready to change your life. As you do, you’ll notice depression, insecurity, and anxiety life as you live more in line with your truth and ideal self! (Notice I said ideal, not perfect). You can find a worksheet to track your commitment to core values under the mood/stress management section under Invest in Personal Growth: FREE Resources. You got this!
Get ready to change your life!
Don’t Be a Stranger!