Lack of Belief/Self Love Holding me Back

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    My whole life I’ve struggled with these things: Self Love, Self Esteem, Belief in myself, Confidence.

    I’m not a shy person but I am an introvert. I also wouldn’t say that I suffer from depression, or that struggling with any of the above attributes is excessive. But when it times to crunch times, I just falter. People have quite often told me that I’m quite negative, that I’m not the most overly positive person, that I need to believe in myself more & be more positive. I used to partially agree with them but thought I was being more of a realist as opposed to negative.

    It’s slowly dawned on me in the last couple of years that they are right – I’m not very positive at all. I always find I get to a set point in the work place & never get further – never get that promotion or progression I want. I’m 33 & I’ve never been on a date, never had a girlfriend, never had sex. I’m not going into the nitty gritty of either of those things – but I’m beginning to come to the conclusion my lack of success in these area’s has nothing to do with how tall or good looking I am or how skilled or competent I am. It’s all mental, in my head, a lack of self worth and belief in myself. No self respecting woman is going to fancy or go for a guy who has no belief or confidence in himself, nobody is attracted to a negative person. And if you don’t seem sure of what your doing your never going to progress in the work place.

    I realise changing things requires practical action – but I think I also need some “self work” – to change the way my head works. I’ve looked into things such as affirmations, CBT, reframing negative beliefs, meditation, positive thinking.

    What are your experiences with these things? It’s obvious I need to change my outlook on both life & myself. The fear I have is that I try these things & they don’t work because I don’t truly believe them, or that I have to do them forever and that if I stop I’ll be negative again.

    I dunno, basically I just wonder how someone who has been fairly negative their whole life can really change into being a positive person with confidence who feels good about himself.



    Just start where you are. All the what ifs and wonderings you bring up at the end of your message, you don’t yet know enough to be able to give these doubts any credit so just go ahead and try all these things anyway. They may not be the answer, but you will find what you need if you start and keep going, one thing leads the way to the next. This is what I’ve found from my experience. I’m not going to give specifics on what I think will or will not work as I think this is a waste of time. Where you are right now you only need to do two things in my opinion:

    1. Start
    2. Persevere (this is the biggie cos it will be like a rollercoaster, big ups and big downs, but it’s worth it!).

    All the best,


    • This reply was modified 8 years, 11 months ago by AikiBen.
    Rock Banana

    The stories you are telling about yourself aren’t real. “I am worthless” doesn’t make sense. It is unscientific and all it is, is you making up an idea about yourself in your head and then looking through it. You admit as much when you say that you want to change it. But the mistake you make is to think it is real, so it needs to be changed. It needs to be changed to “I am great”, right? But the truth is, “I am great” is just as meaningless as “I am worthless”. How can you “be” “great”? Are you the embodiment of the concept ‘great’? Do you equal everything great means and vice versa? What would that even mean? How would you test for greatness? WHERE is this “Great”? Can you find it? Where is it? point to it! Where is it?

    The point I’m making here is, none of these stories you tell about yourself are real in the same way that your hands are real. Your hands are there whether you think about them or not. But when you stop thinking about your stories about yourself, they don’t seem to exist at all. That’s because they’re thoughts about reality – not reality itself.

    If you like a song, is that song ACTUALLY better than any other song? Or do you just like it? If you like a person, are they FACTUALLY better than other people, or do you just like them? If you think you’re great, does that ACTUALLY mean you’re great, or does it just mean you think you are? If you’re worthless, does that ACTUALLY mean you are, or does that just mean you think you are?

    What you need isn’t to change the self image, it’s to go beyond self image. Transcend self image. When you understand thoughts and concepts of self for what they really are, you don’t need to stop the thoughts. The thoughts will lose their hold over you.

    Positive thinking is all about telling yourself how good you are. How is this any more “true” than you telling yourself how worthless you are? Seriously?

    The reality is…you are. That’s it. You exist. You are here now. You are alive. You can tell yourself stories about who you are, but none of them, NONE OF THEM, will ever be accurate. Language will never describe the essence of you. It will always be judgement, it will always be thinking.

    Say you had a girlfriend and you thought she had cheated on you. You get really angry and it affects you for that week. Then a week later you find evidence that it’s not true, she never did cheat on you. Now your thoughts change and so does your feelings, you feel love again and apologetic. In this scenario, was it the REALITY that made you angry or affected, or was it your THOUGHTS about the reality? Clearly it was your thoughts that affected you. It was only when you thought something that it affected you. But it’s worth noting here that what actually happened isn’t what you thought happened.

    What you think you are is never actually what you are. You’re not who you think you are, AND you’re so much more besides. Once you have this realisation then you’ll see why positive thinking is just as meaningless as negative thinking (and in fact, that positive and negative are meaningless judgements to begin with!).

    I would say it is useful to rationally dispute the negative beliefs about yourself, CBT would be good for that, yes as would be meditation, I mean look at positive thinking if you really want. Here’s how I see it: believing bad thinking is worse of all for your emotions. Better for your emotions is believing good thinking (but it still is as illogical as believing bad thinking – so on a scientific / logical level, neither of these orientations make sense). But best is to understand the nature of thought and to align with who you really are – that is, the observer of thought. To realize that thought isn’t who you are at all, and to have no reason to believe the thinking at all. This is not only the best for your emotional wellbeing (walking around telling yourself how goddamn awesome you are is exhausting and creates problems of its own – it needs maintenance to stay there as a held belief, especially if you’ve spent your whole life thinking and believing the opposite!) but it is also, by far, the most logical option. Scientifically the judgements you tell yourself about yourself are meaningless. All they tell you, the only information they give you, is what thoughts are arising in this moment, what stories about reality. But what does that have to do with



    “I am an introvert” – a story, a judgement. not reality. dispute this cognition with CBT. not to believe its opposite, but to drop it as a belief.

    “when it times to crunch times, I just falter” – another story, this time a generalisation about the whole of your life. generalisations like that don’t make sense, dispute this cognition with CBT. not to believe anything else, but to drop this particular belief.

    “People have quite often told me that I’m quite negative” – Cool story. What people think of you has absolutely nothing to do with who you are. If even YOU don’t actually get to dictate who you are using thoughts, do you seriously think other people are qualified to do this? But what you do have is some useful feedback – not about who you are, but about the way people are judging you. This can be useful if everybody is saying it, there might be something in it. Looks like you got the message. Remember, what they said has nothing to do with who you are, it’s some feedback to let you know how negative they judge you to be. When I say that, I’m not doing a cute little mind shift to make everything sound nice. I’m being scientific. I’m being rational. That is the REALITY. People who judge you are not experiencing you and then telling you who you are. This is impossible. They are experiencing you and then judging you, and then telling you who they THINK you are. The difference is seismic if you can see it.

    “It’s slowly dawned on me in the last couple of years that they are right – I’m not very positive at all.” – Story. Blah blah blah. They’re not right, actually. it’s a judgement. dispute this cognition using CBT. I’ll give you a bit of help: Some people might see you as positive, say they’re very depressed, they’d say you were more positive than them. Sometimes you would admit you’re being positive in certain moments. So therefore this belief is a meaningless generalisation. But dont take my word for it, actually dispute the belief. Not to replace it with another belief (“I am a positive person” – just as randomly and weirdly imposed onto reality for no particular reason; just as illogical; just as meaningless) but to drop it altogether. You could work on being more optimistic. But notice I’m using the word being, that’s a choice you make in every moment, to see the bright side. It’s not who you are at the identity level. Chuck out all of your ideas of who you are at the identity level, you don’t need them.

    “The fear I have is that I try these things & they don’t work because I don’t truly believe them, or that I have to do them forever and that if I stop I’ll be negative again.” – Firstly this is thinking about the future so you can just tune out and stop listening to it. Why believe it? Are you a fortune teller? If not why keep predicting the future? Unless you’re an actual clairvoyant you’ll be wrong a lot of the time so it’s rather pointless to worry about your predictions. Secondly you will now realize that the whole point is not to believe the affirmations at all, positive or negative, and to align yourself with something deeper within you. And clearly you’ll never “be negative again”, because you never “were negative”. That was never who you were. It was just who you told yourself you thought you were. Big difference.

    I’m using this tone to just be matter of fact and clear with you hoping that helps you as much as possible. I’m just being realistic here, I’m not dressing anything up but nor am I being cynical. (You’ll notice I’m using the phrase “I’m being (this and that)”, well, it’s a figure of speech and I don’t actually believe I am LITERALLY “being” realistic. It’s a judgement I have about myself which I will happily own – not the reality, but a judgement about myself. But for human interaction it is very useful to have these shortcuts of language. The problem only begins when you start to actually believe that the way we phrase things in a conversation like this is the way things actually are.)

    Hope this helps. All best. Check out as much as you can and keep going with the discoveries. It’s a real journey!

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 11 months ago by Rock Banana.

    Wow you know what? A lot of what you wrote could have been about me. And then, the 2 replies I find brilliant! Seriously, I have had “flashes” of realizing I am not {necessarily} who I thought I was, or who anyone else thought or thinks I am, etc. etc. I think the two replies so far to this post are just so right on the money. So timely, for me, too. If you want to talk to me ever about those issues feel free I have been right where you are!!


    That sounds like me back in my teenage years. I thought I was a complete loser that wasn’t good at anything. The vast majority of these negative beliefs are false, but sometimes you need to take a risk and take on some challenges that will build confidence and self esteem. After several years of going nowhere, I joined the military at age 23. I was scared to death of failing, but graduating basic training turned my life around. We had to do a lot of running, and I found out I was pretty good at it. Several years after that I ran my first marathon. Fear is the thing that holds us back. Fear of failing, fear of rejection, fear of being judged, ect. I know its hard, but your going to have to take some risks. Ask somebody out on a date, and if they say no, ask someone else out. Self esteem and confidence don’t happen overnight; its a building process of small steps. I would seek out some realistic challenges that would build your self confidence. Best of luck!!


    Many of my thoughts have been articulated already, but something I want to point out is that by coming on to this website and posting this, it shows you want to be positive. That is HUGE. You want to change therefore you have set into motion a wonderful and challenging process that will bring positivity into your life.

    You have so many reasons why you can’t be positive, so many stories and attributes that you are attached to. Imagine you moved to a far away place where you knew no one. You could maybe just decide to be positive! Can you just choose to be positive? Something that helps me is smiling at strangers and trying to get them to smile back. I know it sounds really silly and even annoying, but it’s been proven scientifically that if you smile, even if it’s forced, it makes you a teeny bit happier. One of my favorite Buddhist monks says he looks in the mirror every day and if he doesn’t want to smile he moves his lips with his fingers into a smile and the silliness of it makes him laugh, therefore smiling!

    I would recommend meditation for the reason that it helps us detach from our egos. Your ego has a hold of you and is very concerned with “me me me” and “I I I” (as all egos are!!) Meditation helps us experience the self that has nothing to do with ego, and therefore it is possible to see that this person you are describing is not in fact You, but rather a collection of stories based on a limited and short-sighted human experience. Meditation also helps us notice negativity and instead of adding more negativity to it, just letting it be and not being run around by it.

    You got this! Who cares what you’ve been your whole life?! None of it really matters nor exists except for what is happening NOW. So choose, now, in this moment to be positive! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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