While counseling a young man who has a tendency toward self-doubt, we were discussing how we tend to view events that occur to us through certain filters which in turn effects our self-esteem. If we tend to have lower self confidence in ourselves, we will tend to, for example, dismiss genuine compliments from others as “just trying to be nice”, or perhaps feeling sorry for us and trying to make us feel better. My suggestion to him was to be aware of the filters he tends to use when good things happen and instead of dismissing positive things or only seeing the negative side of things, he could consider other explanations for things. This is a strategy that will improve self-esteem.
An example might be that if you pass by someone and say hello to them and they don’t acknowledge you, you might at first assume they are a rude person and feel there are a lot of rude people in the world. That’s one possible filter. But other possible filters are that the person was deep in thought and didn’t hear you, or they are very shy in public and have trouble speaking to strangers ever though they would like to, and so on.
My client summed it up this way. He said, “So you mean I should doubt my doubts!”. For him, when he is having doubts about his own self worth, and dismissing kind things that are said to him and about him, he can consider doubting these doubts and consider the possibility that he has more positive things going on than he thinks he does.
I liked his way of phrasing it much better than mine.
If you would like to learn more about Solution Focused Brief Therapy and find ways to improve self-esteem for yourself of your child, feel free to give me a call. I provide solution focused counseling in the Grand Rapids, MI area. I am also available for online counseling for those who reside in the state of Michigan.