Find a comfortable position in a chair. Have something to write on and a pen ready beside you. Relax your self and breathe slowly through your nose. When you have entered a state of higher self-awareness, return in time and remember an unpleasant memory that has marked your whole life. It doesn’t have to be dramatic – in childhood, for example, even an insignificant item may have a significant impact on your personality. Perhaps, as a child, you broke a valuable vase that your mother loved. She may have told you, “You can’t do anything right!” Of course, her reaction was simply anger-based and likely disappeared shortly, but you, as a child, may have been deeply affected by it.
When you have selected a memory, briefly write it down and conclude with a phrase that summarizes it (e.g. “You can’t do anything right!”). Be sure that your breathing remains rhythmical and relaxed, and then think about at least three things that you can learn from that experience. Do not get stuck on the final phrase, but try to see your action objectively. The goal is to identify the things that you could have improved. Don’t rashly dismiss your experience by saying “it was a child’s mistake.” The key is to discover how a mistake can teach you to improve, instead of decreasing your self-esteem.
When you come up with positive remarks about the experience, write them down. Don’t force yourself to come up with the ideas. Instead, let it all flow naturally. When you’re done writing, read the statements a few times and memorize their essence. Put the paper aside and focus on your breathing. Take couple of minutes to focus only on breathing, and then remember the positive ideas you wrote on the paper. For example, in the case of the broken vase, you might write: “I must concentrate more on my actions.” Repeat that thought to your self, and make sure it fully represents you. Do the same with the other positive ideas you had. Believing them and repeating their essence lets you assimilate them into yourself.
This exercise is especially useful if you know that you may be about to have an experience similar to the one you remembered. You might not be about to break another vase, but you might be in a situation where something a friend loves will be your responsibility. If you feel anxious about that situation, make sure you remember the positive parts of your exercise. Repeat them to yourself before the event, and your self-confidence will get a well-deserved boost, letting you do your job free of any negative connotations.
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