From the moment we get up until the end of the day, many of us are in a constant cycle of beating ourselves up. Wellbeing expert, Nike athlete and motivational speaker, Greg Sellar explains why we do it and how becoming more aware of ourselves we can create the life we desire ...
From the moment we get up until the end of the day, most people are in a constant cycle of beating themselves up.
Whether it’s weight, kids, partners or career, people are burdened by self-expectation. Why do we do it to ourselves and what strategies can we put in place to give ourselves a break from the constant onslaught?
Having worked in the fitness industry for the last 20 years, I’ve spent my fair share of time comparing myself to other people and feeling at times like I didn’t measure up.
I’m still doing it. Despite my “success” in the industry, it’s an industry dominated by looks, body image, physical strength and endless motivation that sometimes make it feel like everyone is constantly on top of the world.
I know this isn’t the case, but I can’t deny there are times I want to change things in my life and can’t understand what is stopping me from doing so. There are three aspects of "self" that can positively or negatively affect your life potential that sit under the term “self-concept”.
The idea relates to how someone thinks about, evaluates or perceives themselves. It is the value system of the individual according to their attitudes and opinions and is developed from early childhood right through to the present moment.
A person’s self-concept is the command centre that sits central to their performance that governs productivity. All the changes that appear in the outer world begin with changes in the inner world. And that inner world has the following aspects that contribute to “mental fitness”:
- 1. Self-idea: is what the person wants in life. It is a summary of your hopes, dreams, ideals and goals and stems from every person’s desire to be more in the future.
- 2. Self-image: is how the person thinks he or she is viewed by others. This is usually guided and dictated by how you perceive you are treated on a day-to-day basis. When someone receives positive feedback, it’s typical their self-image improves.
- 3. Self-esteem: this is how much a person likes themselves. People with better self-esteem typically set bigger goals, have higher standards and become better team players as a result. You need a healthy dose of self-esteem if you want to perform better at work, in relationships and in life. It removes the environment of fear, rejection and failure that stops people from moving forward.
The Road To Success
There are two very different paths to improve your self-concept.
The first is one of autonomy. Depending on your personality type, this person strives to seek recognition as an individual for the things they do, say, or for how they behave.
We all know people in our lives who recognise exactly who they are and where they’re going, simply because they exude confidence in their journey and display success in multiple areas of life.
The second would be a path of dependency.
It is a part of human nature to want to belong to something. There are an increasing number of studies relating to the rewards associated with being part of a “tribe”.
The sense of connectivity and shared ownership of a thinking process lets the individual know they aren’t alone and have people around them who think and feel the same way they do. It’s comforting and provides emotional support.
Both methods may be equally valuable in improving self-esteem and overall self-concept, but what can we do if we feel like we’re stuck in a fail cycle that we can’t get out of? Most people who suffer from “self-concept” issues are stuck in a game of beating themselves up that they just can’t get out of.
The job is not earning enough money, the house isn’t big enough, the partner is not exactly what’s needed for a fulfilling relationship, and so it goes on. The modern world is complex. It operates at a pace that many are ill-equipped to cope with, unless there is a genuine balance of body, mind, heart and spirit.
I call it “mental fitness”. Success won’t solely manifest from training the body alone. We repeat thought patterns, behaviours, and sabotage actions that see most of us invariably slip back into cycles of repeated failure.
This is what we beat ourselves up over constantly. We may see momentary blips of positive action and results (in finance and stock trading they call it the “dead cat bounce”), but it’s an otherwise downward trend that people can’t escape unless given the correct tools to succeed.
Many of the people we come into contact with are struggling in aspects of their lives and much of the time we don’t listen or address what’s going on outside of our direct interaction. So often it’s mindset (thinking) and prescriptions (action) that together combine to produce lasting success results.
The above diagram shows three states of thinking and action inertia that stop people from feeling invincible in life, love and love handles. An invincible person is someone who is able to experience continued success and embolden others to follow their leadership.
It’s also at this point where you stop beating yourself up and learn to accept and create positive shifts. The bottom left quadrant describes the “inanimate” – those not accepting of the situation they’re in and indecisive over the steps that need to be taken.
They are in many ways paralysed by possibility and need action guidance on the very simple first steps of how to begin the journey. Those in the “indifferent” quadrant suffer the same indecisiveness, yet are happy with their situation.
They are sailing up the river of denial and see no problem with being below the success line. Often the “happiness” surrounding their reality is a front that requires a deeper level of questioning that coaching can provide.
In many ways people who fall into this quadrant are a harder prospect to get through to because they do not feel they need to change. It’s a mindset shift that needs to take place in order for them to move from that position.
The third stage of inertia identifies those who are “inclined” to move towards invincibility by taking advice and taking action. Their thinking is positively reframed and implementation is all that is required.
They’re primed for success and need motivation and momentum strategies to keep the win once it’s been achieved. All of us have people in our circles – loved ones, maybe even ourselves – who we can identify as being in one of the three stages of inertia.
These are the people beating themselves up over not being good enough, being “too old” for change or just too comfortable in their current situation. Movement from all quadrants towards the top right is possible, but we need to first recognise where we are on the diagram, before exercising thinking and/or behaviour change that will move us towards the “invincible” state.
Once we know where we are, we can then take steps to create change that will result in us giving ourselves a break and accepting that things are good and if needed, will get better.
Practising gratitude daily is a good start. Gratitude for the small things that we know we take for granted. It’ll set you on the path for creating that change and once it’s formed into habit, you can expect your self-concept and life to improve drastically.
Feel free to comment below ways you discovered that successfully changed your mindset. How did you become more aware of when you were self-sabotaging every new path you wanted to take?
And let me know any new habits you cultivated to help you realise your dreams and booted you to take positive and determined action.