In my post about a useful, practical way of raising low self-esteem, I said I would write a follow-up article on how to find alternative perspectives to negative predictions.
It can be really hard to think of an alternative perspective when you strongly believe something negative. Asking yourself the following questions may help… I will use an example of being asked to do a presentation at work and believing you will mess up and look ridiculous.
- Is there any evidence to support what I’m predicting – how do I KNOW what will happen? There is absolutely no evidence to support my prediction that I will mess up. I have presented before in life, and nothing has ever gone unbearably wrong.
- Is there any evidence against what I’m predicting? Yes. I have done presentations in the past and they have gone well enough that I was proud that I did it.
- What’s the worst that can happen? I could stutter over some words and everyone would think I was nervous and unprofessional. When I type that, I do think that people are more understanding than this, and it is unlikely I would be so terrible they would see me as unprofessional.
- If the worst really does happen, what can I do to cope or make it better? I could focus on making the rest of the presentation better after stuttering over words. I could speak to my boss about my anxiety and ask for advice.
- What help and resources can I tap into? I could ask my boss for some advice before presenting, and explain my nervousness. I could ask her to look over my presentation and see what she thinks. I can practice in front of a close friend or just the mirror.
- What’s the best that can happen? Is it possible that things could go well? The best would be that I deliver a great presentation and everyone is impressed. If I get more confidence and work on the presentation content, this could actually happen.
- Realistically, what’s most likely to happen? It will probably go okay. There will be things I want to improve on but I would be proud of myself for delivering a presentation.
- What alternative views are there? Is there any evidence for these? I probably look more confident and professional than I feel inside. Nobody but myself would notice any errors.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how your negative thoughts can be challenged and changed through such questioning. Try and imagine you are talking to a friend in your situation, and imagine how you would respond to their questions. This takes away the personal negativity you may have around the situation.
Well, what do you think? Let me know if you give it a go 🙂
These tips have been taken from ones I read in the book Overcoming Self-Esteem, which I would highly recommend.