If you’re familiar with CBT, you might have seen the 5 areas model. This was something that I found incredibly helpful when I was struggling with social anxiety. It taught me that the way I felt was a consequence, not a fact. I felt this way because of the negative thoughts and pictures I made in my head, the words that I used, the actions that I took (or didn’t take) and the bad habits that I had formed. Repetition of this vicious cycle had a detrimental effect on my self-esteem, leading me to believe that I just couldn’t cope; that I wasn’t enough.
Once I really understood this cycle, I was able to begin disrupting parts of the cycle, like the thoughts/pictures in my head, or distancing myself from them. This had a domino effect then on my words and actions and habits. Before long, my self-image had gone from that of someone who was overwhelmed and fragile, to that of someone who was capable; someone who used their vulnerability as a strength; someone who could not only cope, but thrive.
Here’s a quote from Lao Tzu to remind you that everything you think, say and do has an impact: