Here is a quick tip to help you in the battle against low self-esteem and depression.

To a certain extent rules help us to live our lives, they keep us safe both physically and emotionally and they guide us in a productive direction. The most powerful rules are the rules we make for ourselves.

However, past a certain point these rules can start to work against us, they can become a stick with which to beat ourselves with, a way of proving to ourselves that we are not good enough. And these self-made rules can be pivotal in maintaining low self-esteem and depression.

So, if you struggle to feel good enough and can’t seem to shake off feelings of depression take a look at the rules that you set yourselves. The best way to identify these is by paying attention to your internal dialogue and noticing your ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’.

“I should do more………”

“I shouldn’t be so ……”

“I should be less…….”

“I shouldn’t be so……..”

“I should try harder”

“I shouldn’t feel like this”

“I should be thinner, nicer, kinder, smarter, more thoughtful”

Once you have identified your ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’:

1. Stop and question the value of these self-made rules;

2. Explore the pros and cons of following them;

3. Consider what life would be like without these rules;

4. Maybe consider being less strict with yourself, a little more flexible, tolerant, a little less of a tyrant.

It is also worth considering where these rules come from, who you have inherited them from and whether this is the way that you want to live your life, because after all, this particular way of treating yourself doesn’t appear to be making you happy.

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